Indian Architecture: Hindu, Buddhist and Jain

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The present book deals with the evolution of divergent architectural styles in the long tradition of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain temples. As such it is not a comprehensive history of architecture with pretensions to any startling conclusions or arguments. The format of research dissertations has not been followed to avoid a lifeless documentation of monuments. However, the author has mad use of the latest research publications available on the subject. The book aims at presenting systematically relevant information on various architectural styles-Rock-cut, Nagara, Dravidian and Vesara. The discerning reader would find analysis of these stylistic features of great help in appreciating the great monuments and also comprehending the aesthetic considerations inspiring structures of such tremendous beauty. The theme of the present study is limited only to traditions of sacred architecture in India. Themes like religion and social history, though very relevant to our subject, have been touched upon but briefly. The number of research books on architecture is quite large and classic works of scholars like James Fergusson and Percy Brown are still being read, admired and much criticized. Such works and many others have the stamp of erudition and strong opinion. This is a modest work, result of admiration for the great Indian heritage of architecture. The architectural history of the country, beginning from the Harappan period in the pre-Christian Era upto nearly the 15th and 16th centuries CE is too vast a subject to be covered satisfactorily in a single volume. Hence it was inevitable to be very selective. Still nothing of any real importance has been left out. There is no intention to parade erudite scholarship but only to say in simple words, in a language spoken and understood by the common reader “what oft was thought I but never so well expressed” (Alexander Pope).


Dr. Surendra Sahai is a distinguished author specialising in medieval Indian art and architecture. He has traveled widely to study and photograph the monuments for this book. His fascination for the subjects has transformed the story of cold, grey stones into a significant chronicle recounting the creation of various architectural styles over the centuries. This book combines immense scholarship and a commendable felicity of language. Dr. Sahai is an eminent photographer. His work has featured in collections of the World’s Best Photographs London Magazine, Amateur Photographer, Practical Photography etc. He regularly contributes articles on art and architecture to Indian and foreign journals. Dr. Sahai studied English literature at the Universities of Lucknow and London. As a British Council scholar, he worked on the plays of Harold Pinter. The University of Salzburg, Austria has published his book. Dr. Surendra Sahai is a reader in English at Motilal Nehru College of Delhi University.


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Bibliographic information

Indian Architecture: Hindu, Buddhist and Jain
1st ed.
240p., Plates; Figures; Glossary; Bibliogarphy; 29cm.