Chapter 3: GUPTA ART AND ARCHITECTURE
Art, architecture and literature flourished
in the Guptan period. Canons of Brahmanical, Jainism and
Buddhism were standardized in this period.
Religious tolerance was shown but Gupta kings
were Brahmanical by religion. This period showed
development of three deities in different regions:
Vishnu: North and Central India
Shiv: South India
Phase 1: Buddhism dominated this cave
architecture. Less permanent material like wood used.
Phase 2: Elimination of timber and
introduction of image of Buddha.
Phase 3: Hindus and Jains joined this
Ajanta Caves: UNESCO World
Heritage Site. Aesthetic vision and advanced technical
knowledge is seen. Entirely Buddhist influence. Most of
the caves are viharas. Cave building was done in two
1. Hinayana phase by Satvahana dynasty.
2. Mahayana buddhism under Vakataka rule.
In Mahayana, Buddha isnt as important as Bodhisattva.
Ellora Caves: Has Hindu, Buddhist, Jain
caves. Built during Kalachuri, Chalukya and Rashtrakuta
Elephanta caves: UNESCO World Heritage
site. First group of caves is Hindu and second group is
Phase 1: Square temple with flat roof and shallow
pillared hall. It is built on a low platform.
Phase 2: Square temple with flat roof. Its built on a
higher platform and the Garbagriha is covered with an
Phase 3: Built on higher platform with a Shikhar
[Pyramidal roof above the Garbagriha]. Panchayatan style
of Main shrine + 4 subsidiary shrines continued.
Phase 4: Rectangular temple with Shikhar and
Phase 5: Circular temple with shallow rectangular
An Hindu temple is a Panchayatana one when the main
shrine is surrounded by four subsidiary shrines.
Fig 1: Temple Components
Style of Temple Architecture:
Nagara style – Northern
Dravida style – Southern
Vesara style – Region
between Vindhya and Krishna.
Fig 2: Temple
- Mandap - Open pavillion
excavated out of rock. Simple columned hall with two or
- Ratha – Monolithic shrine
carved out of single rock
- Vimaan – Garbagriha and
shikhar together. Single shikhar on main shrine.
- Gopuram – lofty gateways
- Dwarpals present instead of Mithuns
as in Nagara style.
- Presence of tanks and pillared walls.
Religious matters, administrative centres and
control over vast tracts of land.
Dravidian style under Pallavas:
Stage 1: No real temple
structure but only rock cut caves.
Stage 2: Decorations in rock
cut caves and mandaps now became rathas.
Stage 3: Rajsimhanvarman
style has real structural temples. Open air carving in
relief on a rock surface.
Stage 4: Nandivarman style
has small temples.
Curvilinear Shikhara. Square or
rectangle temple. Garbagriha or panchayatan style.
Pillared halls present but tanks absent.
Fig 3: Temple architecture
Vesara Style of architecture
Chalukya style or Karnataka style. Fusion of
nagara and Dravidian style. Carvings on pillars, ceilings
and door plains. Chalukyan temples don’t have embulatory
Hoysala school of art
Unique feature is star shaped ground plan
which has five points with five deities of equal
Temple pillars are monoliths. Intricate
carvings on both sides of the walls and jewellery of gods.
Q.With reference to art and archaeological history of India, which one among the following was made earliest? (UPSC CSAT 2015)
Lingaraja Temple at Bhubaneswar
Rock-cut Elephant at Dhauli
Rock-cut Monuments at Mahabalipuram
Varaha Image at Udayagiri
Ans . B
Lingaraja Temple at Bhubaneswar was created in 11th AD. Rock-cut Monuments at Mahabalipuram are 7th century AD creation. At Udayagiri, it is 5th century AD creation.
Rock-cut Elephant at Dhauli was created during Ashoka’s reign (272-231 BC).
Q.With reference to Indian history, which of the following is/are the essential elementary elements of the feudal system?
1. A very strong centralized political authority and a very weak provincial or local political authority
2. Emergence of administrative structure based on control and possession of land
3. Creation of lord-vassal relationship between the feudal lord and his overlord
Select the correct answer using the code given below. (UPSC CSAT 2015)
1 and 2 only
2 and 3 only
1, 2 and 3
Ans . B
Feudalism, in its various forms, usually emerged as a result of the decentralization of an empire
Feudalism and feudal system were a way of structuring society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour
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