Mario Miranda - Book

Mario Miranda book

Over 2000 sketches, Illustration and cartoons by the Artist Mario Miranda in one place.

Museum Houses of Goa

Museum Houses of Goa

"Houses of Goa", a unique museum by reputed architect Gerard da Cunha, encapsulates for posterity the phenomenal outcome of the amalgamation of eastern and western architectural styles.


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Indian Architechture Through the Ages Introduction to Indian Architechture Architechtural Glossary Getting Around in India
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India nurtured various cultures in ancient times. Along with literature, fine art, music, dance and drama, architecture too, in all its grandeur, rose to great heights. It is not easy to explain Indian architecture; it is entirely different from that of Europe.

James Fergusson, the architectural historian, analysed Indian architecture for the first time in his book, History of Indian and Eastern Architecture. Fergusson recognized two types of architecture: Architecture of Intellect, with the Parthenon in Greece as its ideal, and Architecture of Emotions, with the Halebid Temple in India as the best of this form. He added that forms of architecture in the world lie between these two extremes. If there is something which could be referred to as 'complete architecture' it should exist somewhere in between these two monuments.

The Hoysaleshwara Temple at Halebid, dates back to the Hoysala dynasty that ruled over south India in the 12th century. This spectacular temple, built over a large area, is filled with sculptures both on the exterior and the interior. Fergusson says that this is a structure which appeals more to Man's senses than to his reasoning power. Most Hindu temples in India are filled with sculptures. The temples at Khajuraho and Konark also have images of men and women in various sexual poses. If this type of architecture represents the "doctrine of pleasure" then the Cistercian monasteries in Europe must represent the "doctrine of abstinence". When one compares the Cistercian monasteries that banned sculptures and murals as a hindrance to their meditation, then these Hindu temples seem to be the diametric opposite.

Islamic architecture plays a major role in India's architectural history. Idol worship is prohibited in Islam and there are absolutely no statues or murals inside mosques. The structure is a symmetrical, geometric shape and the space inside is bright, in contrast to Hindu temples.

Geographically, India is a large country with different climactic conditions from the north to the south; hence the style of the buildings across the country was also different. Moreover, ancient India did not ever have centralized rule. The Mauryas in the 3rd century BC and the Mughals between the 16th and 17th centuries reigned over most of India. These were the only times when most of the country came under central rule. Otherwise, different kings ruled over different parts of the country, until colonization, and all of them have contributed to the development of different cultures.

European architectural history is clearly defined according to the ages, into Roman, Greek, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and modern, but Indian architecture cannot be compartmentalized in this way. This is because India is a complex nation geographically and historically, with a diverse architectural heritage.

Yet architecture in one region in India is not entirely different from the other. The Indian sub-continent is bounded by the sea on the south and the Himalayas and China in the north, and therefore has had little contact with the outside world. If one has to analyze it, unity in diversity is the key to Indian culture. Diverse geography, rulers, religions and eras, together created a fascinating architectural mosaic.

What strikes one when travelling in a taxi, is that the driver does not use a road map. Asking for the way in towns and villages, with people offering directions and advice, is how the trip continues. Instead of starting on a trip equipped with a detailed map, accumulating the whole in parts, is the Indian way. This is perhaps the basis for the construction method of vernacular architecture in the villages and even in the cities of India. While it would be wrong to say that Indian architecture is "lacking in totality", it would be more accurate to point out that Indian architecture is "rich in detail".