History of

1) The Indus Valley Civilization (B.C.-3000-2000)

Referred as “The development in the dawn-age”

  • Got buried in the soil of the River Indus and
  • Ghaggar-Hakra River in Pakistan.
  • Also Known Bronze Age civilization.
  • The two cities at present explored are:

The Mohenjo-Daro in Sindh

      1. Harappa in the southern Punjab.

Their Architectural Style

  • The buildings had no great artistic value.
  • City was divided into wards and protective purpose.
  • Walls were constructed with a batter(wall with sloped surface)
  • They used burnt brick laid in mud mortar as “English Bond”.
  • Archaeologists found
      1. Market,
      2. halls,
      3. Store rooms
      4. Offices
      5. Several halls (religious)
  • Mohenjo-Daro 
      1. The Great bath 

2) Mauryan Dynasty (400 B.C.)

Ashoka (250 B.C.)

  • Ashoka inaugurated buddhism as the state religion of the country.
  • This is the era of production of “Ashokan School”.
  • Beginning of rock architecture.
  • Their contributions made to the art and architecture,
    1. A series of edicts inscribed on the rock.
    2. A number of Tumuli or Stupas
    3. Monolithic pillars.
    4. Monolithic accessories to shrines.
    5. A vast palace
    6. Group of rock cut chamber.

Stupa at Sanchi

  • Stupa comes from word ‘thupa’.
  • The gateway is called “Torana”.
  • There are five gateways.
  • These torana resembles the Doorway of Romanesque and
    Gothic churches.

Ashokan Pillar at Saranath

  • The purpose of the pillar is solely monumental.
  • Boldly designed and finely proportioned.
  • Animals are the main feature of the design.
  • Lion headed spouts on Greek and Roman buildings

3) Buddist Rock Cut Architecture: –The early of Hinayana Phase

  • The word “Rock cut architecture” purpose is not architecture it is sculpture, On a grand and magnificent scale.
  • It took the form of Buddhist monastic establishments of large halls and chambers.
  • They are large and well-planned temples.
  • They involve no constructional principal.
  • Their columns have no adjustment of support to load, the arches carry no weight,in whole the structural strength not required.

Examples: Ajanta, ellora, Junnar (pune), Gautmiputra (nasik) and elephant (Mumbai).

Ajanta at Aurangabad

  • It was excavated during first and Second centuries B.C.
  • By Buddhist of the Hinayana community.
  • This is a Buddhist monastery.
  • This is UNESCO world heritage site since 1983.


  • Its ancient name is Elapura
  • Built by Rashtrakuta dynasty.
  • The Kailasa Temple of Ellora is the only structure in the world that is craved from the top to bottom
  • It contains Buddhist, Hindu and Jain Temples.
  • There are 34 cave excavated out of the face of the Charanandari hills.
  • This is UNESCO world heritage site.

4) The Gupta Period (A.D.350 TO 650)

This period is an introduction of planned architecture and the stone masonry. 

In this emerged the earliest known conception of the Hindu “house of God”.

In this period, it appears as a room of stone called “GarbahGirah” literally “womb house”, a small chamber, square in plan, it’s a place where idol was kept.

5) The Diravidian Style(600 A.D. TO 900)

  • Pallavas production provided the foundation for this style.
  • This style was practiced almost entirely in Tamil country.
  • This style came under five phases.
      1. Pallavas
      2. Cholas
      3. Pandayas
      4. Vijayanagar
      5. Madura

a) Pallavas (600 to 900 A.D.)

  • This is found around the town of Conjeeveram (Kanchipuram).
  • This was mainly executed during the reign of Narsimhvarman.
  • All the example of this group is found on one site at town of Mamallapuram.
  • They introduced Mandapa (pillared hall) and Rathas (monolithic temple).
  • These structures were wholly rock cut.
  • The first Pallava building to be constructed of dressed stone was “shore temple”.

Click to know more about pallavas in Tamil.

Shore Temple (700-728 A.D.Mahabalipuram)

The architectural elegance of this temple goes to king Rajsimhas also known as Narasimhavaman II.

  • It overlooks the shore of Bay Of Bengal.
  • Built with block of granite.
  • It is the oldest structural temple of south India.
  • It is a UNSECO world heritage site.

b) Cholas (900-1150 A.D)

  • “Vimana” is most important feature of there temples
  • These Temples were constructed of well-dressed granite blocks
  • They are accurately coursed and bonded.
  • The great building produced during Chola dynasty is the temple of “Gangaikondacholapuram” and “Tanjore temple”.

Click to know more about Cholas in Tamil

c) Padayas v(1100-1350 A.D.)

  • “Gopuram” or “cow gate” is the main part of this era.
  • Gopuram is a building oblong in plan and rising up into a tapering tower.
  • The average angle of slope from the vertical is 250.
  • Its width at its truncated apex is approximately one half of its base.


    1. Jumbukeshwara
    2. Chidambaram
    3. Tirumalai

d) Vijayanagaras (1350-1565 A.D.)

  • The beauty of the Vijayanagar type of temple is number of pillars and piers and their sculpture.
  • Repetition of the “horse motif” in the pillars is the major part.
  • The principal temple in the city of Vijayanagar are “Vithala” and “hazararama”.

e) Madura (A.D. 1600)

The number of temples of Madura class is near 30.

Meenakshi temple “fish eyed” at Madurai, It has a sheet of water surrounded by steps and pillared portico called golden lilies”.

Varadarajaswami “ a hundred pillared mandapa” Ekambarnatha “thousand pillared mandapa”.

Srirangam Temple

  • Located near Tiruchirappalli in south India.
  • This is also known as Tiruvarangatrupati, Periyakoil, Bhoologa Vaikundam, Bhogamandabam.
  • Srirangam is considered the Biggest Hindu temple of the world.
  • It is bonded by the Kaveri River.

6) The Northen or indo Aryan Style, Orissa: – ( A.D. 800 -1250)

  • Temples of Orissa provided the most logical beginning for study of Indo-Aryan style
  • The main city of the development is Bhubaneswar, where there are thirty examples.
  • The two most important buildings are
      1. Temple of Jaggannath at puri
      2. The Sun Temple at Konark.
  • In this the generic name of the temple is “duel”, the mandapa is known as “Jagmohana”,
  • The two buildings in this styles are (“Nat Mandr“or Dancing hall ) and (“BhogMadir” or hall of offering).
  • The style of roof is pyramidal.
  • The Orissan temple as a whole is astylar order ( Well dressed Stone Masonary )
  • These temples do not consist of pillars.
  • Stone masonry has been used and aided by a system of interlocking flanges so that no mortar no cementing material is needed.

a) Early period: 750 to 900 AD
Examples : All are located at Bhubaneswar
Parasrameswar | Vaital Deul | Uttareswara | Isvareswara

b) Middle Period :900 to 1100 AD
Examples : All are located at Bhubaneswar except Jagannath.
Mukteswara | Lingraja | Brahemeswar | Rameswara | Jagannath located at Puri |
SutruGaneswara | Bharateswara | Lakshmaneswara

c) Later period: AD 1100 to 1250
Examples : All are located at Bhubaneswar except except Sun temple.
Ananda Vasudev
Sari Deul
Sun Temple at Konark

Lingraja The King of ‘LINGAM’

  • Dedicated to Harihara a form of combination of Shiva and Vishnu.
  • This is the largest temple of Bhubaneswara.
  • The temple is believed to be built by the Somavanshi king Jajatikesri in 11th century.

Jagannath Temple

  • It is Located at Puri, Orissa.
  • It is also called as ‘White pagoda’.
  • This is the highest temple in Orissa.

Sun Temple

  • Located at Konark, Orissa.
  • Also called as ‘Black pagoda’.
  • It is UNESCO world heritage site

Click here to watch video in tamil

Other Examples Of Northern Or Indo Aryan Style


  • The most refined form of Indian architecture in the Indo-Aryan style is to be found in group of temples at Khajuraho in central India.
  • This monuments is a group of Hindu and Jain temples located at Chattarpur district in MP.
  • These temples were built during the supremacy of the Chandela rajas.
  • There are over 30 temples in number.
  • Khajoraho roofs are domical in shape.
  • Best example of Khajoraho type temple is Kandariya Mahadev, which is the largest Of entire series of Shiva temples.
  • Khajoraho group is UNESCO world heritage site.





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