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Ancient Indian architecture

Discussion in 'General History' started by Levina, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. Levina

    Levina Guest

    STEPWELLS


    I just cant take my eyes of these pictures of step well. any of us must have seen these pictures hundreds of times on social media.
    This is just a compilation of all the famous step wells of medieval India.
    The water is considered sacred from the time of Vedas and the steps to reach the water level in artificially construed reservoirs can be found in the sites of Indus Valley Civilization such as Dholavira and Mohenjo-daro. Mohenjo-daro has cylindrical brick lined wells which may be the predecessors of the stepwell. The first rock-cut stepwells in India date from 200-400 AD.
    In medieval times,ppl dug deep trenches into the earth for dependable, year-round groundwater. They lined the walls of these trenches with blocks of stone, without mortar, and created stairs leading down to the water. Stepwells other than being used for collecting and storage of water, also served as a place for social gatherings and religious ceremonies. Usually women were more associated with these wells because they were the ones who collected the water. Also, it was they who prayed and offered gifts to the goddess of the well for her blessings. Consequently stepwells were given significant ornamental and architectural features, often associated with dwellings and in urban areas. It also ensured their survival as monuments.
    Stepwells usually consist of two parts: a vertical shaft from which water is drawn and the surrounding inclined subterranean passageways, chambers and steps which provide access to the well. The galleries and chambers surrounding these wells were often carved profusely with elaborate detail and became cool, quiet retreats during the hot summers.


    Rani Ki Ji Baori:
    Bundi is a small city in Rajasthan, it is sometimes called “The City of Stepwells” for the more than 50 wells in and around the city.
    Out of all the step wells Rani Ki Ji, or “Queen’s Stepwell” is the most famous. It was built in 1699 by Rani Nathavati second wife of the king, who was cast aside after she bore him an heir. She turned her energies to public projects, building nearly 20 wells, including the 46 meter Rani Ki Ji. 40 feet wide at the top, 200 steps descend to the water.




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    The Adalaj Stepwell


    Built in 1499 by Queen Rudabai, wife of the Vaghela chief, Veersinh, this five-storey stepwell was not just a cultural and utilitarian space, but also a spiritual refuge. It is believed that villagers would come everyday in the morning to fill water, offer prayers to the deities carved into the walls and interact with each other in the cool shade of the vav. There is an opening in the ceilings above the landing which allows the light and air to enter the octagonal well. However, direct sunlight does not touch the flight of steps or landings except for a brief period at noon. Hence some researchers say that the atmosphere inside the well is six degrees cooler than the outside. Another remarkable feature of this stepwell is that out of the many stepwells in Gujarat, it is the only one with three entrance stairs. All three stairs meet at the first storey, underground in a huge square platform, which has an octagonal opening on top. The vav is a spectacular example of Indo-Islamic architecture and design.


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  2. Levina

    Levina Guest

    contd...



    Rani ki vav, Gujarat:

    Rani-ki-Vav was built at the height of craftsmens’ ability in stepwell construction and the Maru-Gurjara architectural style, reflecting mastery of this complex technique and great beauty of detail and proportions. Designed as an inverted temple highlighting the sanctity of water, it is divided into seven levels of stairs with sculptural panels of high artistic quality; more than 500 principle sculptures and over a thousand minor ones combine religious, mythological and secular imagery, often referencing literary works. The fourth level is the deepest and leads into a rectangular tank 9.5 m by 9.4 m, at a depth of 23 m. The well is located at the westernmost end of the property and consists of a shaft 10 m in diameter and 30 m deep






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  3. dadeechi

    dadeechi Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    STONE TEMPLES OF BELUR AND HALEBEEDU


    The Hoysala Kings ruled most part of Karanataka, the Southern state of India from 10th to 14th century. These Kings were great patrons of Art, Architecture and commissioned some of the best stone temples ever built.
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    Chennakesava Temple, Belur
    The city of Belur was the capital of the Hoysala kingdom until it was annexed by the Mughal ruler Allauddin Khilji. The Mughals looted and plunders the capital city after which Halebidu was established as the new capital. The temples and monuments of Belur are the best examples of Hoysala architecture and the highlight is the nature of the carvings; so intricate that they look like carvings made on sandalwood rather than stone.
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    The temples are build on raised platforms and at Chennakesava temple elephants are carved on to the base of the platform.
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    The charging Elephants at the lower section symbolize strength and stability ,the lions above symbolize courage and valor and the horses above them symbolize speed.
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    CHENNAKESAVA TEMPLE
    The most famous Hoysala temple was built to commemorate the victory of the Hoysalas over the Cholas in the great battle of Talakkad. It took 103 years and talented workmen to built this magnificent stone temple and is worshiped till date .The interiors of the temple are intricately carved, the strenght of stone has given way to the beauty of idols, ornamental carvings that almost look like metal grill work. The temple was built for Lord Vishnu and Chennakesava literally translates to Handsome Vishnu.
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    View of the Gopuram an ornate tower at the entrance of the temple. The Gopuram is filled with sculptures of different incarnations of Lord Vishnu and beautiful women. The detailed status is of garuda .
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    The ornate carvings found in the different Hoysala temples indicate that music and dance were given high importance during this period.
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    The temples at Belur are carved out of soap stone (steatite), this stone is soft and easy to chisel but attains rock hard firmness when exposed to the atmosphere.
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    The exterior walls have carvings of every god in the Hindu religion and some from Jainism . The Hoysals were Jains before they converted to Hinduism.
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  4. dadeechi

    dadeechi Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    HALEBEEDU
    Halebeedu was well fortified with huge boulders and a moat to keep out invaders from the north. The Hoysala empire extended from river Kaveri in the west and Krishna in the east and was enriched by fertile deltas of the rivers.The prosperity and wealth of the Hoysalas kings attracted the forces of the Delhi Sultanate, who invaded and annexed the town in 1311. The invaders took back with them camel loads of gold, silver and precious gems. Halebeedu was attacked a second time in the year 1326 after which the Hoysalas were forced to relinquish their beautiful capital. It was never re-occupied again and the capital was moved to Belure just 16 kms away.
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    JOHN PAUL
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    http://www.digitalkaleidoscope.in/2015/03/stone-temples-of-belur-and-halebeedu.html
     
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  5. dadeechi

    dadeechi Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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  6. dadeechi

    dadeechi Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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  7. bharathp

    bharathp Developers Guild IDF NewBie

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    very interesting thread @Levina a few years back I was very fascinated by the details of temple architecture and the commonality between Indian Mythology and the Greek Mythology - an example was the Mahishasura (Mahisha - buffalo ) was similar to the minotaur that thesues slayed.

    back to the topic - the south Indian temples are a respresntation of the human body and the location of each of the items (the garbha griha, the vahana griha etc) are locations of importance (chakra) on the body. My family has built a Sri Venkateswara temple in Hyderabad about 6 generations back which unfortuntely got embroiled in land disputes by the local MLAs who have now completely taken over the temple and its lands.

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