Architecture, Harappan, Mauryan, Shunga – Satavahana, Gupta Period, Cave Architecture

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  • Drainage system

  • Rectangular intersecting roads

  • Sanitary system

Image of Harappa

Image of Harappa


  • Monolithic Pillars

  • Finely carved capitols – Bull capitol and Sarnath capitol

  • Stupas start during this period – 4 gateways

  • Surface built with bricks

  • Viharas and Chaityas

  • Barabar Caves

Image of Maurya Empire

Image of Maurya Empire

Shunga – Satavahana

  • Early classic architecture

  • Carved railings and gateways around Buddhist shrines


  • Sculpture developed

  • The emperor himself was a divine authority

  • Buddha was first time given a human form during this time

Gupta Period

  • Beginning of Hindu temples – temple at Deoghar, Udayagiri caves in Orissa

  • Vaishnavite temple in Vidisha


  • Mandaps, Rathas and finely carved panels and pillars

  • Shore temple at Mahabs is a structural temple

  • Ratha temple is a rock cut temple

  • Kanchipuram also has temples

    • Panels depict shiva as Nataraja

    • History of Pallavas

Image of Pallavas

Image of Pallavas


  • Thanjavur Temple: 65 m tall vimana

  • Pillared halls and sculptures depicting Bharata’s natyashastra

  • Fine paintings


  • Built high outer walls and gopuram

  • Their gopurams can be seen from long distances


  • Belur and Halebid temples

  • Profusion of manifold pillars with rich and intricate carvings

  • Panels depict gods and goddesses

Orissa Templ

  • Lingaraj temple

  • 40 m high

  • Sun Temple

Image of Orissa Temples

Image of Orissa Temples

Nagara, Dravida and Vesara

Table 1

Table of Nagara, Dravida and Vesara
Table of Nagara, Dravida and Vesara




Temples called PRASADAM

Combination of Dravida and Nagara (Chalukyas).

Shikhara is curvilinear

Shikhara pyramidal

No role of pillar

Pillar important

No tank

Tank may be there

No enclosure

Enclosure and gopuram


Mahadeva Temple


Eg Some in Khajuraho, Sirpur etc

Cave Architecture

Progressed in three phases

  • Buddhist Jain Ajivikas caves (3rd BC to 2nd AD)

    • Kaneri, Nashik, Udayagiri

  • Ajanta Ellora Cave (5th to 7th AD)

  • Elephanta Ellora and Mahabs (7th to 10th)


Two major schools

  • Gandhara

    • Greco-Roman Style

    • North West India

    • Stone and stucco

  • Mathura

    • Indigenous style

    • UP, Bihar

    • White spotted red sandstone used

    • Forms of Brahmanical deities crystallised for the first time in this art form

Themes of Buddha and Bodhisattvas in Both

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