For a Kinder, Gentler Society
World Heritage Monuments and Related Edifices in India
  • Ali Javid
Reviews Table of Contents Introduction «Back
World Heritage Monuments and Related Edifices in India.
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Hundreds of stunning temples and sculptural monuments of India are catalogued and copiously illustrated in this two-volume work loaded with color photographs, from ancient cave temples hewn out of solid bedrock to Christian churches built under European influence.

India’s religions and historical turning points are briefly discussed, enabling readers who may be less familiar with Indian cultures to appreciate the region’s cultural heritage.


About the Author

Ali Javid was born in South India, where he began his study of ancient temple sculpture and the related mythology. Through decades of study and repeated visits to lesser-known monuments as well as the principal temple complexes, with comparative tours of religious centers in Angkor, Bangkok and the Mayan ruins, he has developed an appreciative eye for the achievements of early sculptors.

About the Book

Hundreds of India's stunning temples are catalogued and copiously illustrated in this two-volume work loaded with color photographs.

A brief introduction to the principal religious groups who have made...

Hundreds of India's stunning temples are catalogued and copiously illustrated in this two-volume work loaded with color photographs.

A brief introduction to the principal religious groups who have made their home in this dynamic region leads into a description of the developmental stages of various architectural components and artistic styles in the different regions over the past 1500 years, from pre-historic cave art and ancient temples hewn out of solid bedrock to more recent European-style Christian churches such as those in Goa.

India's religions and historical turning points are briefly discussed, enabling readers who may be less familiar with Indian cultures to recognize the value of the region's cultural heritage. The author details the technological and artistic progress of Indian temple construction in the context of cultural and religious shifts throughout history. The four indigenous religions of India, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, as well as Christianity, are each appreciated on their own merits.

The Taj Mahal, the most famous architectural work in India, was declared a World Heritage Monument in 1983. It has been described lyrically as a tear drop on the cheek of time, poetry in marble, a dream in marble, and an image of paradise; and in such superlatives as 'the greatest achievement of all Indo-Islamic architecture, the most beautiful of all monuments made by the hands of man.' But the UNESCO World Heritage Center has also singled out a wealth of monuments that preceded and followed its construction, denoting them as important elements of the heritage of human civilization.

In this work, researched through personal visits to World Heritage sites in India and the monuments associated with them, the author shares his enjoyment of the depiction of human beauty in decorative sculpture and architecture and the narration of mythology therein.

This is one work bound in two volumes (500 color photos).


Introduction

1. Religions of India

The four indigenous religions of India are Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Two more religions entered India to stay: Christianity, in the third century CE and Islam, in the seventh century. Akbar, the Mughal Emperor (1542-1605), tried to develop a new religion, Dean-e-elahe, by...

1. Religions of India

The four indigenous religions of India are Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Two more religions entered India to stay: Christianity, in the third century CE and Islam, in the seventh century. Akbar, the Mughal Emperor (1542-1605), tried to develop a new religion, Dean-e-elahe, by synthesizing Hinduism and Islam; but it died in its infancy. His successor Shah-e-Jahan and orthodox Muslims did not favor it.


Mankind has inhabited India for over half a million years. The natural barriers that kept India in comparative isolation, allowing it to develop its own civilization, were not impermeable. There was always some migration through Himalayan passes. People of the proto-historic Indus River Valley civilization were not the first to enter India, but not much is known about previous immigrants. The cultural remains of the Indus River Valley civilization that flourished from 2500-1500 BCE (with a peak period between 2250-1750 BCE) indicate worship of procreative forces. The phallus, representing the procreative aspect of the universe by which the endless cycle of birth, rebirth and death occurs, and ring stones representing vulvae — the door through which one is born and reborn, dating to the third millennium BCE, have been unearthed here. A life-size Neolithic statue of a man carved in 9500-7200 BCE, excavated in Turkey, shows a prominent erect phallus, indicating the importance accorded to procreative forces long before the Indus River Valley civilization.
Aryans, coming in small groups, completely displaced the Indus River Valley civilization by 1600 BCE.
Hinduism
Hinduism, the oldest religion of India, has its roots in the Indus River Valley civilization and possibly beyond. Aryans migrating from Iran and surrounding regions brought gods of Iranian origin. Hinduism is not based on the idea of the revelation of a god conveyed by a messiah. Worship of natural forces was at the root of religions in the Indus River Valley civilization. Lacking any clear explanation of the origins of the universe, Aryans believed that there were two separate primordial worlds. One was a sacred world with the germ of life, characterized by a complete and undifferentiated unity inhabited by a group of gods called asuras. A god Indra was born outside this primeval world and he created the world we know by rearranging the existing matter. He caused the separation of sky and earth by propping up the sky with a pillar, and he released the cosmic ocean between the sky and the earth by slaying the demon guarding the imprisoned cosmic ocean. He acted as catalyst for the creation of all the identifiable individuals and distinct categories of objects and beings within the world. Along with Indra came devas, the gods of the Vedic pantheon. The constant struggle between the asuras and devas resulted in a constant menace to the existence and coherence of the ordered world. Some asuras joined the ranks of the devas. Others, personifying negative characteristics such as ignorance, in Puranas or ancient tales, were vanquished by the devas.

Vedas, Hindu sacred texts, were developed between 1500 and 800 BCE. They present a pantheon of 33 gods representing various forces of nature and personification of the sky, thunder, sun, fire, and rivers. Indra became the head of the council of gods, and was god of rain and of war — two of the most important factors affecting life. Agni became the god of fire; Surya became the sun god and Vayu the god of wind, amongst a multitude of minor gods. Some of these gods are prototypes or aspects of gods known in later Hinduism.

The function of these gods was to provide material blessing, and to focus worshipers...

 


Table of Contents
Religions of India
Religions of India

Religions of India

Preface

Introduction

Religions of India


Hinduism

Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism

Sikhism

Religious Monuments

Hindu Temples

Gods and Goddesses

Temple Sculpture

Buddhist and Jain Temples

Sikh Monuments

Christianity and Islam

Christian Architecture and Sculpture

Indo-Islamic Architecture

Bodh Gaya (260 BCE–11th Century)

Jain Caves at Udayagiri & Khandagiri (100 BCE–100 CE)

Karli and Bhaja Caves ca. 1st Century BCE–120 CE)

The Great Stupa at Sanchi (250 BCE–11th Century)

Buddhist Caves at Ajanta (200 BCE–600 CE)

Siva Cave at Elephanta (540–555)

Buddhist Caves at Aurangabad (1st Century BCE–6th Century)

Early Western Chalukya Monuments

Chalukya II

The Caves at Ellora (550–950)

Monuments at Malapurum (600–800)

The Temples at Bhubanesvara (650–1275)

Monuments at Khajuraho (10th –12th Century)

Rajarajeshvara Temple at Tanjur (1003–1014)

Statue of Bahubali (10th Century)

Hoysala Temples (1117–1268)

The Sun Temple at Konarak (1238–1264)

Monuments at Vijayanagara (1336–1565)

Monuments at Delhi (1192–1842)

Monuments at Agra (1556–1657)

Monuments at Fatahpursikri (1571–1586)

Churches and Convents at Goa (16th– 18th Century)

Glossary

Bibliography


Excerpt
  • The next relief depicts the love story of Shakuntala (Fig. 1.54). A king on deer hunt in forest has dismounted from horse. A groom is attending the horse while three attendants are behind king. One is carrying a pot of water tied to the back end of staff resting on his shoulder. Another is carrying possibly a spare sword and third is carrying Chamara and parasol. After dismounting the king is carved holding bow in stretched hand and drawing an arrow by other hand from...

  • The next relief depicts the love story of Shakuntala (Fig. 1.54). A king on deer hunt in forest has dismounted from horse. A groom is attending the horse while three attendants are behind king. One is carrying a pot of water tied to the back end of staff resting on his shoulder. Another is carrying possibly a spare sword and third is carrying Chamara and parasol. After dismounting the king is carved holding bow in stretched hand and drawing an arrow by other hand from pouch on his back. A herd of deer is running in front looking back with turned heads at the king. Next the king is shown standing in front of a tree with bow drawn near his body in his right folded hand. A run away deer is standing under the tree. A supple curvaceous lovely maiden is sitting perched on fork of the tree with her arm extended in the gesture of imploring the hunter not to shoot the deer. She appears agitated and sliding from the tree ready to jump in front of the deer. This was the first meeting of Shakuntala with her lover Dushyanta. Kalidasa (ca. 400 CE) the Indian poet, made the rest of the love story renowned. Possibly this is the best carving of a romantic theme....

  • The Sakas, a branch of the Scythians living in the area adjacent to the Black Sea, entered portions of modern Afghanistan and Pakistan in 135 BCE and extended their rule slowly to large parts of Bactria in Afghanistan and to Mathura. During this period the area called Gandhara or Bactro-Gandhara was split into small states. A statue of Buddha carved in the first century CE was discovered in the Swat Valley of Pakistan with Buddha sitting crosslegged (Vijraparyankasana) and holding his hand in the abhaya mudra, introducing the yoga posture in Buddhist sculpture. Bodhisattvas were also carved. The Kusanas living in northwestern China entered Bactria in about 135 CE and extended their control over much of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh and the Indus River Valley in north India. The Kusanas excavated many stupas but only a few have survived. During this period Mathura became a major Buddhist art center. In addition to carvings of Buddha and Bodhisattvas statues,...
  • The Great Stupa at Sanchi (250 BCE–11th Century) Sanchi boasts a Buddhist monastery that has been in existence for more than 2300 years, since the golden age of early Indian art. A small village located at the foot of a 91 m (278 ft.) high hill in Madhya Pradesh, central India, Sanchi is accessible via railway but the roads are deplorable and it has the worst possible public bus transportation system of all major cities in the area except Bhopal. The government-run lodge is the only decent place to stay. There is a road up to the stupa complex on the top of the hill. UNESCO declared the reliquary mound, the Great Stupa and associated structures World Heritage Monuments in 1989. The historical Buddha was the son of a Sakyas tribal chief in Nepal in the Himalayan foothills. He was born in 563 BCE at Lumbini, now in Nepal. After ten years of meditation, at the age of thirty-five he achieved enlightenment near Bodh Gaya in the kingdom of Magadha, the present-day Bihar, south of the River Ganges. He died in 483 BCE at the age of 80 years in Kusinara, a small hill town in Uttar Pradesh. The most powerful supporter of Buddha during his lifetime was King Bimbisara of Magadha. In its early phase Buddhism faced stiff competition with Jainism and patron kings of Buddhism were replaced by Jain dynasties. About two centuries after the death of Buddha, by gradual expansion Magadha became the kingdom of Maurya, under the first great Indian Imperial dynasty, governing all India except the southern tip. The third emperor of the Maurya dynasty, Ashoka, became a Buddhist. With the imperial patronage of Ashoka, Buddhism became a force to reckon with (from the third century BCE). Early in the first millennium Buddhism spread to Central Asia, and China and influenced religious thought in the Middle East. Many authorities believe that Buddhism directly or indirectly influenced Christianity.
    In the fourth century CE the Gupta, the second great empire of North India, came to power. The Guptas were Hindus and Buddhism slowly started to lose political and social influence in Indian society and by eighth century Buddhism lost most influence and was isolated in western India. By the eleventh century it started merging with body of Hinduism. In the twelfth century the destruction of Buddhist monasteries and libraries in Bengal and Bihar and the expulsion of Buddhist by Muslims drove Buddhism to foreign lands. Buddhism is based on psychological, not metaphysical or theological, foundations. It is a philosophical doctrine difficult for the common mind to understand. During 100-200 CE, the Mahayana sect branched off from the main body. Very early Buddhism absorbed the gods of the Hindu pantheon but their functions were different. Indra (Sakra) is still the king of gods. Yama, called Dharmaraja, presides over the hells. Kubera, called Jambhala, is Buddha’s bodyguard. Surya assumed the role of providing light and warmth. The goddesses of the Buddhist pantheon are reminiscent of Siva Shakti. The most revered goddess is Tara...
  • Fig. 2.164. Ellora. Kailas Cave 16. Durga fighting buffalo demon. Ca. 750-800. Basalt.
    The rear of the front entrance gate wall as seen from courtyard is carved with an eight-armed Durga riding a lion and shooting arrows at the demon (Fig. 2.164). Her graceful and delicate body is more beautiful than the body of Durga carved in Mamalapurum. Riding her fierce lion amidst fallen demons she looks majestic, fearless, dashing and all-powerful. The brute demon with human body and buffalo horns is standing close to her, in front. She is aiming an arrow at the heart of the demon. The lion also appears attacking the demon. The gods above are watching the combat. The next series of panels depicts Krishna lifting mount Govardhana, Vishnu and Lakshmi followed by Lakshmi. Kama (Cupid) holding a sugarcane like a flag stands with his consort Rati, followed by Vishnu flying on Garuda (Fig. 2.165).



Pages 310
Year: 2007
LC Classification: NA6001.J28
Dewey code: 709.54--dc22
BISAC: SOC003000
BISAC: HIS017000
BISAC: TRV003040
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-482-2
Price: USD 45.00
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-483-9
Price: USD 75.00
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