Ancient Indian architecture, one of the greatest yet least appreciated?

cachibatches

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,351
I agree that there are many wonderful things in Inda, but, to answer your question:


1) Fair play on the Indus Valley civlization using fired bricks, but there is a distinct lack of monumental architecture in that civilization compared to Egypt or Mesopotamia. It is impressive to see the ruins for what they are, but there are not the pyramids, ziggurats, city walls, etc. that really knock people's socks off.

1) Rock cut cave temples are impressive, but not really "architecture" so much as engineering.

2) Carvings are impressive, but not really "architecture" per se.

3) Nalanda university is just barely "ancient" and not terribly impressive compared to various other historical wonders that had already existed for hundreds and even thousands of years.

4) There apparenly was some giant monumental architecture, but nothing extant from ancient India has impressive size. I have actually been looking into this myself when I came across claims of stupas of fantastical size in India and Sri Lanka, such as the Mahachaitya, Jethawaymara, Mirisawetiya Vihara, Abayagiriya, and Ruwanwelisaya. They have apparently all collapsed and been rebuilt on a smaller scale in modern times. There just isn't much there to capure imaginations in the same vein as the pyramids, Colosseum, Pantheon, etc.
 
Last edited:
Apr 2018
128
Karachi
I agree that there are many wonderful things in Inda, but, to answer your question:


1) Fair play on the Indus Valley civlization using fired bricks, but there is a distinct lack of monumental architecture in that civilization compared to Egypt or Mesopatamia. It is impressive to see the ruins for what they are, but there are not the pyramids, ziggurats, city walls, etc. that really knock people's socks off.

1) Rock cut cave temples are impressive, but not really "architecture" so much as engineering.

2) Carvings are impressive, but not really "architecture" per se.

3) Nalanda university is just barely "ancient" and not terribly impressive compared to various other historical wonders that had already existed for hundreds and even thousands of years.

4) There apparenly was some giant monumental architecture, but nothing extant from ancient India has impressive size. I have actually been looking into this myself when I came across claims of stupas of fantastical size in India and Sri Lanka, such as the Mahachaitya, Jethawaymara, Mirisawetiya Vihara, Abayagiriya, and Ruwanwelisaya. They have apparently all collapsed and been rebuilt on a smaller scale in modern times. There just isn't much there to capure imaginations in the same vein as the pyramids, Colosseum, Pantheon, etc.
1) ziggurat is reconstructed, i dont know why you dont find indus valley cities impressive, they got paved streets, baths, tanks, drain systems, toilets, they are dubbed as first planned cities in the world and the only surviving remains of bronze age cities

2) why rock cut temples not architecture?

3) nalanda is not impressive? how? do you know how big and vast nalanda complex is?

4) carvings are part of architecture

5) there are impressive stupas in india, like keseriya stupa at bihar and one i saw in andhra pradesh.
 
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cachibatches

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,351
Before I even address any of this, I am saying that I am out of this thread. I thought you were asking for opinions. You were asking a rhetorical question. Fair play. I don't mean disrespect your thread. I will answer this round and you get the last word.

1) ziggurat is reconstructed
i dont know why you dont find indus valley cities impressive, they got paved streets, drain systems, toilets, they are dubbed as first planned cities in the world and the only surviving remains of bronze age cities .
As I said, they are impressive for what they are, but the Indus Valley cities are known for their lack of MONUMENTAL architecture. Having toilets and being the first planned cities is interesting and important, but not awe-inspiring in the same sense as having 400-500 foot pyramids or an ancient stadium that could seat 50,000.

2) why rock cut temples not architecture?
Architecture is made by construction. Caves are made by subtraction. They are really more engineering. I don't intend to belabor the point. If you call then architecture, fine.

3) nalanda is not impressive? how? do you know how big and vast nalanda complex is?
Nalanda was made in the fifth century AD, and there were all kinds of sprawling cities by then. How tall were the builidings? It is modestly impressive.


4) carvings are part of architecture
Sure. Again, I am not going to argue the point.

5) there are impressive stupas in india, like keseriya stupa at bihar and one i saw in andhra pradesh.
keseriya stupa--104 feet and partially collapsed. The other I would think refers to the collpased Stupa I already mentioned.

Look, people are impressed by certain aspects of ancient architecture: height, durability, anitiquity, interior space, etc. In my humble opinion, India's ancient architecture is interesting, but it is not going to match Egypt, Rome, Greece, Mexico, or Central America.

Good luck to you. I am out. Just my opinion. You asked, I took the question literally, and attempted to answer. Apologies.
 
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Apr 2018
128
Karachi
Chaumukhnath trellis, possibly from the 5th century, with dancing and music-making Ganas and the river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna



Perforated stone window at Parvati Temple





 
Apr 2018
128
Karachi
Chandra Yakshini, relief from the Stupa of Bharhut, Buddhist monument, Madhya Pradesh, India 2nd century BC