Vedic Culture of India

Between 1500-500 BC
Refers to the time period when vedic sanskrit texts
and sacred books of hymns were composed in
india. These sacred books were called vedas.
Provides material for study of the first efforts at
building construction
Produced elementary types of forest dwelling
Outcome of Indo Aryan migration of north west
Aryans migrated from northwest to the area called
sapta-sindhva (Punjab, fringes of western

Map showing Indo Aryan

Use of Iron Tools.Technology and Economy     1. Clearing of Forests in IndoGangetic Plain. Rise of Urban Centers. 3. 2. 4. .Beginning of Sedentary agrarian Civilization.

Mitra Varuna.Religion   Worshipped many Gods and Goddess including Rain. animal and earth etc. The main deities were Indra dev. . Surya. Agni dev.Vayu.

. The people of royal families are considered as Kshtriyas. They performed commanding authority and helped to maintain law and order.Religion      Follow Hindu religion and a custom of varna class. Four class in vedic culture(Brahmins. Kshatriyas. Brahmins were specialized in creating sacred texts and carrying out various types of rituals.Vaishyas.Shudras) Positions of Brahmins and Kshatriyas were higher than Vaishyas and Shudras.

Vis(sub domain) and jana(kingdom) Grama is the smallest unit of the political system A collection of gramas are called vis A number of vis built a king dom.Settlements Vedic Aryans divided their political range in 3 units. .     Gama(Village).

they have surrounded their collection of huts with a special kind of fence or palisade. Huts were arranged in threes and fours around the square courtyard.Early Settlements       Mostly nomads .settled down in the plains of india Partly pastoral and argricultural Settlements mostly of reeds and bamboo thatched with leaves People stayed in cutout of primeval forest To protect themselves and their property from the ravage of wild animals. .

 Many covered with planks of woods or tiles  One device to maintain the barrel shape of the roof was to stretch a thong till end of the arch. .Shelters Plan:  Of various shapes but circular plan predominated  Huts were of beehive pattern  Later date vedic hut was elongated into oval shape with a barrel roof formed on a frame of bent bamboos covered with thatch.  Illustration can be found in sudama cell in the Barabar hill group where every detail of timber construction is copied in the living rock.  This restricted the chord of the arch and produced a shape resembling horse – shoe. Walls:  Circular wall with bamboos held together with bands of withes  For better class houses unbaked bricks were used for the walls. Roof:  Domical roof of leaves or thatched with grass.



Pai-Lou of China.  The design of bamboo gateways influenced the characteristics of budhist archway known as torana.Railing  Bamboo railing the upright posts(thaba)  Supported 3 horizontal bars(suchi) threaded through holes with the upright. Entrance  Projecting a section of bamboo at right angles and placing a gateway in advance of it resembling a portcullis(gamadvara). .  It is still survived in the Gopuram or entrance pylon of the temple enclosures of south india.  Through the gamadvara the cattles passed to and from their pasturage. torii of Japan.

Sanchi Torana derivations from Vedic .

Budhist Toranas all over the world .

Railing of Sanchi derived from Vedic period .

Art   Colour applied on mud walls White washed and pattern of archaic design in red pigments(haematite)painted on white ground. .

both had a wing for ladies and pleasure gardens Eg-citi wall of Rajagriha. One citadel or royal apartment Second residence of upper class Third for middle class 4th open for traders Royal apartment built around inner courtyard.Vedic cities         Cities were rectangular in plan Devided into 4 quarters by 2 main thorough fares intersecting at right angles. large central window for darshan. magadha .

Sama.Epic age      During Aryan invasion.a collection of writings that explained Aryan religion Ordinary people did not understand upanishads As a result simple stories made the aryan religion more clear were created and combined into 2 epics These epics are called Mahabhrata and Ramayana . Brahmin priests also composed upanishads. known as Rig.Yajur and Athrva took place. preparation of vedas.

   The mahabharat is a great work of literature written in sanskirit. The last 18 chapters of this epic is known as Bhgvat Gita . the ancient Aryan language The Mahbharata means “great war”tells about a civil war in india.

5 miles broad along ganges Protected externally by a moat Fortified and surrounded by high walls .Early Mauryan dynasty      400 BC Wooden origins Capital Pataliputra near to patna Nine miles long and 1.

.Palaces     Consisted a series of hypostyle halls Containing pillar of wood clasped around with vines embossed in gold and ornamented with designs of birds and foliages in gold and silver. Upper portion of the Mauryan stockade resembled vedic village A number of teakwood platforms each thirty feet in length buried deep to support the foundation of the façade or propylaeum of the palace.

Vault roof is supplemented by a series of curved wooden ribs or groins placed in close order.Style        Timber used is teak Not a large variety of joints implemented When these required to be pinned bamboo pegs were inserted. . Foundation is prepared by means of beams and to these uprights such as pillars are tenoned. In flat roofs pillars supporting the wooden girders above which the beams and joists were placed. A filling of plaster is added and painted white.



Institute a permanent record of the establishment of the Budhist faith. It was practised only during his reign and ceased when it ended. the emporer Ashoka.Buddhist architecture      300BC Brought by third Mauryan ruler of Magadha. Early Budhist art is a special kind since it was a result of Mauryan emperor’s own Predilections. .

      Prinicipal contributions made to art and architecture are following: A number of tumulis or stupas Monolithic pillars or stambhas Railings and Gateways(Toranas) Chaityas Viharas .

a free standing monolithic structure.      Stupas are subject to disintegration Thought about everlasting stone monuments He carved his famous edicts on the living rocks. He thought about stone. . their shape like pyramid implies durability. Then he thought of creation of stupas in many parts of his empire. though survived but not sufficiently striking to serve the purpose. A number of Ashokan pillars distributed over a wide area. and devised a form of pillar .

circular in section. Constructed by Graeco-persian imported workmen with selected indian craftsmen Out of 30. Pillars are unornamented shafts . They are art of buddhist settlements. one in Bakhra. tapering like a trunk of a tall palm tree. without any base. At top of the shaft (2’ dia) capital with its abacus acting as a support for a buddhist symbol.Ashokan pillars         Fifty feet in height Each carrying a budhism emblem on top. .10 are remaining 2 with lion capitals are in good condition. other in Laurya Nandangarh.

Ashoka pillar at Sarnath .

Budhist emblem .

On the dissolution neither god nor men should see him.Hinayana Sect       Lasted till 200AD Revived again during 500AD Known as “Lesser vehicle” or primitive aspect of creed It is ordained that in all its productions the bodily form of Budha should not be potrayed. In certain instances attempts were made by later theistic society to convert hinayana to mahayan order by superimposing figures of Budha.cushions or foot impressions. . footstool. Rock cut as chaitya hall at Kanheri and Nasik. Spiritual presence is attested by introduction of personal attributes like throne. Eg.

g Bhaja. The two aisles and apsidal end are for the purpose of processions and circumambulation of stupa.Kondane.Ajanta. In the apse stood the stupa. .Pitalkhora.Chaitya     The prayer hall of Buddhist temple is reffered as Chaitya hall.Bedsa.Took the form of a vaulted hall having an apsidal end and divided longitudinally by two colonnades into a broad nave and two aisles. E.

Occasionally containing a sanctuary for the shrine. in front of which was a vestibule.Vihara     Arrangement of apartments for the accomodation of monks. A square central hall entered by a doorway. verandah or portico. From the central hall doorways open to square cells each was the abode of one of the brotherhood. .

Chaitya hall at Karli    The Chaitya arch has rrived its maturity consists of a refined combination of curves.45 feet wide and 45 feet high. . It is 126 feet long. It is no longer a horse shoe shape but almost a complete circle.

The Karle chaitya differs from other chaityas in one aspect that its façade screen is made of teak wood. each sit on the water jar. The original wood of the umbrella survives even to this day. The whole structure appears to rest on the backs of the elephants with metal ornaments and ivory tusks. The hall is devided into a central nave and aisle on either side. 37 octagonal column of remarkable beauty.75m long. . At the inner end there is an imposing stupa with a wooden umbrella(harmika) on the top.8m broad with an apse at the end.         Located at Karle district.Pune The hall is about 16. There is a huge horse shoe arch or torana at the outer end of the opening of the cave.


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

plan .Chaitya at Karle.

Ajanta caves       Located in Aurangabad. Maharastra 28 rock cut caves were found Cave 9.13.15A are Viharas Constructed durinng 100BC Was a college monastery where teaching was given great emphasis .10 are chaitya halls Cave 12.

Site plan of Ajanta .

Site plan of Ajanta .

Arial view .


    Rectangular in plan Square dormitory cells cut into walls Square columns forming a central square shape. Aisles on each side for accessing the cells .

Viharas at Ajanta .

Ajanta cave 10 .

Ajanta cave 19 .

Ajanta cave 26 .

Ajanta Viharas .


Its stupa was a simple hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha. It is 106 feet dia. which was intended to honour and shelter the relics. a parasol-like structure symbolising high rank.Sanchi Stupa       Located in Raisen district of Madhyapradesh The 'Great Stupa' at Sanchi is the oldest stone structure in India and was originally commissioned by the emperor Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century BCE. It has four profusely carved ornamental gateways and a balustrade encircling the whole structure .42 feet high and placed on a platform of 14 feet high. It was crowned by the chatra.

   The dome was flattened near the top and crowned by three superimposed parasols within a square railing. . which could be accessed via a double staircase. The dome was set on a high circular drum meant for circumambulation. A second stone pathway at ground level was enclosed by a stone balustrade with four monumental gateways (toranas) facing the cardinal directions.


. depicts the young prince.The inner face of the right pillar portrays the dream of Maya. renouncing worldly life to seek enlightenment . the mother of Buddha. the Buddha preaching his first sermon at the Deer Park.Toranas      The Northern Gateway: Reveals the birth of Gautum in a series of dramatically rich carvings. illustrates the miracle associated with the Buddha as told in the Jataka tales. four represented by trees and three by stupas. Height is 35 feet and width 30 feet. Gautam. leaving his father's place. The Eastern Gateway. The Western Gateway depicts the Seven incarnations of the Buddha. when she conceived him. The southern Gateway: crowned by a wheel of law. Sarnath and the Chhaddanta Jataka tale.

Northern gate .

Southern gate .

Eastern gate .

Western Gate .