• 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Temples: History, Architecture & Distribution - 2
In pictures: Sirpur, Chattisgarh, a land of temples and monasteries

Indian palace in Cairo


[Image: Reverse_side_baron_palace.jpg]
The State of Ellora

When you finish the last leg of journey after the Daulatabad fort, you don’t realize that you’ve actually arrived at the site of Ellora caves. Parking is chaotic. The parking lot is untarred, uneven, and the ground beneath your feet/car is dented and potholed. And it suffers from the same, permanent illness that most pathetically-maintained historical sites suffer. The government staff who gives the parking ticket is in cahoots with auto drivers, “tourist guides,” and assorted wheeler-dealers. As he tears the ticket, he’ll “suggest” some “recommended” tourist guides and “knowledgeable” auto drivers who’ll size you up first and quote rates accordingly.

As magnificient as the Kailasanath temple is, its upkeep and crowd management is thrown to the winds compared to Ajanta where only 20 (?) people are allowed in a cave at a time. As a result, you witness a sea of human chaos, hear an incredible cacophony of loud, jostling and rude people, and equally, witness people spitting at will inside the temple complex. A large ASI board stands perfunctorily outside the cave describing it and declaring it as a UNESCO heritage site but that’s it.

Given the 3-kilometre expanse of Ellora caves, we are shocked by the utter apathy–barely-tarred roads connecting each cave, no guides/guards, no signboards, and some stretches are almost gutter-like. Along a few stretches of these caves, I sensed an air of incredible desolation, an almost weeping plea to save them.

Exhibit 1:

[Image: ellorasad26.jpg]

Apart from the ticket-tearing guard at the entrance of the Kailasnath temple, none of the other caves have anybody to even look over them. Here’s an instance. Notice the superbly-done Nandi sculpture.

[Image: nandiellora1.jpg]

You can walk around and sit on the Nandi and consume liquor or indulge in any similar activity, not a soul will question you. You can stamp on it with your foot and get away with pretty much any desecration your mind comes up with. This is largely true for most of Ellora except perhaps Kailasanath. Which brings us to the rows upon rows of mutilated temples, sculptures, and idols. Here are two good examples.

[Image: copyofajanta_ellora5131.jpg]

[Image: copyofajanta_ellora5141.jpg]

These are the mother Goddesses, their heads, and limbs chopped off. A casual glimpse at history tell us that Aurangzeb,

In 1690 AD . ordered destruction of temples at Ellora, Trimbakeshwar, Narasinghpur, and Pandharpur.

Our benevolent government today is simply carrying forward Aurangzeb’s torch by a more effective method: neglect, and allowing it to decay. This story is repeated in the nearby Grishneshwar where you need to first pay a kind of obeisance to the mini-mosque that towers over the Shiva (Grishneshwar is one of the names of Lord Shiva) temple.
Even to the untrained eye, this comparison reveals an obvious truth.

See this first and observe the areas right at the bottom of the picture.

[Image: img_0542.jpg]

Now see this.

[Image: img_0540.jpg]

The items I pointed to in the first image clearly shows a chakra/wheel and the other a shankha/conch, both part of the Sanatana Dharma milieu. The second image shows a mosque. The chakra and shankha are located near the base of the mosque. Additionally, the overall architectural style clearly shows that apart from the standard dome, pretty much most of this mosque resembles more a Hindu structure than an Islamic one. I leave it to your intelligence to figure what happened.

And this is a wholly insignificant mosque is but another clear revelation of the character of Nehru’s court historians.

Concluding Notes

At the end of this rather tedious exercise, some conclusions are inescapable. The reason for the stellar maintenance of Ajanta caves owes a lot to the Buddhist lobby, whose power is perhaps not known widely enough. A good pointer is the way Sanchi is preserved–actually a hundredfold better than Ajanta. Check this news item from last year to know the extent of mischief whose result, needless to say, will further weaken Hindus. Additionally, the so-called revival of the Nalanda university under the aegis of Dr. Expert-on-Everything Amartya Sen is purely a political gambit in the name of Buddhism. And yet, none of these worthies talk about the industrial scale extermination of Buddhists at the hands of Islamic butchers, the same yardstick they apply in whitewashing Islamic destruction of Hindu temples.

This one-upmanship game is one of the chief reasons why Hindu monuments continue to languish this horribly. The other reason though is the near-complete deracination of Hindus. As I mentioned in the opening part, Ellora is simply another drop in the sea of similar monuments across the country. Take any state, city, town and village: the two magnificient Hoysala temples in Nagalapura village (in Karnataka) are orphaned but for a moronic ASI signboard. The state of most of the grand temples in Tamil Nadu evokes tears of blood.

Modern day Hindus throng a street-corner Sai Baba or Ganesh or Hanuman temple than give a few minutes thought to revive active worship/pooja in places like the Kailasanath temple.
That one change will automatically ensure simple things–like preventing people from wearing footwear when they enter the Kailasanath temple–no law or security guard will be necessary then. The other area where urgent change is necessary is the braindead policy of our government, which treats these monument-temples as tourist places not dissimilar to a zoo or aquarium or museum or art gallery. But the reason all these won’t happen in a hurry brings us back to the same square: lack of a unified Hindu political voice, which in turn is because Hindus are terribly splintered, which in turn, is because we’re deracinated….you get the drift.

Kalahasti Temple gopuram collapses:

Quote:Hyderabad, May 27: The 'Rajagopuram' or the towering entrance to the ancient Srikalahasti temple in Chittoor district collapsed Wednesday night, police said. No one was injured.

The temple's 136-feet-tall Rajagopuram, which had developed cracks recently, caved in. Police said there was no loss of human life as all shops located near the structure had already been shifted. However, over 100 monkeys are feared dead in the incident.

A large number of devotees gathered near the collapsed structure and expressed their anguish over the negligence by the authorities in protecting the Rajagopuram constructed in 1516 by Srikrishna Devaraya, the ruler of Vijayanagara empire.

On Tuesday, engineers, after an inspection of the seven-storeyed structure, had declared the 150-metre area around it as a danger zone. All shops in the area were then shifted.

Chief Minister K. Rosaiah expressed shock over the incident and asked the endowment department to take steps to rebuild the Rajagopuram.

Srikalahasti temple is one among the most visited temples in Andhra Pradesh, and it is considered almost a must visit for anyone who visits the famed Tirupati temple.

Shame on us Hindus for allowing this to happen. No point in blaming the government, we know how GoI works. GoI just cares for the money the temples generate. Hopefully, this opens the eyes of more Hindus and they actively adopt temples in every nook and corner.

Added: My theory is that Tirupathi temple attracts lot of pilgrims and consequentially money. The popular it gets, more people throng; and slowly other temples and pilgrimage centers dwindle in importance. Temples need to be patronized by devotees and well-wishers. There is no other way, there are no longer Kings and Emperors to take care of the temples, we Hindus have to do it. Whatever we are doing seems to be not sufficient.
[quote name='ramana' date='26 May 2010 - 06:53 PM' timestamp='1274924706' post='106593']

Kalahasti Temple gopuram collapses:


Tall temple tower in this picture is what collapsed

[Image: Sri-kalahasti-town.jpg]

Actual temple is adjacent to hill which is not visible in the above picture

[Image: Srikalahasti_temple.jpg]

Final the ruins after standing tall for 500 years

[Image: 28th_new_gopuram_jp_119343f.jpg]

[Image: kalakasithi.jpg]

Seeing the ruins, reminds me of this song. Apt for Srikrishna Devaraya statue before the ruins in the pictures

[quote name='Swamy G' date='27 May 2010 - 05:07 AM' timestamp='1274961570' post='106594']


Shame on us Hindus for allowing this to happen. No point in blaming the government, we know how GoI works. GoI just cares for the money the temples generate. Hopefully, this opens the eyes of more Hindus and they actively adopt temples in every nook and corner.

Added: My theory is that Tirupathi temple attracts lot of pilgrims and consequentially money. The popular it gets, more people throng; and slowly other temples and pilgrimage centers dwindle in importance. Temples need to be patronized by devotees and well-wishers. There is no other way, there are no longer Kings and Emperors to take care of the temples, we Hindus have to do it. Whatever we are doing seems to be not sufficient.


Until temples are taken out of government control, Hindus and Hindus temples will suffer.

This temple gets 20-40 crores a year. Money is not problem if properly used. It is sheer negligence by Devadaya shaka (temple ministry) and its political appointees to this temple administration.

Till independence, local kings (Velama Doras) (loyal to Rayas even after collapse of Vijayanagara) were patronizing temples in this area. After government took over we have slow death.

Hindus shamelessly donate in Hundis, government appointees to temples and government eat that money except doing some nominal work.
the technical cause is the accumulation of water in bricks?
NO. This is terrible news. It's one of my Panchabhutams.

I agree with Shyam's #67. It is due to christo govt's deliberate, calculated negligence (passed off as "secular misfortune" <- the deniability is possible because of christoism's secular cloak, just like christianism can play innocent in the calculated destruction 'dredging' of Ramarsethu for what are made to appear as 'secular' reasons to the sleeping public).

If Hindu Temples were left to Hindus, Hindus would have preserved it. Hindus love their Gods and therefore love their Temples. It is why they always donate so happily to their Temples:

a) for the upkeep of the sacred sites where my Gods dwell, so we can visit it in the same state and it is preserved for future generations of Hindus

b ) for maintaining the direct families and continuity of those who carefully, properly and happily perform the traditional rites to the Gods. So that Temple priests may continue to perform this service for us lay Hindus. (The Temple priests' lives are dedicated to doing this specialised task - and doing so with the right frame of mind - and we don't have to do it but benefit from their performing the correct and necessary rites to the Gods of each Temple),

c) for Temples' maintaining large numbers of poor Hindu families of all communities who are nourished and whose lives are supported by Hindu Temples. It is Hindu religion's inbuilt mechanism of - what's that Hellenistic word that Julian is so fond of - philanthropia. Yes, Hindus' philanthropia towards other, less well-to-do Hindus: donate money to Temples who have always looked after our larger Hindu community.

Kalahasteeshwarar + Gnyaana Prasunaambika ... The beautiful home built for my wonderful Father and Mother where they dwell for their Hindus... Built on the sacred site where IIRC once a devoted Hindu offered his touching even if inexpert puja to Shiva that moved Bhagavan so.

How I wish Julian were still alive and would choose to swing the bat for the Hindu Religion too, in fellow-feeling/understanding. Sigh. Nothing for it then, but to keep hoping I don't outlive the continuation of traditional Hindu Dharma in Bharatam (with which I don't mean modern Indian cults nor other established Indic/Dharmic religions).
For interested folks there is R.E.A.C.H in TN that revives and cleans temples.

HAF reacts with shock:

Quote:Tour of Madhya Bharath Part 2

Dhar, Bagh, Maheshwar, Omkareshwar

After Ujjian, the next day’s plan was Dhar, Bagh caves and Maheshwar. We started early the next morning, had powa and jalebi and headed first to Dhar- Dhara nagara. Raja Bhoja, the legendary Paramara king of the 11th century had made Dhara the capital of Malwa. Bhoja was an extraordinary genius – a great scholar, a poet, a polymath, a philosopher and a warrior all rolled in one. His extensive writings- 83 in number, cover philosophy, poetry, medicine, astronomy, ship building, civil engineering, yoga and even medical sciences. Each of his titles became a title for his books. The Somanath temple was rebuilt by him after it was ransacked by Ghazni. It was perhaps only Bhoja that Ghazni feared. That, we were in the same Raja Bhoja’s Dhara nagara filled us with a high sense of pride and anticipation. But, Dhar was a telling blow to our Hindu sensitivities. The Saraswathi mandira of Bhoja raja is now a mosque. The temple has been reduced to a bare fallen quadrangle. The pilloried pillared corridors of an erstwhile grand temple stand in mute testimony to the brutal vandalism.

Not a single human figure remains. For, namaz cannot be offered amidst human idols. It is considered sacrilege. Friday is reserved for namaz. Hindus are denied entry on Fridays during namaz. The very entrance to the once grand temple is blemished by an abhorring eyesore- a dargah. The instruction board outside warns the Hindus not to carry any articles of worship into the ‘temple’ except ‘two’ flowers and less than a handful of rice! Not surprising, there is no advice for non-Hindus at all! The Saraswathi idol itself is now a cherished exhibit at the British Museum.

Dhar awakened in all of us a strong sense of revolt albeit for a short while. Paramaar, our driver who was a refreshingly hardcore Hindu, lifted our spirits with some stories of Hindu valour and spiritied retaliation in his home ‘town’ – a village near Indore. We were contemplating going to Mandu next. We learnt that the whole town is Islamized with forts, mosques and dargas littered on the ruins of Hindu temples. Rather, by ruining Hindu temples. We were no longer interested in Mandu. Dhar had assaulted our sensitivities enough.

Ganesh in the meanwhile had composed himself reading Raja Bhoja’s Champu Ramayana. He read out aloud a few especially poetic stanzas from the kishkindha kaanDa. “The light(n)ing had ceased. The orchestra of the thunder had ended. The cloud-curtain had been lifted. The lady (of the) monsoon thus departed..”...


Read the rest at the blog.
Quote:The parlous state of Hindu temples in India

Rajeev Srinivasan believes government has no business running temples into the ground

There was shocking news recently about the collapse of the raja-gopuram of the Sri Kalahasti temple near Tirupati. This is no ordinary temple – it hosts one of the five important Saivite jyotir-lingas, each associated with one of the elements (earth, wind, fire, air and ether). The gopuram was built by Krishnadeva Raya of Vijayanagar in 1516 CE, although the shrine itself is a millennium or two older. Most nations would treat such ancient monuments as a treasured part of its cultural heritage, but not India.

The 150-foot tower, a typical Southern-style vimana with intricate carvings, was damaged by lightning some years ago, yet absolutely nothing was done by the authorities. After the collapse, to add insult to injury, a report by a commission said the tower had “outlived its life”. Would this same logic apply to, say, the Taj Mahal – has that outlived its life? It is the business of the State to maintain its cultural heritage and artifacts. There are reports of similar damage to other temple towers, eg. at Srirangapatna near Mysore.

Then there was the news that the Kerala High Court lambasted the Travancore Devaswom Board for being corrupt and inefficient. The Court observed that Hindu temples are struggling“orphanages”, poorly maintained and falling apart; Hindus are orphans.

Furthermore, a Cochin Devaswom Board official got drunk and vomited within the temple precincts at the Siva temple at Vaikom, necessitating elaborate purification ceremonies. This is also no ordinary temple – a major Saivite shrine, it is also historically important. It was the Vaikom Satyagraha in 1924 that led the way to the dramatic Temple Entry Proclamation in Travancore in 1936. And the official’s ‘punishment’? He was promoted to Vigilance Officer!

All these events point to an abomination in the allegedly secular Indian State – there is no separation of Church (meaning religion) and State, as is the norm in modern nations. The State must be indifferent to religion, and it should not allow religious sentiments to color its actions — the true definition of the term ‘secularism’.

A Devaswom Board is an oxymoron. There should be no involvement of the State in religion, which should be left to individuals and religious groups. In fact, that is so with non-Hindu religions in India – they can run their own affairs with no interference from the government, except for largesse – such as Haj subsidies for Muslims, and Andhra’s own subsidies for Christians to travel to Palestine/Israel on pilgrimage.

On the other hand, Hindu temples are under the control of an interfering State, with disastrous results: they are being destroyed systematically by the rapine and pillage of the malign State. On the one hand, temple offerings are expropriated by the State; yet, the State does not even perform basic maintenance. The offerings, amounting to crores, from large shrines such as Tirupati or Sabarimala, are simply treated as general government revenue, and are not recycled to small, poor temples.

Traditionally, temples were the centers of the community, running cultural events, acting as a focal point for efforts such as water conservation, drought relief, famine avoidance, and so forth. This is in the racial memory of Hindus – and so we contribute whatever we can afford to the temple. The State has found it convenient to appropriate these funds. The pittance that a poor believer donates is grabbed and diverted by the Government!

The malice is obvious in Kerala where the State controls most of the temples through the Devaswom Boards, which, it is said, are infiltrated by atheists and anti-Hindus. It can be seen in the difference between Board temples and others. The latter, private temples belonging often a joint family, are thriving, while the Board-controlled temples are impoverished, falling apart, and finding their lands stolen.

I found this to my chagrin at my own family’s centuries-old temple, which we had handed over to the Travancore Devaswom Board about a hundred years ago. On my previous visit, about five years ago, the temple, while old, was thriving. Today, it is on the verge of being abandoned, thanks to indifference and possibly even malice on the part of the Board: an alleged renovation has been totally botched.

This is, amazingly, a continuation of a colonial-era crime – a British Resident named Munro, a missionary bigot, forced the Maharani of Travancore circa 1819 CE to commingle temple lands with government lands, with the result that a lot of those lands, essential to the income and running of temples, were alienated. Consequently, the 10,000+ temples in Travancore then have now been reduced to a mere 2,000.

Governments have no business interfering in religion. It is a crime against the people of India for the government to ruin these cultural treasures, a common heritage of this nation.

815 words, June 12, 2010

[url="http://www.telegraphindia.com//1100708/jsp/nation/story_12659218.jsp"]Jewellery ‘missing’ from Tirupati[/url]

Hyderabad, July 7: The Tirumala temple has got sucked into another controversy with a top official claiming jewellery donated by 16th century Vijayanagar king Krishnadevaraya is missing or not accounted for.

The revelation by I.Y.R. Krishna Rao, the executive officer of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), could ignite one of the worst scandals at the shrine, the richest in India whose assets are comparable only to the Vatican. Rao did not put a value on the Krishnadevaraya-donated jewellery as these were antique items.

Ironically, the disclosure comes three days after an Andhra government programme to mark 5 00 years of the coronation of Krishnadevaraya. President Pratibha Patil inaugurated the event in Hyderabad.

Two years ago, a priest of another TTD temple was accused of stealing the deity’s jewellery, prompting a wider probe headed by a judge, J.D. Wadha, who looked into the records and concluded that all was in order.

Rao did not describe the latest case as a theft. It is possible, he admitted, that some of the ornaments given by Krishnadevaraya had been converted into other daily-use jewellery for Lord Balaji, the presiding deity.

In 1933, when the temple was administered by private mahants (custodians) unlike the present arrangement where it is run by a board, some of Krishnadevaraya’s ornaments were melted and converted into daily-use jewellery, such as necklaces and bangles, adorning the Lord.

Some antique ornaments were also converted the same way in 1955.

The ornaments donated by Krishnadevaraya — who visited the Tirumala temple at least seven times between 1509 and 1530 — include a Navaratna sword, necklace, golden and diamond-studded shoulder plates.

The jewellery worn by the deity is worth Rs 50 crore. The total temple gold, including antique items, is put at 11.5 tonnes. At current prices of Rs 20,000 per 10 grams, the value of the ornaments is around Rs 75,000 crore.

But the latest scandal could cause greater damage to the TTD’s credibility as it has come barely two years after attempts to throw open the temple’s jewellery for public display were stonewalled by priests for security reasons.

The disclosure also comes after a top TTD official, referred to as Dollar Sheshadri because of allegations he was involved in irregularities in the upkeep of gold medals, was removed on court orders two months back.

In 2008, Andhra Pradesh High Court had ordered the temple prepare documents detailing the jewellery but, as the present case shows, the directive has hardly been enforced. Little seems to have also come of the state government’s move to set up a panel headed by a retired judge to suggest ways to account for and maintain antique jewellery.

The incident has already taken on a political colour. Praja Rajyam chief Chiranjeevi, the local MLA from Tirupati, said “it is shocking such a thing should happen during my term”. Telugu Desam Party president Chandrababu Naidu said the missing ornaments showed the poor state of affairs in the TTD. Most of the representatives on the TTD board are from the government.
[url="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?f=/g/a/2010/07/13/rath_yatra.DTL&o=&type=travel"]Rath Yatra Festival Pictures - 2010[/url]
(partly the same as in the history thread, medieval period)Some lost styles or schools of Indian architecture. This is based upon treatises like the SamarAngana SUtradhAra, AparAjitaprccha, Shilparatna, etc.

Indian architecture involves VAstu (architecture), Shilpa (sculpture and Chitra (painting). The Sthapati was not only an architect-mason, but also an engineer and townplanner. Around him were several guilds or Shrenis of other Sthapatis, SUtragrAhins, TakSHakas and Vardhakins.

VAstushAstra is more than only temple architecture. It involves:

1. city, town, village and fort architecture (suburbs were called ShAkhA-nagara, dealing with metropoli)

2. civil and public art and architecture (Veshma and SabhA)

3. palace art and architecture (RAjaveshma: rich and with royals had their NivAsa = residence and VilAsa = pleasure mansions)

4. temple art and architecture (PrAsAda)

And each had its distinct and overlapping and also regional styles. Where are those mansions, not only the varied temples, but also the palatial ones? How come that everything of the middle ages and later is Muslim or branded as such?

According to the VAstushAstras till around the rule of the Delhi Sultans, there were many schools and regional styles of architecture attached to different topics.

In temple architecture, we learn from the standard works that we have principally a Nagara, Dravida and a mixed style, called Vesara. But there were many more:

1. DrAviDa (Deccan and S.India)

2. Latina (or LATa)

3. VAvAta (or VArATa, Berar)

4. SAndhAra

5. BhUmija (BhUmihAra, Purab)

6. Mishra (mixed)

7. ValabhI (Gujarat)

8. Napumsaka

9. SimhAvalokana

10. DAruja

11. NAgara (N.Indian)

12. There is also a VairATa style (Alwar) of temple construction.

13. Besides some variants of specific VimAna schools

The principle styles of Palace architecture:

1. PAncAlI (Antarvedi area of Ganga-Yamuna doab)

2. MAgadhI (Bihar)

3. VAngI (Bengal)

4. KAlingI(Orissa)

5. ShaurasenI (areas of old Hindi, old Rajasthani, old Gujarati and Old Panjabi/Haryanvi)

6. DrAviDI (Deccan and south).

The word ShaurasenI especially here denotes that we are in an intermediate stage, from the older Apabhramshas period (second half 1st millennium C.E.) evolving in the middle Dingala periode (roughly till 12th-13th century) already gives regional variants evolving in initiatial stages of Old Panjabi, Old Hindi (Braja BhASHa), Old Rajasthani and old Gujarati. The classical Pingala period, roughly after this period, leads to the mature stages of the language of SuradAsa, TulasIdAsa etc.

The styles above give ample evidence of lost or ignored palace construction styles which must be looked for in the later invented styles of Pathan and Mughal architecture. Pathans (Fergusson actually takes up here the Delhi Sultans and their off shoots in the east, west and south) were conquerors, they lacked Sthapatis and chief masons, and with every kind of rebellious actions within their realms, there was hardly enough time for them consolidate their power outside Delhi and a thin surrounding area and thus to have stability and peace in governing the raided provinces.

Both temples and palaces (and mansions of wealthy people, merchants and nobility) could have overlapping styles. The PanchAyatana construction can be seen in Khajurahu, the palatial ones are Humayun's rauza and the Taj Mahal.

Mansions can have (n)one to many domes or Chhatris. In that case we have Ekaratna, Triratna and Pancaratna. Pancaratna was already recognized by Babur as a Hindustani style.

With reference to the dome styles, we have the following different styles:

1. Kaurava (Haryana)

2. PancAla (central doab)

3. Vaideha (N.Bihar)

3. MAgadha (S.Bihar),

4. Kaushala (E.UP)

5. KAlinga (Orissa)

6. KAshya (Banaras)

7. VArATa (Berar)

8. Kaulaka (?),

9. ShaNDila (close to Kannauj?)

10. Shaurasena (Rajasthan-Gujarat-Mathura-Agra)

11. GAndhAra NW)

12. Avantika (Malwa)

13. KAshmIra

14. GAngeya (Bengal?).

The domes, also called StUpI and smaller dommes are called stUpikA (derived from the stupa shape: semicircular), Other words for a dome are ShikhA and ANDa, it is especially the last which is a word for a bulbous shape.

A stupika is a small votive stupa. It is often accompanied by small votive tablets with Buddhist formulae, or small Buddhist images.[1] The stupika can also be the topmost part of a building, particularly a Hindu temple.^ Miksic, John N. (2003). Earthenware in Southeast Asia. NUS Press. pp. 289. ISBN 9789971692711. http://books.google.com/books?id=gxM0k5lGupAC&pg=PT289. Retrieved 2009-08-16.

^ Snodgrass, Adrian (1985). The Symbolism of the Stupa. SEAP Publications. pp. 263. ISBN 9780877277002. http://books.google.com/books?id=o0aQMlFX8ugC&pg=PA263. Retrieved 2009-08-16.

aNDakaM sArddha-bhAgena candrikArddha-padA smrtA |

AkAshalingaMkurvita dvi-padaM sumanoharaM || SamarAngNna-SUtradhAra 57-78
The "Ākāśaliṅga" Finial M. A. Dhaky

Artibus Asiae, Vol. 36, No. 4 (1974), pp. 307-315

As the main element the aNDaka (Amalaka or myrobalan), a bulbous cogged wheel shape.

CandrikA = padmapatrI or lotuscap

Bulbous variety or onionshaped variant of Amalaka/stupI is found in the TripuruShaprAsAda (representing the TrimUrti) the Lara Djanggarang complex in Prambanan, Java in Indonesia of Hindu temples (ca. mid 9th century)

Actually and Amalaka=Indian gooseberryt, emblic myrobalan has a bulbous shape. In the ancient texts it is called ANDa, which also has a bulbous shape.

MaNDapas were of different shapes, square(caturashra), round (vrttanta), but also octagonal (ashtashra), etc. The same shapes for supporting pillars, pillars/towers in walls (bhitt-stambhas) and monolithic pillars/towers (dhvajastambhas and mAnastambhas, DIpa- or dIpamAnastambhas).

Temples did have a monolithic tower/pillar, but the Digambaras already had their Samava-Sharanas with a Manastambha at each direction, giving four monolithic towers or pillars in front of the sacred Hall. Bauddha temples, especially in Gandhara before the Guptas may have had 4 monolithic towers topped with lions surrounding the Hall too, but then positioned like the Taj Mahal towers. At least their sculpture does show this in two miniature models. See: Gandhara, 2nd century CE, has 4 lion-crowned Stambhas surrounding the Stupa on a platform. http://upload.wikime...a2ndCentury.jpg

An stylistical miniature example: Model of a stupa (Buddhist shrine), ca. 4th century, Pakistan, ancient region of Gandhara, Bronze; H. 22 3/4 in. (57.8 cm), W. 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm). Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Donald J. Bruckmann, 1985 (1985.387ab) Source of description: Model of a stupa (Buddhist shrine) [Pakistan, ancient region of Gandhara] (1985.387ab) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Monolithic or Towers were a special feature of Bauddha, Jaina (especially the Manastambhas), Shaiva and Vaishnava temples: KIrtistambhas, Dhvajastambhas, DIpastambhas etc.

Minarets of Muslims have a very vague history. Actually Muslims made a difference bewteen a Manar = square Light House (kind of DIpastambha) and a place for the Muezzin, which could be from any high place, orginally from the roof of buildings. Round or Cylindrical towers were later applied from (east)Iran. Even Fergusson, but also Diez and many other scholars consider the round towers as adopted from Bauddha and Hindu from east-Iranian (especially Afghanistan) and Central-Asia.

A feature of a building containing 4 towers is actually copied by Timur from Delhi. He commissioned a mosque to be built in Samarkand based upon the one in Delhi. As he obviously lacked a Sthapati and chief masons within his groups of captured Indian artisans, and as the chief mason was a Muslim from outside India, his project produced a sorry result (compared to master pieces in India).

ShAstras like the MAnasAra clearly describe mansions with surrounding KarNa-harmyas or corner houselike towers. These towers in the corners are also called karNa-CUlikAs in the MAnaSara. These can be attached to the main mansion (temple or palace), but also detached, both giving a PancAyatana concept if it is a houselike tower. (Otherwise detached ones could technically be called KarNa-stambhas and can be the Manastambhas or KIrtistambhas or DIpastambhas).

Material used, could be wood, bricks and stones. Marble (sphatika = originally crystall quartz, but Monier-Williams gives prastaraa nd different kinds of prastara, pASHANa, shilA, upala for marble) was also known, at least the stonecutters and mines from Gujarat and Rajasthan were very famous. For construction two techniques were also used, which were Sudhashila (sudha = plaster) and Vajralepa (adamantine glue coating). When both were combined it was also called Vajralepa.

White radiance of temples through plaster was called SAttvika, red radiance was RAjasika and black was TAmasika. There was a white temple dedicated to Surya, according to the Mandasor inscription of 473 C.E. with the phrase "the temple resembling a mountain shines white", in line 16. (Indian Antiquary, vol. xv, p. 196)

The LakSHmaNa temple in Khajurahu was also white plastered 'like the peaks of the mountains of snow'. (inscription of 1011 C.E.)

The Garbhamana system of measuring divides the sacred plot or sanctum in nine divisions, called ASHTApAda or PAdASHTa.

garbhamAna-pramANena prAsAdaM shRNuta dvijAH |

vibhajya navadhA garbhaM madhye syAl-linga-pITHikA || (Matsya 269.15)

pAdASHTakaM tu ruciraM pArshvataH parikalpayet |

mAnena tena vistAro bhittInAM tu vidhIyate || (Matsya 269.16)

This Garbhamana method with the ASHTa-pAdas is the real origin at least from Gupta times of the much later word Hasht Bihisht (New Persian, post-Sasanian) used by modern writers for this concept in architecture, and wrongly ascribed by these to Persians and as a concept used by Mughals, but this last word Hasht Bihisht can be found nowhere in literature before Amir Khushro of India. And that too in a non-architecture use (denoting eight heavens).

Ashtapada in Garbhamana method, thus, denotes 8 Padas or squares surrounding a central one. Every Divine Pada has its own Vasu and VAstupuruSHa. All the 8 Padas represent 8x4 = 32 Devatas; the central 9th Heavenly Pada, the Brahmasthana is represented by the 33th Devata. That's why the Divine Ashta-pada of the Garbhamana method was rendered as the New Persian created word Hasht Bihisht. This Ashta-pada division was also known as Pitha-pada in the Vastushastras! This is clearly an Indian method and certainly not a Persian.

One MaNDapa using nine courts can be a the Ranga Mandapa or Ranga Mahal. Perhaps the ancient Palace of Vasantasena as described in the Mrcchakatikam with 8 great courts and a garden is also arranged as a grand ASHTapAda. But, I am not sure about this. Even though it is described in an ancient Sanskrit play, it must be based upon a real grand mansion complex of a wealthy person in Ujjain. An example of the old Malwa school of architecture.

Many types of laid-out gardens attached to mansions are described, collectively called KAnana. Famous are the Ujjayini gardens of the ancient Malwa school. Residential buildings or NivAsa bhavanas and pleasure pavilions or VilAsa bhavanas were placed in different types of KAnanas, with rows of different kinds of trees.

Many types of Yantras are described, especially the ones supplying waters being used for the gardens, fountains, etc.

City planning included different shapes, like square (caturashra), rectangular (Ayatana) like the Taj Mahal, round (vrttAnta), semicircular or bow-shaped (KArmuka, like an Arddha-Chandra) like the Agra Red Fort and Salimgarh above the Delhi Red Fort, etc.

According to one authority, a metropolis (Nagara) could have a capital city (RAjadhAnI), with a secondary city (PaTTana, actually predominantly a merchant's city) attached to it, all with their suburbas (ShAkha-Nagaras), including quarters for other merchants/traders, artisans, soldiers, etc.

As Agra seems to have another city on the eastern bank (based on the 16th century description of Pelsaert), jointly forming an ancient metropolis with the city on the western bank, it follows the description of the DroNa type of city of the ShAstras.

In short, Indian Vastu architecture is grossly misunderstood and described from a limited angle. And its value, coupled to indigenous and Rajput architecture and creativity before and during the Sultanate and Mughal period, is enormously underestimated, by giving its credits to the newly created and non-existent Pathan and Saracenic architecture (inventions of James Fergusson, a merchant having taken up a study on architecture) and overestimated Timurid and Mughal architecture, even though they have their own beauty. But if claims or credits for creation can discredited through primary sources, what then is Mughal architecture? The real credit in any way should be given rightly to Indian architects, masons, sculptors, carpenters, common labourers and their shastras and creative minds.
Quote:Millennial moment

TN to celebrate Brihadeeshwarar temple's 1,000 years

M R Venkatesh, Chennai, July 28, DHNS:

After months of dithering, the Tamil Nadu government has

eventually agreed to celebrate "in a fitting manner" the 1,000th

year of completion of the majestic "Brihadeeshwarar Temple" in

Thanjavur, popularly known as the "Big Temple."

Built by Chola king Rajaraja-I in 1,010 AD , the 216-foot temple

was declared as a World Heritage monument by the Unesco for its

"exceptional universal value as a cultural site."

Deccan Herald had first reported the state government turning

cold to the temple's millennium year celebrations in March this

year. The state was then reportedly busy preparing for the World

Classical Tamil Conference (WCTC) held in June at Coimbatore.

Announcing the government's intent to hold a grand festival to

mark the Big Temple's millennium at a rally in Thanjavur on

Tuesday night, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said he was offering

it not only as a tribute to the Chola king, but also as a "gift"

to the resilience of the people there.

A plan for improving Thanjavur's infrastructure was also on the

cards, he said.

Karunanidhi also disclosed that Tamil scholars from different

countries who participated in the WCTC had unanimously urged him

that, given the Big Temple's architectural marvel and its

yet-to-be-comprehended "engineering secrets," it would be only

proper for the state government to organise the millennium


Weeks before the WCTC, a rare treasure of 86 Chola period copper

plate inscriptions, dated to Rajaraja's grandson Rajadhi Rajan's

reign, had been unearthed in Nagapattinam district. The entire

inscriptional bunch was on display at the WCTC's cultural


The Tamil scholars, pointing to this coincidental archaeological

find, had cited the latest discovery as yet another reason for

"remembering the king's grandfather Rajaraja I and the temple he

built in its millennium year," Karunanidhi said.

Using the opportunity to strike a chord with Brahmins, who

revere Thanjavur as an ancient seat of culture, Karunanidhi

recalled how a "Brahmin-friend," Gopu,
had helped him win the

Assembly elections from the Thanjavur constituency in 1962. "I

am saying this only to drive home that the DMK is not against

Brahmins, but only against Brahminism," he added.

Karunanidhi has ordered the opening of the Mettur reservoir from

Wednesday evening, bowing to the sentiments of farmers and

people of the Cauvery delta districts to let water flow into the

river in view of the ensuing "Adi Perukku" festival on August 3.

Though the water level in the dam stood at 82.4 feet on

Wednesday against its full level of 120 feet, the monsoon

getting active in the Cauvery's catchment areas in Karnataka now

raised hope for releasing water from the reservoir for the

"Samba" (second crop) paddy in the delta, officials added.

Cauvery waters have not been released for the "Kuruvai" (first

crop) paddy this year.


Quote:Hindus, Muslims agree to have temple beside mazar in UP village

Lucknow, Sep 16 (PTI) Hindus and Muslims at Duswakalan village in Maharajganj district of Uttar Pradesh have set an example by amicably agreeing to construction of a temple and a mazar after statues of Lord Shiva and Nandi were recovered during renovation of the mazar.

The statues were recovered while digging a mazar of Malang Baba here, after which members of both Hindu and Muslim communities held a panchayat at the village, Additional Director General (Law and Order) Brijlal told reporers here today.

Taking note of the sentiments of both the sections, the panchyat decided unanimously that of the total land of mazar, a temple would be constructed on half and there would be mazar in the rest of the area, he said.

It means, mandir was demolished and Mazar was build.
Some question marks concerning the Qutb Minar (a first inquiry)

by Ishwa

General information

Based upon standard works: "This minaret made of red sandstone was built ca. 1193-1230 CE. It was designed on the pattern of Iranian minarets. (others say after the Jam Minar of Ghor)

The bottom storey was built by Aybak in 1199, the second, third and fourth were built by Iltutmish in 1286. After a lightning strike in 1368 Sultan Fīrūz Tughluq replaced the destroyed forth storey with two more. The height of the minaret is 72.59 metres."

Ancient three storeys

First storey: 24 petals, 12 semicircular and 12 triangular fluting.

Balcony with stalactite pendentives

Second storey: semicircular fluting.

Balcony with stalactive pendentives

Third storey: triangular fluting.

(the fourth and fifth storeys and top chhatri have been built by orders of Firuz Shah by Hindu masons in 1368)

The inner staircase: The first three have 360 steps.(the other additional two built by the Hindu masons of Firuz shah Tughluq with other material and techniques, have 19 steps giving a total of 379 steps leading to the top)

The number 360 may have a connection to the number 24 of the petals of the first storey and with the number 27 of the neighbouring temples.

Qutb Minar chronology

In order to get a good idea about the Qutb Minar authorhip, these three sources must be contemplated:

A. Inscriptions

B. Court writers

C. Architecture

A. Inscriptions

Some Nagari inscriptions

The characters of the inscription on the Iron Pillar are the same as those of the mason's marks on the pillars of the colonnade of the Great Mosque, but are quite different from those of the two modern Nagari inscriptions, which are close beside it.

On the Aibak date, an Archaeological Survey Report, vol. IV by Mr. Beglar, assistent to Cunningham says:

1. On the plinth, outside on the entrance door has the date “Samvat 1256” (1199 CE).

2. On the wall of the passage of the inside door to the left “Samvat 256”.

3. Under the lowest arch-stone “Samvat 12.6”

This gives a date of Samvat 1256 = 1199 CE, the same date which is inscribed in the qiblah of the mosque.

Another inscription has "alavadina vijayastambha"

During the Khiljis, the ancient name as Vijayastambha was remembered, but now attached to the name of Alauddin Khilji. This was certainly not a Tower of Victory in the eyes of the Mamluks, otherwise both the Mamluks and Alauddin Khilji would have retained that memory instead of inventing his.

Damage through lightning

In Samvat 1382 (1326 CE) the tower was damaged by lightning. As in 1300 there were three storeys with 360 steps, the top storey which was damaged must have been a kind of cupola.

In Samvat 1424 (1368 CE) it was repaired, perhap also after a second lightning. (The upper two storeys were (re)built with its 19 steps. Otherwise, the first 3 storeys have 360 steps. See Abul Fida's testimony of 1300.)

“A Sanskrit inscription on the famous Qutb Minar in Delhi, dated 1368, records an Indian architect's repair of the Tower for Sultan Firuz Shah. ... Sahni has translated the fourth and fifth line as “the restoration of the Minar was carried out in the palace or temple of Visvakarma.” Eternal garden, by Carl W. ernst, p.32.

Line 3: … in the year Samvat 1426 (1369 ce)

Masons describing this as a Jayastambha erected by Shri Suratrana Pherojashahi by the grace of Vishvakarma.

The Minar is mentioned as 'munAro' and the word 'jIrNoddhAra' is used. This word means 'restoring that which is decayed/old'. This word is a technical one from the Vastushastras, and is a branch of knowledge being part of the 'equipment' of the master masons of India. Hindus did know how to build, but also how to repair! (even if this included to do a job on orders of a Muslim ruler - see the jIrNoddhAra jobs done by Hindu masons in preexisting cities of Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Dhilli metropolis and Indrapata metropolis, including Shahjahanabad!)

Devata invocations

One reads, "Shri Vishvakarma-prasade rachita" = Conceived with the grace of Vishwakarma (Prasad 1990:3, 19, 34-35), engraved by the Hindu craftsmen who built the minar on behalf of their masters.

In inscription nos. I,14 and II,47,71 Hindu masons address their Deities Vishvakarma (God of Creation), Ganapati (Lord of the Gana)are praised, and Om Svasti is invoked. (an eight-line inscription in Nagari on the left of the fourth balcony)

Pirthi Nirap or King Prthvi(raja)

A slab with a Nagari inscription “Pirthi Nirap” or “the King Pirthi(raja)” was found on the minaret. On left-hand jamb of Main Entrance door, 9th course. Text. Translation. " The King Pirthi." (The reading is uncertain.) James alfred Page: An historical memoire on the Qutb, 1926, GOI Central publication branch. page 39. R. Balasubramaniam: The world heritage complex of the Qutub, 2005.

The dialect of Delhi of the mason is consistent in rendering the RkAra as -ir(a).

Says Pushpa Prasad of Aligarh Muslim University: Found on the jamb of the main entrance door in the ninth course of the Qutb Minar, this inscription is written in a local dialect in Nagari script. No date is given* The reading is uncertain and no impression has been published. Sanskrit inscription Delhi Sultanate 1191-1526, Oxford University Press, 1990.

Some prove this evidence away with these words: This slab must have come from an earlier structure. The construction of the mosque and the minaret both used stones from earlier Hindu and Jain structures. These claims do not have any basis either in the architecture or in contemporary historical accounts. Although extensive Hindu decorative styles were used in the motifs on the minaret, it architecture is Islamic.

But, the name of Prithviraja at the entrance causes much inconvenience. Some who accept the reading, wishes it away suggesting that it was inscribed on reused stone slabs from the demolished temples. But, masons do engrave names at the end of a project at obvious places. It would be too much of a coincidence, without any parallels. Besides, Qutbuddin did reuse material of the temples only for his mosque, as per his inscription. No such inscription exists with reference to the minar.

Some Arabic inscriptions

Ghurid overlords

Two inscriptions on the basement storey naming Muhammad bin Sam. (Gateway of mosque has also his name.) Also the name of Ghiyathuddin bin Sam is given.

Slave general

Qutbuddin Aibak is referred to as al-amir ul isfehsalar-ul ajall-uk kabir = the amir, the commander of the army, the glorious, the great.

This is in the first and lowermost band of the basement storey.


Inscription reading that the erection of this minar was ordered by shamsuddin Iltutmish.

Contradicting Inscription reading that “The completion of this edifice was ordered by the king, helped by the heavenly grace, the Sun of Truth and Religion, Iltutmish.”

B. Courtwriters

I. Mamluk courtwriters

1. Hasan Nizami, contemporary of Qutbuddin Aibak and Iyaltimish. He wrote his taj-ul ma'asir. Hasan Nizami, describing the years 1191-1217 doesn't devote a single word on the Qutb Minar, neither on its name. He mentions the mosque being built by Qutbuddin.

2. Ibn Asir, contemporary of the Ghorians. He wrote his Kamil-ut Tawarikh till the end of the Ghorians. No mention of the Qutb Minar

3. Alauddin Jawaini, contemporary. He wrote his Tarikh-i Jahan Kusha. Narrating upto 1257. Neither he mentions the Minar.

4. Minhaj-us Siraj, contemporary of Qutbuddin and Iyaltimish. He wrote the Tabaqat-i Nasiri. He doesn't mention the Minar or Qutbuddin attached to its building.

5. Nasiruddin Ufi, contemporary of Iyaltimish. He wrote the Jami-ul Hikayat wa Lawami-ul Riwayat. Nor he does refer to the Qutb Minar.

II. Khilji courtwriter

1. Amir Khushrau, court poet of Alaudin Khilji. He wrote the Tarikh-i Alai.

He says that Alauddin “then resolved to make a pair to the lofty Minar of the jami masjid, which minar was then the single (celebrated) one of the time, and to raise it so high that it could not be exceeded.” Here the name (or word) Qutb is not attached to the Minara.

III. Tughluq courtwriters

1. Barani, court historian of Muhammad Tughluq. He is silent about the minar.

2. Abul Fida, contemporary of the Tughluqs. His work is the Tarikh-ul mukhtasar fi akhbari'l bashar. Says in 1300 that “the mazanah of the Jama Masjid at Delhi as made of red stone and very lofty, with many sides and 360 steps.” This is with reference to the first three storeys.

3. Shams-i Siraj Afif, court historian of Firuz Shah Tughluq. Wrote the Tarikh-i Firuz shahi. He says in 1380, that “the large pillar in the Masjid-i Jama at Old Delhi” was built by Altamish.

4. Sultan Firuz Shah, he wrote the Futuhat-i Firuz Shahi. The Minara of Muizuddin Sam had been struck by lightning. I repaired it and raised it higher than it was before.

Based upon these testimonies, Qutbuddin Aibak is not the builder from scratch of the Qutb Minar. Ghiyathuddin and Muhammad bin Sam's names have been engraved when Qutbuddin was the slave and then his own name when Iyaltimish was the Sultan. (servants praising their Sultans)

Iyaltimish didn't build the fourth storey, otherwise this would contradict Abul Fida's testimony in 1300 before the damage of 1326. Which means that:

a. Before the lightning damage of 1300, the tower had three storeys and a top balcony.

b. Altamish didn't build storeys 2-3-4, as there was no 4th storey leading to a top balcony. The fourth was the top balcony. It was Firuz Shah who confessed that he repaired it and made it higher than before.

c. If Iyaltimish is connected with working at 3 storeys, he must have done the remodelling of the 1st storey too on behalf of his former master and father in law Qutbuddin Aibak.

C. Architecture

Hindu masons

"The influence of Hindu Rajput craftsmen is visible in the naturalistic motifs, the serpentine tendrils, and even the curves of the alphabets of Quranic inscriptions.", says the Encyclopaedia Brittannica. The repairings were also done by Hindu masons.

Hindu motives

A website has this information: "Although the Qutb Mīnār is an exclusively Islamic conception it was made by Hindus so the ornamentation arround the carved Koran-Verses is influenced by the hindu-style." http://www.bergerfou...y=Inde&col=pays

Look at the flowers moving through or beneath the Quranic verses.

Indian workmen incorporate looped bells and garlands and lotus borders into the carving. But, also witness the 2 x 12 petalled = totally a 24 petalled lotus model looking at the Minar shaft from above. Again a clear hint to a Hindu motive.

(taking 360 steps of the ancient storey inner staircase, with this 2x12=24 number and 27 demolished temples, this hints at some astronomical meanings)

Three levels of decorations

band 1. flowers and twigs in the band intertwined with Quranic verses

band 2. Look at the serpentine wave pattern (Makara?) and floral wave patterns below the Quranic verses

band 3. See also circular floral patterns

Entrance decorations


1.Decoration – Floral motives: three times triple leaves within circular serpentine

2.Flutings: band with floral motives, above a band with chain motives, above open 8petalflowers

Balcony decorations

balcony supports

"... but details such as the pendant lotus supports of the three circular balconies were in the regional idiom." , as per M. Hattstein and P. Delius: Islami: art and architecture. The stalactite pendentives with lotus motives, thus was a regional one.


- First balcony has disconnected four-petalled flowers and turrets have flowerbuds

- Second balcony has an eight-petalled flower decoration all around and turrets have flowerbuds

- Third balcony has four-petalled flowers and turrets with flowerbuds

6.Fourth balcony has eightstarshaped and turrets with flowerbuds

All point to a surprising conclusion that the masons who worked on the minar, but also on the Quranic inscriptions were Hindus, otherwise Muslim masons would have tried to destroy the original organic iconography.

Note also that the balcony support (pendant lotus supports) is classified as belonging to the regional idiom = Indian by Hattstein and Delius. And that while researches want to see these stalactite pendentives as an imported Persian product. Lotuses don't have any meaning to Persians or Muslims.

Dislodged stone slabs with Hindu deities

One day in August, 1986, The Times of India printed on its front page the photographs of two stones carrying defaced carvings of some Hindu deities. There was a short statement beneath the photographs that the stones had been found by the Archaeological Survey of India in course of repairs to the Qutb Mînãr at Delhi. The stones, according to the Survey, had been built into a wall with the carved faces turned inwards. But the daily had dropped this part of the news.

Some correspondence cropped up in the letters-to-the-editor column of the newspaper. The majority of writers congratulated the editor for breaking a conspiracy of silence regarding publication of a certain type of historical facts in the mass media. A few writers regretted that a news item like that should have been published in a prestigious daily in an atmosphere of growing communal tension. None of the writers raised the question or speculated as to how those stones happened to be there. From: Hindu Temples, what happened to them by Sitaram Goel, vol. II chapter 4.

For a photo of a slab, see Stephen Knapp's site:


Stones dislodged from more constructions in Delhi having Hindu images on one side with Arabic lettering on the other can also be seen in Sultan Ghari, the so-called burial of a son of Iyaltimish. For a photo, see also stephen Knapp's site: http://www.stephen-knapp.com/sultan_ghar...enteen.htm

These examples clearly show that Muslim invaders gave orders to their Hindu masons to remove the stone-dressing of Hindu buildings, turn the stones inside out to hide the image facial and inscribe Arabic lettering on the new frontage.

what do these anomalies tell us?

Remember we are in the 12th century, the Qutb Minar is said to have been a new Muslim building from scratch. Which simply means, that despite its Hindu masons, their Muslim overlords were not that blind to allow organic iconic Hindu motives, which were a violation to their religion. Especially not as this was a tower of victory over the kafirs on their very sacred ground.

We see the same serpentine and floral motives in the Quwwat mosque! This points to the Minar and mosque to be of the same pre-Muslim period and architects. The fact that Muslim monuments (of this period) allow clear Hindu motives all point to a new use of preexisting structures adapted to new rulers, though militarily in power, but lacking in time, peace and artisans, masons, sculptors and of course architects. The most simple road for the Muslims was simply capturing Hindu masons and taking them to their realms. That is exactly what Timur also did in 1398.

Thus, these serpentine (Makara?) and floral (lotus) motives are a strong indication of the tower being usurped from a previous period and ruler who was a Hindu. The job done by the Sultans was:

a. remodelling the Hindu iconography in such a way that it was not too disturbing for the Muslims

b. adding quranic verses in order to give it a Muslim stamp

c. stressing overall the submission of Hindu symbolism to Muslim supremacy within former Hindu sacred ground


Muhammad bin Sam's name had been inscribed twice, mot probably by Qutbuddin's order. Qutbuddin's function names were also inscribed, as a general. But nowhere is he connected with its construction neither in inscription nor in literature.

All the sources of the mamluk period and Khilji period are silent about the authorship, but certainly do not connect either Qutbuddin or Iyaltimish with the construction from scratch.

In 1199 Qutbuddin must perhaps have ended the project of removing icons of the previous ruler both from the mosque and the minar. His successor Iyaltimish must have started with the Quranic texts on the first floor and finished till the third. The Tower may have been tried to function as mazanah around 1300, as the tower had only three storeys. But thiss practice never came in vogue later.

Then a few decades later the tower was damaged by lightning. Probably the cupola was destroyed.

In 1368 Hindu masons, on behalf of Firuz Shah Tughluq built (after another lightning?) two more storeys.

This was not in the same style. These storeys also has inscriptions.

The serpentine and floral (lotus) iconography and that too in the quranic texts points to the tower being remodelled like the adjacent mosque, thus both being constructions before the Muslims. The tower was remodelled through Quranic inscriptions initially into a mazanah, later during the Tughluq regaining its older name of Vijaya Stambha, but now for the mamluks.

A Minar built from scratch on the very sacred soil of the hated last Hindu ruler could never have included Hindu symbols or organic iconography. Like the mosque, this points to a pre-existence of the Tower, having been remodelled ornamentally just like adjacent temple structure into a new Muslim symbol. The early Mamluks didn't have the time, tools or personnel to execute such a grand project of remodelling, let alone to build anything from scratch. Remember that the Mamluks face a constant thread from Hindu rebels and also repeated invasions of Mongols, which caused the Sultans to constantly shift their vulnerable royal seats. (vulnerable, because as rulers you need the support of the majority Hindu citizens)

The Minar of Jam doesn't look like the complexer built Qutb Minar. That Minar is a monolithic tower built of bricks, without any nearby mosque. The same counts for the Ghazni towers, who also don't look like the Qutb Minar. The Ghazni towers must have been built by captured Hindu masons during Mahmud Ghaznavi. (Perhaps also the tower of Jam, more probably by masons of Bauddha Marga.) Ghazni was a former Hindu capital city of Bhatti Rajas, ancestors of the Jaisalmer Rajputs.

The name of Prithviraja is engraved at the entrance by a local Hindu mason (of his period). This may be wished away by some, but in the light of all other evidence, like floral and serpentine icons, even within the Quranic verses, only leads to the conclusion that the tower must have been at least from Prithviraja's time, perhaps ordered to have been built or repaired by him.

Hindu temples, Shaiva, Vaishnava, Jaina and Bauddha, etc. do have monolithic (or sometimes polylithic) Stambhas in front of their temples, forming part of the temple plan. Indian inspired Boud Khanas > But Khanas with their monolithic cylindrical Stambhas were scattered from the NW towards Afghanistan, Iran and Central-Asia. Cylindrical Towers forming a part of the temple complex are not met with farther west in early Muslim period as minaras or mazanahs.

Both the Qutb Minar as the doublesized Alai Minar base are in a neat central line within the outer court. In my opinion the mosque with the temple iron pillar and the outer court containing the two minars, formed integral part of the greater temple complex. The Turk disturbed the original sanctuary planning.

Qutbuddin conquered the city and sanctuary with the tower and had finished in 1199 the first remodelling of the icons and a few inscriptions. His successor Iyaltimish started and finished the Quranic inscriptions on this former Hindu symbol. The hatred for Prithviraja by the Turko-Afghans and the desecration of the sanctuary and tower in such a way that it became the symbol of power of the conquerors point to the direction of this conclusion of mine: the sanctuary and tower turned into mosque and minar were part of a special sacred spot of Prithviraja Chauhana. It may have been his Kula Devalaya housing the Murti of his Kula Devata
Babari structure, a new viewpoint

by Ishwa

Summary of the main findings by the ASI investigation may be stated as follows:

There is 'archeological evidence of a massive structure' below ground where the Babri mosque was destroyed in 1992.

The structure bears distinctive features associated with ancient temples of northern India.

There is evidence of building work there from as far as the 10th century.

Deducing this with the discovered 12th century inscription of king Nayachandra gives me the

following chronological development:

1. Pre-Sultanate Period (till 1192)

a. Ancient Temple: a 10th/11th century temple is beneath the demolished Babri Masjid, as per B.B. Lal.

b. this temple must have been demolished – the demolisher should be a Ghaznavid.

c. New Temple: Raja Nayachandra inscription 12th century. He built a new temple, as per B.B. Lal.

2. Sultanate Period (1192-1526)

1st possibility: perhaps this Nayachandra Temple was also demolished and then rebuilt

2nd possibility: or probably it was converted into a Muslim structure and then reused as temple

3rd possibility: or most probably it was retained as temple.

Anyway, this new structure must have been used by Hindus as a temple before Babar arrived there in 1528. There is no logic in converting or rebuilding a mosque on the same spot as a temple, if it was already used as a mosque.

3. Mughal Period (1528)

Babar demolished/damaged the temple and gave orders to Mir Baqi to 'build' a mosque, according to a Babari inscription. In Muslim jargon 'demolishing a temple and building a mosque on the same spot' can also mean that the temple was converted into a mosque, having destroyed the idols and organic icons, founded the Qiblah and ornamented the building with Muslim inscriptions.

As there is no structure found being built between the 10th/11th century Ancient Temple and the later demolished Babari Masjid, in my opinion the last structure is the New Temple built by king Nayachandra in the 12th century.

At least the style of architecture of the demolished Babari structure is pre-Mughal! Besides, it is impossible to construct the structure from scratch in one year (1528).

This all is in support of my opinion that the demolished structure was the New Temple.

Babar, thus, didn't demolish the temple completely, but desecrated and converted the functional temple, also known as Masjid-i Janamsthan for Janmasthana (ke) Mandira, into a non-functional Muslim structure, renamed as the (Mandira>) masjid (converted by=) of Babar: the Babari Masjid.

If correct, this has a far reaching consequence. Hindus didn't demolish a Muslim construction, but a desecrated former temple of their own, felt to be too offensively dishonoured was felt to be fit to get demolished and then getting rebuilt anew with a fresh, spotless start.

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)