misunderstanding Pre Islamic Indian architecture as ''Hindu Temple'' architecture

Mar 2019
when ever i read the debates of european scholars on pre Islamic and post Islamic Indian architecture, the theme which dominates the debate is that, the Indian architecture somehow resembled Hindu temples, the debate which i just dont understand. There is also some ''default factor'', so by default it is assumed that indian architecture relied on post and lintel system, indians weren't capable of making true vaults and domes, they didn't understand the principles of true arches and probably they didn't even understand the concept of decorative arts other than statuary arts, they didn't use geometry in their architecture, all the indian floral motifs are either chinese influenced or persian influenced.

SO in short, if there is any geometric design, there are any floral motifs in indian architecture like the taj mahal, if there are any true arches, true domes, and if there is any common element with the central asian architecture, its by default declared as Persian influence.

Is there are way this eurocentric debate can be over turned? is there any non hindu temple architecture which can be used as a debate, the fort of jaisalmir is older than islamic invasion for instance, and it has many characteristics which can be argued as ''post islamic alterations'' so one cannot even debate the pre islamic architecture simply because they will be argued as later additions? I think post and lintel system also occurs at step well architecture which are also cluttered with hindu temple designs, there are palatial remains of rajput architecture but all these are post islamic and hence cannot be verified as pure pre islamic indian architecture.

hardly any brick indian architecture from pre islamic era survived, the reconstruction of nalanda is all done based on presumption that indians never used vaulting and hence all the entrances are reconstructed with post and lintel system. i saw few pictures of odantapuri monastery which had arched doors and what seemed like remains of a dome but sooner learnt an islamic tomb was constructed on the site, so even odantapuri ruins cannot be tallied with the pre islamic indian architecture elements.

interestingly, i have found that a strong debate can be made using nepalese, ahom, burmese, srilankan architecture but even in the case of nepalese, it is suggested that it got influenced by islamic designs as is the case of ahom architecture even though both of them never became islamic territories, is there any relief depiction of what pre islamic indian architecture looked like just before islamic invasion just like shunga and sanchi reliefs?

In the case of burmese it is suggested that somehow burmese learnt the vaulting and pointed arched vaulting themselves as well, so thats just the irony that one cannot even debate based on indian influenced architecture what it looked like, so i do really smell a huge ''default factor'' in play when defining indian architecture.

  1. hindu temples are considered as default a pre islamic indian architecture
  2. very few remains of brick architecture from pre islamic india
  3. what ever remains of pre islamic era can be debated as later additions and changes adhering to islamic influence
  4. lack of relief carvings from pre islamic era
  5. default factor of indians not knowing vaults, arches, domes and only relied on post and lintel
  6. geometry, floral motifs, ground planning all islamic influenced by default.
  7. Burmese, nepalese, ahom architecture cannot be used as an excuse by default getting influenced in post islamic era or chinese influence or one's own ingenuity.

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