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Indian Architecture of Golden Age

Examples of Indian palace architecture in the Gupta period have not survived. On the strength of contemporary painting, however, it could be said that the Gupta palace consisted of one or two stories and was provided with pillared halls with a flat or pointed roof decorated with paintings and reliefs. it was also provided with a concert hall and a picture gallery. 

After the Guptas, in the early mediaeval times, substantial contribution was made to  Indian architecture by the Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas and Pallavas in the Deccan and the Palas in Northern India. The famous Buddhist University of Nalanda was at its zenith in the 7th century A.D. This University was surrounded by brick walls and a gate opened into the great hall of the college from which the other halls stood apart. There was an observatory used for planetary observations. The outer courts contained priests' chambers in four stages, each stage separated by carved and ornamented pillars. 

Examples of the early Chalukyan architecture datable between 550 and 746 A.D. may be studied from the famous temples at Aihole, Pattadakal and Badami. The great Virupaksha temple of Siva (c. 740 A.D.) at Pattadakal was built by one Gunda who received the title of the "Master Architect in the Three Worlds." The Vaishnava cave temple at Badami is distinguished for its admirable reliefs and the pillars of the verandah are decorated with magnificent carvings of figures.

Among the famous monuments or temples raised by the Rashtrakutas may be mentioned the great Kailasa temple built at Ellora by Krishna II (757-783 A.D.). It is decorated with the finest sculptural composition known in India. To the same period may be dated the Siva shrine of Elephanta in the neighborhood of Bombay, which is not so much distinguished for its architecture as for its beautiful sculptures which include the famous Trimurti Siva. 

The Pallavas were a great power in the South and on the east coast between 400 and 750 A.D. A passing reference may be made here to the five rathas at Mahabalipuram, all monoliths datable to the first half of the 7th century A.D. The characteristic details of this architecture include a capital, plain or horizontally fluted brackets, roll cornice with Chaitya window niches and makara torana lintels. The divine and human figures have been most beautifully represented. Another Pallava temple known as the Kailasanatha temple at Kanchi, datable to the 8th century A.D., is a pyramidal tower with a flat-pillared mandapa in front surrounded by continuous series of cells. 


See Also:


5000 Years of Indian Architecture5000 Years of Indian Architecture | Pictures
Introduction and Ancient Architecture | During Golden Age
Medieval Architecture | Islamic and Indo-sarasenic | Modern

Source: 5000 Years of Indian Architecture, The Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 1951, New Delhi.

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