In transcribing the following paragraphs from the rough text in the Internet Archive online version, I have changed the formatting for easier reading, added images that appear in the original and also ones that come from other sources and I have omitted cross references to comparative material, such as examples from ancient Greece. — George P. Landow]

Hindu (or Brahmanical) Architecture varies in its three special styles. All three have the small shrine-cell and preceding porches, the same excessive carving and sculpture, which are impressive by this evident tribute of labour to the gods. The principal Brahmanical Temples, like those of Egypt, show progressive additions of sanctuaries and inclosures, grouped around or attached to the original shrine. Beyond this, the grandeur of their imposing mass produces an impression of majestic beauty. The effect depends almost wholly on richness of surface and outline, rather than on abstract beauty of form, and contrasts very strongly with Grecian architecture. (a.) The Northern Brahman, in comparison with the Dravidian style, has a curved pyramidal roof to the “vimana” instead of a storied one, and is without columns to the preceding porch. (b.) The Chalukyan style is affected by its northern and southern rivals, taking features from each without losing its special character. The starshaped plan and curved pyramidal tower are in contrast with the storied towers of the Dravidian style. (c.) The Dravidian

The normal type of plan consists of the vimana or cell crowned with curved pyramidal roof, and the porch without columns crowned with stepped roof in stories. Each façade has rectangular projections in the centre, which increased in depth as the style developed, until they formed the points of a square on plan. In addition to these two chambers, others were added in more important examples. The large inclosures and gateways of the Dravidian style are wanting. Orissa, on the east coast, contains a remarkable series of monuments dating from A.D. 500-1200. The ancient city of Bhuvaneswar contains some hundreds of examples. The best known is the Great Temple (A.D. 617-657), quoted as the finest in India. It is a four-chambered example ; every stone on its facades is carved, the courses being deeply rusticated. The principal vimana is crowned with the usual northern high curved pyramidal roof with melon ornament and finial.

Other examples are at Kanaruc (No. 266e: see at right) (the Black Pagoda, ninth century), and Puri (the four-chambered temple of Juganât, A.D. 1174), the latter being placed in a large double inclosure surrounded by a wall 20 feet high.

In Dharwar, on the western coast, are examples in which pillars are employed, as the Temple of Papanetha, a.d. 500, influenced by Dravidian architecture.

Important groups exist at Chandravati, in Rajputana (a.d. 600), Baroli (a.d. 750), and Udaipor (a.d. 1060). At Khajuraho (a.d. 954-1000) is a group of thirty important temples, of which that dedicated to Kandarya Mahadeo is the most important. It is a two-chambered example, placed on a well-proportioned stylo- bate, with three rows of sculptured figures, half life-size, nearly one thousand in number. The sikra is enriched by the addition of sculptured representations of itself — a favourite Indian method.

Modern monuments exist at Chittore, Gwalior, Kantonugger (a.d. 1704), and Amritzar (a.d. 1704), the sacred metropolis of the Sikhs.

Civil Architecture

Palaces, tombs, and ghats (landing places) abound. The ghats lining the great rivers, such as the Ganges, are typical Indian features; they are used by the Hindus as bathing places, and consist of long ranges of steps, stopped by kiosks and backed by buildings with ornamental facades, used as shelters, or temples.

Related material


Fletcher, Banister, and Banister F. Fletcher. A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method for the Student, Craftsman, and Amateur. 5th ed. London: B. T. Batsford, 1905.

Last modified 12 December 2018