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3200 BC to the times of the lndus Valley

Harappan Culture
This civilization came to light in 1922
many other Harappan sites and artifacts such as
seals, toys, weapons, sculptures and jewellery
have been discovered along the river Indus up to
the river Ganges
citadel are the Great Bath, Granaries, residential
houses and the Assembly Hall

Great Bath
Constructed with kiln-burnt bricks,
this Monumental Bath is a pool 12 metres long, 7 metres wide and 2.5
metres deep.
Gypsum has been used along with mortar to make the floor and sides of
the pool water-tight.
The pool is in the centre of a large open quadrangle with rooms and
galleries on all sides.
A flight of steps at either end connects it the rooms.
Probably meant for religious rites, it may have been used by the people for
changing their clothes.
The pool was fed by a well nearby and the dirty water was drained into the
city's sewage system through a large corbelled drain 1.83 metres high.

The Granary
at Harappa is made of burnt brick.
Built close to the river Ravi to make transportation
easy, it is comprised of two blocks.
Each block has six storage rooms 15 metres long and 6
metres wide.
The two blocks are separated by a passage.
Air-ducts are provided under the wooden floor.
The row of triangular openings may have been for
The granary complex measures 55 metres by 43 metres

The Assembly Hall

covers an area of 750 square metres.
Four rows of fine brick piers and pillars at the
corners suggest that it was used as an
assembly hall.

Stupas were built of stones or bricks.

Ashok Maurya who laid the foundation of this group of monuments is said to have built 84,000 stupas, most of which have perished.

largest of the three stupas found in Sanchi was built by Ashoka (273-236 B.C.)
Buddhist monuments and edifices.
Buddhist art and arch1teeture over a period of thirteen hundred years from the third century B.C. to the twelfth century A.D
heavily carved gateways
triple umbrella or Chattra on a pedestal surrounded by a square railing or Karmika.
Buddha's relics were placed in a casket chamber in the centre of the Dome.

At the base of the dome is a high circular terrace probably meant for parikrama or circumambulation and an encircling balustrade.
At the ground level is a stone-paved procession path and another stone Balustrade(railing)
The diameter of the stupa is 36.60 metres and its height is 16.46 metres. It is built of large burnt bricks and mud mortar. It is presumed that the
elaborately carved Toranas were built by ivory or metal workers in the 1st. Century BC
The last addition to the stupa was made during the early 4th Century AD in the Gupta period when four images of Buddha sitting in the dhyana
mudra or meditation were installed at the four entrances.

Northern Gateway, Great Stupa, Sanchi

The first Torana gateway to be built is the one at the principal entrance on the
Each gateway has two square pillars.
Crowning each pillar on. all four sides are four elephants, four lions and four dwarfs.
The four dwarfs support a superstructure of three architraves or carved panels one
above the other.

Between these are intricately carved elephants and riders on horseback.

The lowest architrave is supported on exquisitely carved bracket figures.
The panels are decorated with finely carved figures of men, women, yakshas, lions
and elephants.
The entire panel of the gateways is covered with sculptured scenes from the life of
Buddha, the Jataka Tales, events of the Buddhist times and rows of floral or lotus
The scenes from Buddha's life show Buddha represented by symbols - the lotus,
wheel a riderless caparisoned horse, an umbrella held above a throne, foot prints
and the triratnas which are symbolic of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
The top panel has a Dharma chakra with two Yakshas on either side holding
chamaras. South of the Scenes depicted from Buddha's life are the Enlightenment
of Buddha (a throne beneath a peepul tree); the First Sermon (a Dharma chakra
placed on a throne);
The Great Departure ( a riderless horse and an empty chariot with an umbrella
above ); Sujata's offering and the temptation and assault by Mara.

The Dhamekh Stupa

and the Dharmarajika stupa at Sarnath
are believed to have been built by
Ashoka and later rebuilt in the Gupta
These stupas contain the relics of
Buddha and are therefore important
places of Buddhist pilgrimage.
Buddha gave his First Sermon in
Sarnath and also founded the Sangha
or Order of Monks here.
The original Dhamekh Stupa built with
mud or brick is a cylindrical structure
43.5 m. high. The stone basement has
eight projecting faces with niches in
them. Delicately carved with beautiful
floral and geometrical patterns, it is
believed to have been put up in thc
Gupta period.

Rock-cut Vihara, Nasik
Viharas or monasteries constructed
with brick or excavated from rocks
they have a hall meant for
congregational prayer with a running
verandah on three sides or an open
courtyard surrounded by a row of cells
and a pillared verandah in front.
These cells served as dwelling places
for the monks. T
hese monastic buildings built of bricks
were self-contained units and had a
Chaitya hall or Chaitya mandir
attached to a stupa - the chief object
of worship.

Some of the important Buddhist viharas are

those at Ajanta, Ellora. Nasik, Karle, Kanheri,
Bagh and Badami. The Hinayana viharas.
The excavations of viharas at Nagarjunakonda
show large rectangular courtyards with stonepaved central halls. Around the courtyard, the
row of cells, small and big, suggest residences
and dining halls for monks.
The viharas of Ellora dated 400 AD to 7th century
AD are of one, two, and three storeys and are the
largest of the type. They contain sculptured
figures and belong to both Hinayana and
Mahayana Buddhism
Mahayana type consists of a verandah, a hall,
groups of cells and a sanctuary. It has a
decorated facade. The portico is supported by
exquisitely carved pillars. The columns have a
square base with figures of dwarfs and
elaborately carved brackets and capitals. Below
the capital is a square abacus with finely carved
makara motifs. The walls and the ceilings of the
cave contain the most exquisite paintings.

Three Storeyed Vihara,


Chaitya grihas or halls of worship were built all over the
country either of brick or excavated from rocks.
Ruins of a large number of structural Buddhist chaity
grihas are found in the eastern districts of Andhra
Pradesh, in valleys, near rivers and lakes.

Bhaja, Rock-cut Chaitya Hall

The ruins located in the districts of Srikakulam at
Salihundam, of Visahkapatnam at Kotturu, of West
Godavari at Guntapalli, of Krishna at Vijayawada, of
Guntur at Nagajunakonda and Amaravati belong to the
3rd century BC and later. The largest brick chaitya hall
was excavated at Guntapalli.
Some of the most beautiful rock-cut caves are those at
Ajanta, ElIora, Bhaja, Karle, Bagh, Nasik and Kanheri.
The chaitya at Bhaja is a long hall 16.75 metres long and
8 metres broad with an apse at the end. The hall is
divided into a central nave and an aisle on either side
flanked by two rows of pillars. The roof is vaulted. The
rock-cut stupa in the apse is crowned by a wooden
harmika. The chaitya has a large arched torana or
entrance with an arched portico.

Karle, Chaitya Hall

The chaitya has a double-storeyed facade and has three doorways in the lower part. It has an upper gallery over which
there is the usual arch. The walls of the vestibule to the chaitya hall are decorated with sculptured figures of couples. The
pillars separating the central nave from the aisles have a pot base, an octagonal shaft, inverted lotus capital with an abacus.
The abacus has exquisitely carved pairs of elephants kneeling down, each with a couple in front and caparisoned horses with
riders on them. The stupa at the apse end is tall and cylindrical with two tiers of railings around the drum. It is crowned by
the original wooden chhatra. This is the most beautiful of the chaityas.

Facade, Cave 19, Ajanta

The most perfect of this group of chaitya grihas is cave 19.
Excavated at the end of the 5th century AD it is similar to
the other chaityas in its plan and ribbed vaulted ceiling
The interior pillars are well decorated with cushion shaped
capitals. The corbel brackets are richly sculptured. The
drum of the central stupa is elongated and carved.
Projecting from the drum is an arched nasika or niche with
the figure of a standing Buddha carved in it. The rounded
dome of the stupa ~ is surmounted by a harmika and three
tiers of chhatras, diminishing in size and supported by
figures on four sides. On top of the chhatras and touching
the ceiling is another small stupa with a miniature
harmika. The facade of the cave is exquisitely carved. The
chaitya-window has figures of yakshas and richly carved,
friezes on either side. Two figures of standing Buddha
flank the entrance. The walls of the hall and the ceiling of
the aisles is richly painted with figures of Buddha, floral
motifs, animals and birds.

Paintings which has been an accepted art since early times attained heights
of excellence in Gupta period.
Paintings which has been an accepted art since early times attained heights
of excellence in Gupta period. These exquisite paintings or frescos are to be
seen in the caves of Ajanta. The entire surface of the caves is exquisitely
painted and shows the high standard reached in mural painting.
The theme of the painting on the walls is mostly the life of Buddha and
Bodhisattvas and the Jataka stories. These topics cover a continuous
narration of events on all aspects of human- life from birth to death. Every
kind of human emotion is depicted. The paintings reflect the contemporary
life of the times, dress, ornaments, culture, weapons used, even their beliefs
are portrayed with life-like reality. The paintings include gods, yakshas,
kinneras, gandharvas, apsaras and human beings.
The paintings show their intense feeling for nature and an understanding of
the various aspects of all living beings. The ceilings are covered with
intricate designs, flowers, plants, birds, animals, fruit and people. The
ground for painting was prepared by paving it with a rough layer of earth
and sand mixed with vegetable fibres, husk and grass. A second coat of mud
mixed with fine sand and fibrous vegetable material was applied. A final
finish was given with a thin coat of lime-wash, glue was used as a binder.
On this prepared surface, the outlines were drawn and the spaces were
filled with the required colours; with much attention given to shades and
tones. Red, yellow, black, ochre, blue and gypsum were mostly used.
Some of the renowned paintings are that of the Bodhisattva holding a lily
(cave 1), the painting of Padmapani, the Apsaras with a turban headgear
(cave 17) the painting on the ceiling (cave 2) and the toilet scheme (cave 17)
considered to be a masterpiece of the painter.

Sthambas or Pillars with religious emblems were put up by pious Buddhists in
honour of Buddha or other great Buddhists.
Fragments of sthambas belonging to Mauryan times and later were found at
Sanchi, Sarnath, Amaravati and Nagarjunkonda.
A portion of the Ashoka Pillar, 15.25 metres high, surmounted by the famous
lion-capital and a dharma chakra above the heads of the four lions stands
embedded near the Dharmarajika stupa at Sarnath.
The pillar bears the edict of Ashoka warning the monks and nuns against
creating a schism(split) in the monastic order.
The broken fragments of the Pillar are now in the Museum at Sarnath.
The lion-capital - the most magnificient piece of Mauryan sculpture is 2.31
metres high. It consists of four parts - (i) a bell-shaped vase covered with
inverted lotus petals, (ii) a round abacus, (iii) four seated lions and (iv) a
crowning dharmachakra with thirty two spokes.
The four lions are beautifully sculptured.
On the abacus are four running animals - an elephant, a bull, a horse and a. lion
with a small dharmachakra between them.
The dharmachakra symbolises the dharma or law; the four lions facing the four
directions are the form of Buddha or Sakyasimha, the four galloping animals are
the four quarters according to Buddhist books and the four smaller
dharmachakras stand for the intermediate regions and the lotus is the symbol of
creative activity. The surface of these pillars has a mirror like finish.

Ashokan Pillar
Another Ashokan Pillar of note is the one at Lauriya
Nandangarh in Bihar.
Erected in the 3rd century BC it is made of highly
polished Chunar sand-stone. Standing 9.8 metres
high it rises from the ground and has no base
It is surmounted by a bell-shaped inverted lotus. The
abacus on it is decorated with flying geese and
crowning it is a sitting lion.
The pillar is an example of the engineering skill of the
craftsmen of Mauryan times.


Indrasabha, Cave 33,

Excellent Jain architecture and sculpture can be seen in their Stupas
and rock-cut caves found in Mathura, Bundelkhand, Madhya
Pradesh and Orissa cave temples. A number of rock-cut caves have
been discovered in Udaigiri and Khandagiri, twin hills in Puri District
of Orissa and in Ellora in Maharashtra.
Excavated mainly as retreats for Jaina ascetics, they belong to the
first century and second century BC.
The Jain viharas here do not have the assembly or prayer hall
surrounded by cel1s nor a sanctuary like the Buddhist viharas.
Excavated at different levels, the cells are narrow with low ceilings.
There are no niches in the walls.
The cells are small and plain, in keeping with the rigorous asceticism
of Jain monks.
Some of the cells have shelves cut across the walls.
The doorways are small and one has to bend or crawl to enter a cell.
In some of the cells the floor is raised at the rear end to serve as a
pillow. Some cells have low raised platforms for beds.
The lay-out of the cells is such that they get sufficient light - the
cells opening on to a verandah.
The Udaigiri caves are double-storeyed and have a courtyard in

Rani Gumpha
The largest and finest of the Udaigiri caves is Cave 1 called the
Rani-Gumpha or Rani cave. (Gumpha the local word tor cave).
The Rani-Gumpha is important for its heavily sculptured friezes.
The architecture of the cave is simple, having been excavated on
three sides of a quadrangle.
The roof of the verandah projects outwards like an overhanging
cornice (eave).
Pillars have been cut to support the roof giving the caves an
effect of structural houses.
The right wing of the lower storey has one cell with three small
entrances and a pillared verandah.
Two armed dwarapalas stand guard on either side of the
The entrances to the cells are arched with motifs of the lotus and
creepers coming out of the mouths of animals.
The left wing has three cells and the main wing has four cells.
Each cell has two doorways with curved arches and engraved
pilasters Symbol, auspicious for the Jains are carved in the space
between the arches.
As there was no worship of images then, there is no Jain
thirthankara in the original carving. Figures of thirthankaras
carved on the walls of the cells are a later addition to the
Khandagiri caves which were redone in about the 11th and 12th
centuries A.D. to serve as sanctuaries.

Khandagiri, Hathi Gumpha

The Hathigumpha is important for its
rock-cut inscription of King Karavela of
Orissa which describes chronologically
the events of his rule.
Jain architecture reached the peak of
excellence in the 11th and 12th
century AD as can be seen in their
temples in Rajgir in Bihar and Palitana
in Kathiawar.

Khandagiri Jaina Temple

Rajput Civil Architecture

Chittorgarh Fort, Jaipur

The Rajput Rulers built dams, artificial

lakes, canals, toranes or arched
gateways, sthambas or towers,
fortresses and palaces which even
today testify to the their skill in
engineering and architecture.

Some of the places where they built

majestic fortresses are Chittorgarh,
Jaipur (Amber), Jaisalmer, Jodhpur,
Mandu, Ranthanbor and Gwalior.
These forts were usual built on
hillock(small hill) and entry was a
circuitous (twisty) ascent made
difficult by barriers at intervals.
The forts had strong massive walls and
numerous round and square
towers. They are excellent specimens
of Rajput skill.

Victory Tower, Chittorgarh

The most exquisite of their Sthambas is the Jaya Sthamba or
Victory Tower in Chittor. A 37 metres. High nine storeyed
structure - it is elaborately decorated with statues of Hindu
deities both inside and outside. It was erected by Maharana
Kumbha in the 13th century to commemorate his victory
over Mahmd. I, the ruler of Malwa. The tower is as square
structure and has balconied windows and mouldings on all
four sides.

Lake Palace, Udaipur

Beautiful examples of Rajput palaces
are the Udaipur Palace on lake Pichola
built by Maharana Udai Singh and the
Hawa Mahal in Jaipur built by Raja Jai
Singh. Elaborate and decorative
architecture, carved balconies, marble
trellis-work, inlaid mirror and mosaic
work and exquisite miniature paintings
adorn these palaces. Built on Lakes
and having extensive gardens, these
palaces are pieces of picturesque

Kailash Temple, Ellora

The Indo-Aryan style of architecture developed in

North India and Upper Deccan and the Dravidian
style in South India during the Rajput period.
Both sculpture and architecture attained a high
degree of excellence.
The Rathas of Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram,
the Kailash temple at Ellora and the sculpture of
Elephanta belonging to the early Rajput period
(600 AD to 900 AD)
The temple architecture of Orissa, Khajuraho,
Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and the Pallava,
Chola and Hoysala temples in the South belong to
the later Rajput period. (900 A.D. to 1200 A.D.)
The significant feature of the North Indian (IndoAryan) style of temple architecture are the
Vimana or sanctuary, the Garbha Griha or the
small dark cell where the main idol is placed, the
Shikhara - a ribbed curvilinear spire over the
Garbha Griha, the Amalaka or round stone on the
Shikhara surmounted by a golden Kalasa. Every
temple had a Sabha mandap which was used by
devotees for group meditation, religious
discourses etc., Examples of this type are the
Vishwanath and the Khandariya Mahadeva
Temples, the Khajuraho temples, the Surya
Temple at Konark, the Lingaraj temple at
Bhubaneshwar, the Jagannath Temple in Puri and
the Tejpala Temple at Mt. Abu.

Khandariya Mahadev &

Jagadambi Temple,

The Khandariya Mahadeva Temple also

enshrining a linga is the largest
monument of Khajuraho. It is 30.5 m
in length and height and 20 m in
width. It was built between 1017 AD.
1029 AD. in the reign of Vidyadhara
Its lofty basement has sculptured
friezes of elephants, horses, hunters,
dancers, musicians etc. The erotic
figures on its outer walls show the
influence of Tantrism. The interior
design of this temple is like that of any
other Khajuraho temple though it is
larger and more lavishly sculptured.

Visvanatha Temple,
The Vishwanatha Temple was built by the Chandela king , Dhanga in 1002 A.D. and has all
the features of the Khajuraho temple. It enshrines a Shiva Linga.
The Khajuraho temples are built of pink buff-coloured and light yellow fine grained sandstone.
The temple have an entrance porch, a mandap or hall, a vestibule and the Garbha-Griha or
the larger temples have space around the Garhha-Griha for purpose. of pradakshin. (or
circumambulation) with a projecting balcony window on either aide and at the back giving it
the shape of a cross with two long arms.
The balcony window which have a canopy of overhanging eaves are the most attractive
features of the Khajuraho temples.

The temple has an Adhishtana or base which has beautiful mouldings.

. The structure over the entrance porch and mandapa are pyramidal in shape but the
Shikhara over the sanctum is tall and curvilinear.
Entrance to the temple is through the entrance porch which has a Makara Torana flanked by
The torana has minute figures carved on it. The doorways, pillars and ceilings are all
profusely carved with floral and geometrical designs. The bracket figures of Apsaras, bhutas
and ganas are masterpieces of sculpture.

Dilwara Jain Temple, Mount

Abu, Rajasthan

The Dilwara Jain Temples, famous for

architectural beauty, were built about
1088 AD during the reign of
Vimalasah. Constructed in white
marble, these temples were built to a
set plan on a high platform, a cell
enshrining a deity surrounded by a
walled courtyard. Around the
courtyard are other shrines with
images of Jain tirthankaras. The two
temples here of note are the
Vimalavasahi temple dedicated to
Adinatha, the Jain titthankara and the
Tejpala temple with its intricately
ornamental ceiling and white marble
halls displaying delicate architecture.
The circular design with spokes of
finely sculptured figures on pedestals
at the bases of which are other figures
in a sitting posture add to the
grandeur of the ceiling.


The Rajasthani paintings covered a wide
area including Malwa, Bundelkhand,
Mewar, Bundi, Kota, Jaipur, Bikaner,
Sirohi, Sawar, Kishangarh and Marwar.
What is interesting to note is that each
centre developed its own individual
characteristics. In Rajputana, painting was
already in vogue in the form of Western
Indian or Jain Style. This had provided a
base for the growth of various schools of
paintings under the influence of the
popular Mughal School from circa 15901600. Nevertheless the Rajasthani kalams
developed their own styles in the years
that followed.
One striking feature of of Rajasthani
Paintings is the arrangement of figures as
even small figures are not are not
obscured in the composition. the
background, the flora and fauna and the
symbols help the composition to express
an intensity of feelings and emotions.
Architecture usually painted in the
background, is used as a device to create
perspective and depth.

KRISHNA AND GOPIS, Bihari Sat Sai, Mewar, Rajasthan, circa A.D. 1700,


LAILA MAJNU, Kota, Rajasthan, circa A.D.17601770,

TODI RAGINI, Pratapgarh, Rajasthan, circa


NEWLY WEDDED BRIDE, Jaipur, Rajasthan