Architecture of India

Architecture of India India is the home of one of the most ancient civilization. The heritage of India is almost 5000 years old. Previously Hinduism was the main religion in this country but gradually comes Muslims, Buddhists, Jain and Christians and they helped this country to become the motherland of a proud heritage. India is truly a land of monuments. With this flow of civilization we can find different temples, mosque and other monuments throughout the country. The monumental heritage of India dates back to 3500 BC to 1500 BC, where one of the most extensive urban civilizations in the history of man grew up in the Valley of Indus River and its tributaries. This civilization consisted of a network of cities spread over an area of a million square miles. Mohenjo Daro and Harappa (both now in Pakistan) were the most important among several walled cities renowned for their well planned streets, covered drains, great baths. The buildings of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa are the oldest examples of subcontinental architecture. Other examples are Kalibangan at Rajasthan, Lothal in Gujrat and Ropar in Punjab. The monuments of India could be divided in few categories. HINDU ARCHITECTURE Hinduism is the oldest religion which prevailed throughout India. We can find heritage monuments of Hinduism every nuke and corner of the country. Hindu temples are mainly two types – 1. Mandap shaped and 2. Meru shaped. Mandap shaped temples are largely found in south India in which the temples are built as a tent. Meru shaped temples are mainly found in central and northern India. The temple is built in the shape of meru – the sacred mountain. The top is pointed towards to the space representing moksha. Both the types follow a basic structure which is almost same throughout India. The Parts of Temple. Gate (Gopuram):- in every temple we find four gates in four directions. The main gate always faces towards east or west. These gates are decorated with beautiful sculptures. Platform (Mandap):- it is the platform in front of the main part of the temple with numerous pillars supporting the ceiling. The doorway slab: - it is the boundary line between the platform and Garbha Griha. Garbha Griha: - it is the main part of the temple built in the center of premises. The front wall has the carved doorway and the other three walls have small windows. In the center part there is a small platform where the main statue of God is placed. It is like a small room decorated with sculptures inside. The Path: - the Garbha Griha I surrounded by path to go round it. The Top: - the top of Garbha Griha is called shikhara. Water Tank: - to wash hand and feet to refresh almost in all temples one water tank is found. BUDDHIST ARCHITECTURE The earliest monumental heritage was Buddhist stupas. A number of them were built in the Ganges valley in the northwest and the Deccan plateau, between 230 BC and 500 AD. These monuments are known as stupas, built in the memory of Lord Buddha were earlier used probably as burial tombs, but by 200 BC they had became dome shaped and letter becoming taller and more magnificent with different style and character related to its religion. Stupa is a domed mount near the summit of which is inset a chamber containing relics of Buddha. The summit was crowned with a small enclosure, Sinside which were set up fires of honorific. A sailing with one or more gates enclosed the structure and the preaching hall ‘chaitya’. Perhaps the pillar was aligned with it. The most famous ‘stupas’ are at Sanchi and at Bodh Gaya where Buddha achieved the enlightenment. In the South the ‘stupa’ at Amravati and Nagarjunkonda are more decorated. The ‘stupa’ of Surnath is of 7th century. INDO-ISLAMIC ARCHITECTURE The Muslims brought in the culture which has left a tremendous influence on India’s art and architecture. With the passage of time, a genuine Indo-Islamic style of architecture emerged. This school combined various influences - both indigenous and imported. It consists of tombs, miners, masjids, forts and palaces. Tombs are built in the memory of the Sultan and their families. The most famous of them is the Taj Mahal built by Shahjahan in the memory of Mumtaj Mahal. It is a magnificent tomb built in marble the basic structure of Islamic architecture are towering arches set in the rectangular surface, on the four sides. A huge bulk drum raised on a drum crowns the central area. Four minarets are in the four corners. The straight sides, pointed arcades of five to seven arcs are the main characteristics of miners. It is a kind of tower. The forts and palaces are the examples of luxury and grandeur. Characteristics of Muslim architecture: - the Muslim monuments are huge and show the splendid grandeur and luxury of their patron. They are mostly built in red stone which imparts solidity to the construction. Muslim architecture introduced for the first time in India the arches. The use of miners added slimness to the huge buildings. Use of gardens around the buildings added beauty. Jharokhas are again one of the main features of Muslim architecture. Jharokhas are the delicate stone nets decorated with flora or geometrical designs. The use of precious stones demonstrated their luxury inscriptions of calligraphy from Holy Quran added delicacy and decoration to the Islamic Architecture. At the beginning the Muslim architecture was purely Persian but the later constructions is influenced by Hindu architecture. The Indo-Islamic architecture is a beautiful synthesis of Persian and Hindu architecture. GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE During the British period, massive gothic architecture of the west was introduced to India. The best known British architect to work in India was Sir Edwin Lutyens, who was responsible for the master plan of New Delhi. He created an acceptable combination of mainly Mughal features and the western concepts. The Portuguese settlements at the western coast produced an architecture that was distinctly Gothic in character.

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