Unit 3 (XI)

Indian Temples

Introduction

Nearly everyone who visits India or south India in particular return with an impression that is a land of temples. South India is dotted with a great number of temples many of them are ancient and have become places of pilgrimage. Apart from the cities a good number of towns or village have two or more temples of each. The temples believed to be the home of gods are spots of admiration. through the temple men try to give their religious beliefs a visual form to satisfy their sense of understanding. As a result, the temples tend to become aesthetic description of all religious symbols associated with it.

Indian sculpture was mainly meant for temple ornamentation in the ancient and medieval period. it was the gradual evolution starting from the rock cut cave temples to huge Rathas which finally led to the large scale temples.it all began with the Gupta age (4th -6th) though we have found evidences of such shrines before that also. by the advent of 8th century this temple building took off all over India. Pallas in the east cholas and Pallava in the south rashtrakutas and Chandelles in the central India built temple of various architectural styles from 8th to 10th century. after this temple were built in Vijayanagar. Mysore, Rajasthan, Bengal and Orissa till 12th c. A.D. in short, the great era of temple building started at about 500 AD and reached its climax in the great temple in Madurai (Meenakshi temple) and Rameswaram temple for instance in 1600 AD.

The building art which developed in India during early centuries of Christian era developed more or less independently in the west south and north of the subcontinent. but the basic impression for all of them   was the saying and the principles on which heir construction was based were derived from a common text the Vaastu shastra.

text the Vaastu shastra.

CLASSIFICATION

Indian temples could be classified into 2 broad orders as

(A) Nagara (in north India)

(B) Dravid (in south India)

TEMPLE SCULPTURES -ICONOGRAPHY

Iconography means the symbolic representation attached to an image or images. in this case it is of gods, mythical beings related to them.in temples their place and existence is very significant in terms of social political or regional context.

Temples comprise of elaborate sculptures and ornaments that are carefully planned at their very beginning. for instance, river goddesses (ganga and Yamuna) are found at the entrances in a nagara temple, Dwarapalas are usually found on the gateway or gopurams of Dravid temple similarly maithuna’s (erotic images), Navagraha’s (the 9 auspicious planets) and yakshas are also placed at the entrance as guards. various for) face mass of the main divinity is made on the outer walls of the chamber. the Ashtadikpalas (deities of direction) face 8 key of direction on the outer wall of the main chamber and or on the outer walls of the chamber. secondary shrines around the main temple are devoted to the family of incarnations of the main god. various mythical creatures like yalis gavaksh motifs are carved at the front wall and interior walls to complete the architecture.

NAME – DESCENT OF GANGA

ARTIST – UNKNOWN

MEDIUM – STONE (Relief sculpture)

COURTSEY – Archaeological survey of India

PERIOD – 7th century A.D.

 SIZE – 12X10 feet

DESCRIPTION

Descent of Ganga one of the largest and oldest sculptural panel known in the world is at Mahabalipuram ,50km south of madras. there is a natural cleft in the rock which has been used by its sculptors as a channel for water to flow down and the water was collected in the massive tank in the front of the sculpted wall. The Palava artist had chiselled the finest sculpture on the huge   whale back rock.  They have carved celestial like the sun, moon and the earth. a host of animals like the monkeys, lions, elephants and deer’s along with mythical serpent gods have been carved. Deities, ascetics in meditation a bearded figure as Bhagirath and arjun standing one leg and stretching his arms upward to pray to ganga to flow down on earth all this have been carved with great vigour realism and charm.

NAME – RAVAN SHAKING MOUNT KAILASH

ARTIST – UNKNOWN

MEDIUM – STONE RELIEF SCULPTURE ROCK CUT

PLACE – DHORA

PERIOD – 8TH CENTURY A.D.

COURTSEY – ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF INDIA

DESCRIPTON

The main body of the great rock cut temple of Kailash at Ellora (near Bombay) occupies a parallelogram approximately 150 by 100ft and 90ft height.it is a colossal sculpture and in this demon king Ravana has been shaking the, mount Kailash the Himalayan abode when lord shiva along with Parvati and others were present on the mountain. The composition is divided into several tiers the lower one depicting multiarmed Ravana shaking the mount Kailash with ease. His hands been expanded up to the chamber and the depth of the carving shows the three-dimensional space.

The upper half is divided into three frames the center occupied by the image of shiva and Parvati. Parvati is shown sitting close to shiva her stretched legs and slightly twisted body in the niche space creates an impressive effect of light and shade. The gana dwarf figures are shown engaged in activities each image in the composition is remarkable example of craftsmanship.

NAME – TRIMURTI

ARTIST – UNKNOWN

MEDIUM – STONE (ROCK CUT RELIEF SCULPTURE)

PLACE- ELEPHANTA (NEAR MUMBAI)

PERIOD- 9TH CENTURY A.D.

COURTSEY- ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF INDIA

DESCRPTION

The cave temples of Elephant famous for sculptural images is found on a beautiful little island about 10km from Bombay. Elephant is famous for its magnanimous sculpture of shiv expressing its three different forms the Trimurti. these three faced idols are called Sadashiv Maheshwara.

In the left side a moustached face showing the anger form of shiva (Bhairva).in the mid we see calm and placid form and in the right side in the woman form (Uma). All sculptures are known for their remarkable qualities of surface smoothness and varied mythological themes are depicted well from the life of lord shiva.

NAME – CYMBAL PLAYER

ARTIST- UNKOWN

MEDIUM – STONE

PERIOD – 13TH CENTURY A.D.

PLACE – 5TH TEMPLE AT KONARK (ORISSA)

COURTSEY – ARCHAELOGICAL SURVEY OF INDIA

DESCRIPTION

The sun temple dedicated to lord Surya an architectural genius was built by king Narsimha dev I (1238-64) of ganga dynasty at Konark about 20 miles north east of Puri. the temple is now ruins as the salty air coming from the sea has affected the temple and statues. It is called the black pagoda because of its colours.

Exquisite sculpture of a female playing the instrument, cymbal is established outside the main shrine of the temple. The female statue is adorned with ornaments around her neck, arms, wrist, fingers and feet. the posture is very attractive and her feet look as if she is dancing along with the instrument.

NAME – MOTHER AND CHILD

ARTIST – UNKNWON

MEDIUM – STONE (WHITE MARBLE SCULPTURE)

PERIOD – 13TH CENTURY A.D.

COURTSEY – ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF INDIA

PLACE – VIMALAVSHI TEMPLE, DILWARA RAAJASTHAAN

DESCRPTION

The Vimla Vashi temple, dedicated to Adinatha, the first Tirthankara is one of the oldest finished examples of Jain architectures. The temple is 98 feet long and 42 feet wide. it is surrounded by a lofty wall of 52 cells each part of the temple is extraordinarily engraved with sculptures of daily life geometrical patterns and the Jain Tirthankaras. this statue is constructed of white marble the figure of mother is slightly bent forward she is holding the child with her left hand. The child is looking upward toward the face of his mother. The ornaments and the garments are seen in the linear form depicting the posture curves. The expression of the face and rest of the body is full of motherly woman. half bent eyes and hair tied in a bun is quite striking.

NAME – NATRAJ

MEDIUM – BRONZE SCULPTURE

PERIOD – CHOLA 10TH CENTURY A.D.

PLACE – THANJAVAR DISTRICT OF TAMIL NADU

COURTSEY – NATIONAL MUSEUM NEW DELHI

DESCRIPTION

The chola and Pallava dynasty are considered as a great period for the art of bronze sculpture as several master pieces were made. Most of the bronze came from the Thanjavar district of Tamil Nadu the heart land of the cholas.

The metal images meant for worship in temple and cast are solid including the large size of Natraj image. The process of preparing the wax model covering it with the clay coat, pouring the molten metal poses and emblems suited to various manifestations are given both in ritual treatises and the sculptors manuals Shilpa shastras. Mainly copper was used for making these images. in the later period the use of 5 metals called pacca loha came into vogue. The five metals are said to represent earth water fire air and sky the panch  bhutas denoting metaphysically that the god prevails everywhere.

This statue is on a round platform, shiva is in dancing pose is balancing himself on his right leg. he is supressing apasmara the demon of ignorance with the same leg. His left leg is raised in bhujsangatarista stance that is kicking away the veil of illusion from the devotee’s mind. Shiva is shown with four arms and in atibhang mudra. He is holding Damru, his favourite musical instrument in the upper right hand.

NAME – LAKSHMI NARAYAN (KENDRIYA MAHADEV TEMPLE)

MEDIUM – STONE

PERIOD – 10TH CENTURY A.D.

ARTIST – UNKNOWN

PLACE – KHAJURAHO

COURTSEY – ARCHEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF INDIA

DESCRIPTION

In Khajuraho there are number of temples and about two hundred temple s were built under the patronage of Chandel rulers they are remanent of many temples but only 30 are in a complete form.

Kendriya Mahadev temple built on a high platform shows an external pradakshina of the temple. climbing fight of the stairs of the platform leads to the entrance of the temple. The doorway is adorned with the curved torana of the single stone that look like a garland of delicate flowers. The walls of the temples both internal and external area abundantly engraved on both sides.

The stone has been intricately carved and also inform us about the daily life of the people dancing, playing, on the musical instruments looking themselves into couples and mirrors in love making scene.

The women are erotic forms with countered body and adorned with ornaments.

Indo – Islamic Architectures

Introduction

The late medieval period saw great developments in the field of architecture begins with the gurid occupations of India at the close of the 12th century A.D. the indo Islamic style was neither strictly Islamic nor strictly Hindu. The architecture of the late medieval period can be divided into two main categories. they are the Delhi or the imperial style and the Mughal architecture. the imperial style developed under the patronage of the sultans of Delhi. The Mughal architecture was a blend of the architecture of central Asia and the Hindu architecture of India. The most important factors common to both forms of architecture were hat the both styles had ornamental decorations very vital and that the open court in many cases were surrounded by colonnades. The Islamic rule in India saw the introduction of many new architecture in the architecture styles. Some of the basic features of Mughal architecture are the round domes, high minarets, Mehrabs, pillars open courtyards etc. red sandstone was used for construction of huge buildings and forts. however later on red sandstone was replaced with white marble when the stress was more on beautifying of the buildings with the use of colored designs precious and stones gold and silver waters and minute carvings.

Characteristics of indo – islamic architecture

The indo – islmic architectures features the utilizations of chaityas tall towers and half domed double portals. The buildings and other edifices are generally decorated richly in geometrical and arabesques designs these designs were carved on stone in low relief, cut on plaster painted or inlaid. The use of lime as mortar was also a major element distinct from the traditional building style.

The tomb architecture is also another feature of the Islamic architecture. Tomb architecture generally consisted of a domed chamber a cenotaph in its center with a mihrab on the western wall and the real grave in the underground chamber.

The Mughals added a new dimension by introducing gardens all around the tomb. The Mughal tombs were generally placed at the center of a huge garden complex these gardens were sub divided into square compartments known as char Bagh. The Mughal also built large gardens in various levels and terraces on the char Bagh pattern. The Mughal are also credited to have introduced the double dome system of dome architecture and the pietra dura style of inlay decorations.

The superb examples of indo Islamic architecture of Qu tub minar , alai Darwaja ,quwat ul Islam mosque  Tughlaq bad fort , Fatehpur Sikri Agra fort  , taj mahal , red fort Delhi etc.

TAJ MAHAL

Name Taj mahal

Artist   unknown

Builder shahjahan

Medium white marble from Makrana

Period   1631 to1651 A.D.

Place    Agra

Courtesy archeological survey of India

DESCRIPTION

Taj mahal is the wonder of the world, it is a beautiful building made up of white Makrana marble and is situated in Agra on the bank of river Yamuna.

The monument was built by shahjahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz mahal. It covers an area of 22 acres and was constructed by 20000 artists and workers in 20 years. The monument is an exemplary example of architecture with attractive minarets, domes, canopies, arched gates and platform that are inordinately ornamented and engraved. Carved jalis on the structure make the interior of the monument lighted up with natural light.

 The embellishments adorning taj mahal such as engravings arabesques designs of flowers and leaves and geometric pattern on wall and ceilings are studded with colored stones and are cut in such a way that the dark part has thick stone lighter part has thin stone.

QUTTAB MINAR

Name Qutab Minar

Artist unknown

Builder Qutab di Ebak

Medium stone structure

Period 12th century

Place new Delhi

Courtesy archeological survey of India

DESCRIPTION

Qutab Minar is a world-famous minaret built by Qutab din Ebak the founder of Delhi sultanate and his successor son in law Iltutmish. Qutab means pole or column built as a symbol of justice and sovereignty. This minaret was used by Muslim priest to call the worshippers to offer prayer. the Minar is near the southern gate called Ali Darwaja of quwatal Islam Mosque. Qutbuddin Ebak had perhaps only succeeded in raising he first story the remaining stories has been completed by Iltutmish. From the Nagri and the Persian inscription on the Minar that it appears it was damaged twice by lightening in 1326 and 1328. The circumference of the minarets is 13.75m at the base and about 2.75m on the top with the height of 72.5m and 379 steps. it is the highest stone tower in India. initially it has six stories but now it has five stories decreasing upwards. The first three stories have been made by engraving red sand stones in specific shapes mix of polygon and circular shape and engraving the best calligraphy on them. The upper stories have been completed with combination of red sand stone and white marble.

GOL GUMBAJ

Name Gol Gumbaj

Artist unknown

Medium brick and concrete

Period 1627-57 A.D.

Place Bijapur

Size 185sqm

Courtesy archeological survey of India

DESCRIPTION

The Gol Gumbaj is the tomb or mausoleum of Mohammad Adil shah. it is one of the biggest domes of Asia and largest building in Bijapur and also in of the most celebrated monument of India built in 1659 it is the archeological zenith of indo Islamic style

 The tomb resembles a giant cube crowned by a hemispherical dome with seven storied octagonal minarets at each of its four corners capped by smaller domes each story had seven arched windows. the tomb is almost round at the centers and at minarets also so it is called Gol Gumbaj. inside the building in vast hall arcs giving the dome support and a whisper gallery where sounds get magnified and echoed many times over.

Unit – 2

BUDDHIST JAIN AND HINDU ART

Unit – 1

Prehistoric Rock Painting and Indus Valley Civilization

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