1902 Encyclopedia > Architecture > Indian Architecture - Hindu Architecture of South India and North India

(Part 26)

Indian Architecture (cont.)

Hindu Architecture of
(i) South India and (ii) North India

Hindu architecture has been divided into that of the Aryan or Sanscrit [Sanskrit] races of North India, that of the South or of the Tamul [Tamil] races, and that prevalent in the Panjab [Punjab] and Cashmere [Kashmir]. Of the first and last we have comparatively little knowledge, but South Hindu work is treated of at great length by Ram Raz (FOOTNOTE 396-1), a native author. The accompanying view of the temple at Tiravalur (fig. 31, which measures 945 by 700 feet, is from his work on Hindu Architecture. The remains of the buildings are numerous, as the Tamul [Tamil] races were perhaps the greatest temple builders in the world; and the whole subject has been so well elucidated by the author last referred to, that its principles may be considered to be clearly ascertained and settled. The great pagoda at Tanjore (fig. 32), by far the grandest temple in India, resting on a base 83 feet square, rises in fourteen stories to a height of nearly 200 feet. The interior represented in fig. 33 -- a hall in the palace at Madura -- illustrates a comparatively recent style.

The architecture of the north-east is known chiefly from the drawings in Vigne’s Travels in Cashmere, and in General Cunningham’s Memoir to the Asiatic Society of Bengal. The temple of Martund (fig. 34), reduced from the latter work by Mr Fergusson, shows a cloistered court surrounded by pillars and cells, and entered by a porch. In the middle of this is a temple with a species of naos and pronaos. But the most curious feature is a series of doors with acute pediments over them shaped very much like Gothic gablets, and containing trefoil arches. A similar feature occurs (fig. 35) at Pandrethan, in a temple built about 1000 A.D. or 250 years later than Martund. It seems by no means improbable that these pointed domes, gablets, and trefoiled arches may have strongly affected the architecture of the Saracens.

Of the style of North India Mr. Fergusson gives remarkable, and by no means elegant, examples; as the Black Pagoda at Kannaruc, and temples at Barolli and at Benares. The chief features are a sort of entrance porch, sometimes walled and sometimes carried on pillars, called the nuptial hall, leading into a great pagoda, square in plan, and finishing with a sort of tub-shaped dome. The ornamentation is profuse, so much so as to detract from the greatness of the design. There are no buildings in this style anterior to the Mahometan conquest. The date assigned to the temple of Jugernath is 1198, and to the Black Pagoda, 1241 A.D. The ghats, or landing-places (fig. 36), that line the banks of the rivers of Northern India, are often of great architectural merit.

The pagoda forms a very prominent feature in the architecture of Further India. A specimen of the Burmese style of temples is presented in the Shoemadoo (i.e. "golden great god") Pagoda of Pegu (figs. 37, 38).

((396-1) We are told by Rám Ráz that many treatises on architecture, some say sixty-four, existed in India. The collection he calls the Silpa Sastra. Of these he mentions that the most perfect is the Mánasára, of which forty-one chapters were in his possession. He also cites several others, one of which he calls Casyàpa. In an epitome of the Mánasára he states that the first chapter treats of the various measures in use in this country; the second describes the sthapati, architect -- the satragráhi, or measurer, probably the surveyor or clerk of works, and then the various builders; while others treat of pillars, bases and pedestals, halls, and the Vimana or temple itself.

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