Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Top 5 Architectures from Ancient India

The Architecture of India is rooted in its history, culture, and religion. Indian architecture progressed with time and assimilated the many influences that came as a result of India's global discourse with other regions of the world throughout its millennia-old past.

Among India's ancient architectural remains, the most characteristic structures are the temples, Chaityas, Viharas, Stupas and other religious structures. In ancient India, temple architecture of high standard developed in almost all regions. The distinct architectural style of temple construction in different parts was a result of geographical, climatic, ethnic, racial, historical and linguistic diversities.

Here are some of the famous Architectures of India:

1. Konark Sun Temple

An Architecture Marvel of Eastern India and a symbol of India's heritage, Konark Sun Temple, commonly known as Konark is situated in the eastern state of Odisha (earlier known as Orissa), India and is one of the eminent tourist attractions. Konark houses a massive temple dedicated to the Sun God. The word 'Konark' is a combination of two words 'Kona' and 'Arka'. 'Kona' means 'Corner' and 'Arka' means 'Sun', so when combines it becomes 'Sun of the Corner'. Konark Sun Temple is situated on the north-eastern corner of Puri and is dedicated to Sun God.

Great poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote of Konark, "Here the language of stone surpasses the language of Man."

2. Hidimba Devi Temple

Hidimba Devi Temple is located in Manali, a hill station in the State of Himachal Pradesh in north India. It is an ancient cave temple dedicated to Hidimba Devi, wife of Bhima, a figure in the Indian epic Mahabharata. The temple is surrounded by a cedar forest at the foot of the Himalayas.

The Hidimba Devi Temple has intricately carved wooden doors and a 24 meter tall wooden "Shikhar" or tower above the sanctuary. The tower consists of three square roofs covered with timber tiles and a fourth brass cone-shaped roof at the top. The earth goddess Durga forms the theme of the main door carvings.The temple base is made out of whitewashed, mud-covered stonework.

3. Ajanta Caves

The Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra state of India are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The caves include paintings and sculptures described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as "the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting",which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales.

The caves form the largest corpus of early Indian wall-painting; other survivals from the area of modern India are very few, though they are related to 5th-century paintings at Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. The elaborate architectural carving in many caves are also very rare, and the style of the many figure sculptures is highly local, found only at a few nearby contemporary sites, although the Ajanta tradition can be related to the later Hindu Ellora Caves and other sites.

4. The Great Stupa

Located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, "The Stupa at Sanchi" is a famous ancient Buddhist monument. The Stupa or Sanchi temple is a wonderful testament to the artistic prowess of Buddhist monks. Emperor Asoka (273-236 B.C.) built stupas in Buddha's honour at many places in India. The stupas at Sanchi are the most magnificent structures of ancient India. It was accepted that the structure at Sanchi is the most organized construction which went into the engineering of Buddhist monuments at Sanchi. The carvings here are done with the precision of Jewellers.

The fact is that the Sanchi Stupa is primarily a place of Stupas and pillars but the gorgeous gateways add grace to the place. These gateways are beautifully carved and carry scenes from the life of Buddha or Ashoka. The images carved on the pillars and the stupas tell the moving story of the incidents from the life of Buddha.

5. Nataraja Temple

Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram or Chidambaram temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in the town of Chidambaram, East-Central Tamil Nadu, South India. The temple is known as the foremost of all temples (Kovil) to Saivites and has influenced worship, architecture, sculpture and performance art. A classical Shiva temple as per Agama rules will have five prakarams or circuits each separated by walls one within the other.

The outer prakaram will be open to the sky except the innermost one. The innermost one will house the main deity as well as other deities. There will be a massive wooden or stone flag post exactly in line with the main deity. The innermost prakaram houses the sanctum sanctorum.The 9 gateways signify the 9 orifices in the human body.The hall next to the artha mantapa has eighteen pillars symbolizing the eighteen Puranas.

Written by Lavika Agarwal
Success does not come from never making mistakes, but by never making the same mistakes twice.

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