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.Indian architecture is a unique representation of the efforts on the part of the unsung artisans who dedicated their lives to the creation of elemental designs and experimentation with new ideas.
The history reveals that through 2000 years, the monuments reveal subtle details of Muslim, Hindu and Jain architecture which leap forth on the very first glance and those little carvings which create awe. The colossal domes and the intricate patterns on walls and pillars present before you architecture, which was experimented with and perfected. One can find thousands of monuments, evolving from simplicity and geometric anarchy to splendid harmonies of stone, marble and brick.
Hindu Architecture :
Hinduism is a religion based on worshipping thousands of deities, and for each one of them there exist thousands of temples and its magnifienct architecture. Hindu architecture concentrates immensely on the religious and spiritual. India's temple architecture is developed from the sthapathis' and shilpis' creativity.
In general these are from the vishwakarma community. A small Hindu temple consists of an inner sanctum, the garbha griha or womb-chamber, in which the image is housed, often circumambulation, a congregation hall, and possibly an antechamber and porch. The sanctum is crowned by a tower-like shikara.The two major types of temples existed, the northern or Nagara style and the southern or Dravida type of temple. They are distinguishable by the shape and decoration of their shikharas
Nagara style: The tower is beehive shaped.
Dravida: The tower consists of progressively smaller storeys of pavilions.
Islamic Architecture :
While Islamic architecture remained constrained to monuments, Hindus incorporated idols into their art, a feature unseen during Islamic rule since their religion forbids idol worship. Most of Islamic construction did revolve around a specific
recognisable Islamic architectural style, developing from localized adaptations of Egyptian, Persian/Sassanid and Byzantine. These Styles featured interior vaulted spaces, a circular dome, and the use of stylized repeating decorative patterns Distinguishing motifs of Islamic architecture have always been ordered repetition, radiating structures, and rhythmic, metric patterns. In this respect, fractal geometry has been a key utility, especially for mosques and palaces. Other significant features employed as motifs include columns, piers and arches, organized and interwoven with alternating sequences of niches and colonnettes.The role of domes in Islamic architecture has been considerable
Jain Architecture :
Jain architecture is considered almost an off shoot of Hinduism and Buddhism. In the initial years, wherever there would be Buddhist temples Jains would begin making their own, following the Buddhist rock-cut style. However, in later years when Jains discovered the concept of `mountains of immortality’, they proceeded to deviate from Hindu and Buddhist sites and build on their own.
Jain temples had a certain militant aura around them, probably because of plunderers who may have carried away riches. Surrounded by embattled walls, the Jain temples are divided into wards in a manner similar to fortified cities with parapets and niches to repel armed aggression. These temple-cities were not built on a specific plan; instead they were the results of sporadic construction. Natural levels of the hill on which the `city’ was being built accommodated various levels so that as one goes higher so does the architecture and grandeur increases. Each temple, though, followed a set pattern, styles, designed on principles of architecture in use during the period. The only variation was in the form of frequent chamukhs or four-faced temples. Entry into this temple would be from four doors. The Chamukh temple of Adinath is a characteristic example of the four-door temple. One doorway leads out to the assembly hall in front while the other three have porches leading into the main courtyard.
Buddhist Architecture :
The origin of Buddhist architecture goes back to Gandhara, the region from the Khyber Pass to the river Indus which Alexander the Great used to invade India in 326BC. Three types of structures are associated with the religious architecture of early Buddhism: monasteries (viharas), stupas, and temples (Chaitya grihas).
Viharas initially were only temporary shelters used by wandering monks during the rainy season, but later were developed to accommodate the growing and increasingly formalised Buddhist monasticism
The initial function of a stupa was the veneration and safe-guarding of the relics of the Buddha.In accordance with changes in religious practice, stupas were gradually incorporated into chaitya-grihas.
Gandhara Architecture :
Gandhara architecture, the merger of Indian and Greek art, took the form of Buddhist cult objects, Buddhas and ornaments for Buddhist monasteries. The genesis of the first Buddhist stupa came about during this period. The more decorative art was in the form of small votive stupas illustrated with clay images of birds, dragons, sea serpents and humans.
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