It is a common misconception that Indians were not advanced in engineering and technology. They may not even know how to find out the value of it, the i.e. ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. From the study of different Sulbasutras (Katyayana, Apastamba, Manava, and Boudhayana), the value of it assumed at that time (BC 700 to BC 200) could be found out.
The existing Indian temples and `prasadas' are a thing of beauty and pride. Their studies, particularly of architecture and engineering aspects are noted in this book. There are mainly three styles of temple roofs: Nagara, Dravida and Orissan. Diparnava, Ksirarnava and Prasada Mandana deal with Nagara style of temples. Kasyapa-Silpa, Mayamata, Manasara describe Dravida style. Silpa Prakash and Bhuvan Pradipa deal with Orissan style of temples.
The chapters on Town Planning (Nagar Rachana Sastra), Irrigation Engineering, Water supply, Road Development, Ship Building give detailed information about the growth and development in each area starting from Post-Vedic period to Chandragupta Maurya's period.
Rajatarangini is a treatise written by the great poet Kalhana from the Kashmir valley. This treatise is written during the period AD 1089-1101. It could be understood from the facts and discussions as mentioned in this treatise that a great advance was made by Indians (Kashmiris) in House Construction and Town Planning.
The last four chapters give information on metals viz. Gold, Copper & its Alloys, Silver, and Iron. Rasaratna Samuccaya and Kautiliya Arthasastra give detailed information on the process of extraction of the metal from its ores.
He published more than eighty papers on engineering and other subjects in various journals. He was awarded two gold medals and a few prizes for some of his excellent papers.
Some papers were also published in the proceedings of foreign conferences. Dr Kulkarni was interested in the study of Indian Silpasastra. He translated a few treaties, written in Sanskrit, to Marathi and English, as part of his work. He wrote more than fifty papers on these subjects who were published in well-known journals and more than twelve books covering the subjects of Indian Silpasastra, Vedic Geometry, Indian Theatre, Chariots, etc. He was an ardent student of Indian Silpasastra, Indian Architecture, Shulbasutras, Sanskrit, Engineering, Technology, etc.
Sulbasutras is not a book of geometry and the information of geometry given in it, is limited as a utilitarian material for the accurate layout of vedis etc. It is, therefore, obvious that the sulbasutrakaras had given only the necessary formulae and statements of theorems and not the derivations or proof on them. The proofs and derivations as might have been arrived at by them is a conjectural part of this study which has been explained here in first three chapters.
Next six chapters describe the items required for building a house or a 'prasada'. These items are Soil, timber, stone, bricks and other building materials. The information collected in these chapters is from different treatise of Silpasastra.
Next five chapters describe different parts of the house or a `prasada'. These items are plinth (Upapithas & Adhisthanas), pillars, walls, doors, pavilions (mandapas). Pavilions are the most decorated part of the Indian Temples. These pavilions depending upon their function may be as small as having only 4 pillars as large as having 1000 pillars.
Temples are divided into 15 categories chiefly based on the variety and design of their roof. There are mainly 3 styles for temple roof: Nagara, Dravida & Orissan. Diparnava, Ksirarnava and Prasada Mandana deal with Nagara style of temples. Kasyapa-Silpa, Mayamata, Manasara describe Dravida style. Silpa Prakash and Bhuvan Pradipa deal with Orissan style of temples. Reference is also made to the contribution made by Thakkura Feru in his treatise Vastusara Prakaranam.
Gopura means Gateway of a fortified city as per Amarakosa. Temple cities of South India are encircled by rampart walls (prakaras). Generally Gopuras are located at the middle of the wall. Gopuras are tall multi-storeyed structures. Gopuras are classified mainly in two types based on their shape and decoration.
Vimana Prasada is a multi-storey structure, which is constructed as per South Indian style of architecture. Number of storeys in Vimana Prasada may vary from one to twelve and sometimes they are up to sixteen storeys. It may be noted that the height to width ratios are 1.4 and 1.476 ( I2=1.417) .There is not much difference between minimum and maximum height-width ratio.
Vastupadamandala are the small squares as arranged on chess board for invocation of gods. Vastupadamandala can be used as a plan of a structure. In Puranas such as Matysa purana, Agni purana etc. Vastu-padamandala of 64 -(8 x 8) and 81 houses are described. By medieval times, the 'lumber of the mandalas had increased to a large figure of 32 x 32.
The Indian students of architecture may know the name of Vitruviu;, the Roman architect, but may not know Bhuvana-devacarya . Aparajita Prccha is a treatise on Indian architecture written by Bhuvana-devacarya. It is written around 12th century AD. It mainly deals with different types of temple architecture. A chapter on classification of Prasada as per this treatise is introduced here.
The chapter on Town planning (Nagar Rachana Sastra) gives detailed information on development of towns starting from Post Vedic period, period of Panini (fifth century Bc), town planning in Pali and Ardhamagadhi literature up to medieval period. Kautiliya Arthasastra also gives a lot of information on Town planning. The chapter on Roads in India gives the detailed information on development of roads starting from Vedic period to Chandragupta Maurya's period.
The chapter on Irrigation Engineering in India describes about the Indian Practice of Irrigation. Earth as well as masonry dams were constructed in a very large numbers from 2nd century to 17th century. Many of these dams are still functioning even at present time. Buckley who has studied Indian irrigation system as existed before the advent of the British Government, states that there is no country where the art of constructing weirs has been so successfully practiced.
The chapter on Development of Water Supply System in India gives the information on different kinds of water sources like wells, tanks, lakes as given in different treatise of Silpasastra. Transport of water from its source to distant fields by means of channels was known to the people of the Rgvedic period.
The chapter on Indian ships gives a brief history of the development of the art of ship building in India from ancient to medieval period.
Rajatarangini is a treatise written by great poet Kalhana from Kashmir valley. This treatise is written during the period 1089-1101AD. It could be understood from the facts and discussion as mentioned in this treatise that a great advance was made by Indians (Kashmiris) in house cons-truction and town planning.
The last four chapters give information on metals viz. Gold, Copper and its alloys, Silver and Iron. Rasaratna Samuccaya and Kautilya Arthasastra give the detailed information on the process of extraction of the metal from its ores. The evidences are provided from archaeological excavations. These chapters describes on how India was developed in extraction of pure metals.
My father passed away in 2002. We have tried to bring out this book as a dedication to him. I am not at all an expert in these subjects. Any mistakes, incomplete information etc. on any aspect of these subjects may kindly be brought to my notice.We would make necessary corrections in the next edition.
My wife Manjiri pushed me very hard to see that the book gets published. My son Tanmay & daughter Kalyani also gave me strong moral support. My brother Yogesh also supported me by giving the required documents, manuscripts, photos etc. I would like to thank them for their continuous support. I would also like to thank Mr. Ashok Jain of Munshiram Monoharlal for giving all the support in publishing the book.
We hope that this book will create definite interest about Indian architecture for the novices and students. This book will also be helpful to the scholars and engineers who would like to know more about Indian Engineering and Technology from ancient to medieval period.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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