Architecture of India flashcards |

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Oldest sacred writings in India. Contain hymns and prescribe rituals for the worship of a pantheon of gods identified with the natural elements. Fundamental to Hinduism. Collection of writings before Hinduism. Records Indian culture, stories and ideas adapted by Hindus.



Inspired by Vardhamana (Mahavira or Great Hero) and Jina (the victor). Vardhamana found his version of the path to salvation in a complete rejection of the complex formulations of the Brahmins. Taught that escape from the world's unhappiness was attainable only through rigorous asceticism to purify the soul and by maintaining reverence for all living creatures.



Reincarnation, we are born, live, die, and are reborn. A cycle represented in a wheel.



Bliss, eternal life. Once you achieve nirvana, you are no longer on the wheel of samsara.



Religion with no god. Based off of the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama. Goal to reach nirvana and peace through meditation.


Siddhartha Gautama, a Indian prince, from a wealthy family. Left his family to live a life of a beggar to understand suffering. Reached nirvana while meditating near a bodhi tree and shared his teachings to others.

Bodhisattva, c. 450-500

Painting of the Buddha in a holy cave. Had very long earlobes. Dressed as a prince. Long earlobes represents wisdom.


Bodhi Tree

Where the Buddha achieved enlightenment.



longest living religion. Originally the religion of the Brahmins. Foundation was the Vedas. 4 classes - priests, warriors, merchants/craftsmen, and laborers.


Hindu god responsible for the existence of life and the universe. Can create and destroy life. Shown with a ring of fire, representing life and burning life. Keeps the ring of fire of life going by dancing. Several hands shows several poses of the dance all at once.


Mound of rubble and earth erected over relics. Were later covered with brick or stone. A solid mound.



Something from a holy person, ex. Hair, bones, ashes. Stupas were built on top of this.



A platform on the ground that raised up the stupa.



Diagram is carved into the plinth. The process of creating this is part of meditation and then the stupa is built over it afterwards. Guide to the universe. The mandala is orientated toward the cardinal points.


Axis Mundi

Central axis of the universe. The axis is marked by the chatra on top of the stupa that represents the bodha tree.



Village memorials, where the ashes of deceased leaders were placed in a mound, often outside their settlement.



Small monasteries of individual cells organized around open courts.



Enclosing fence arounnd a stupa, that delimited the path for circumambulation.


A small platform with a railing located at the very top of a stupa.


3 tiered umbrella form, stylized stone versions of the sacred enclosure fense and famous Bodhi tree. Represents the bodhi tree.


Entrance gate of a stupa. Is the entrance and gateway to the stupa, and the walkway.

Great Stupa, Sanchi, ca. 250 BCE - 250 CE

Founded by Asoka. Typically stupa with a plinth as a base with its center on a axis mundi. Has a torana as a entrance. Has a circular path for meditation.

Chaitya Hall Karla, India, c. 100

Rock cut hall, larger then rock cut temples in Egypt. Made for walking meditation. Has a miniature stupa in the back. Has a pool to clean and purify yourself before going inside. Has a window to shine in light to light up the stupa for a few hours. Floor and columns were carved out of the hall. Has a series of wood arches on the ceiling. Each column has an elephant with a man and women on the capital.


Mountain peaked roof of a Northern style Hindu temple. Is hollow inside and has a curved side. The curve is a catenary curve, it can be developed mathematically. The curve is a parabolic arch. Every stone in the curve is in perfect compression with gravity.

Angkor Wat Cambodia

Hindu temple. Royal shrine of the Khmer Dynasty. Built in stone and only uses corbeling. Has a central tower on a pyramid base. A moat surrounds the site.


Hindu Temple

Masonry temple that used corbeling. Has a longitudinal axis and raised up on a plinth. Has a series of stairs that go up to the temple. Has a Mandapas for the burning of offerings for the gods. Normal people don't go inside the temple. In the back is a tower with the statue of the god or goddess. Holiest place in the temple, only for the priest to see. Has an axis mundi in the tower.



3 spaces for ritual sacrifice in a Hindu temple. Offerings for the gods are burned in here and the smoke is received to the god.

Northern Style Hindu Temple

A Hindu temple with mandapas that are covered in domes. The tower is a shikhara.

Southern Style Hindu Temple

A Hindu temple with mandapas that have flat roofs. Tower is a vimana. Steps up in corbelling, hollow in the inside and has 4 sides. Made up of rows. Each unit is a window motif. Made of stone with a carved out hole with a statue in it. The hole lets light come in.


Tower/roof on a Southern Hindu temple. Steps up in corbelling, hollow in the inside and has 4 sides. Made up of rows. Each unit is a window motif. Made of stone with a carved out hole with a statue in it. The hole lets light come in.

Parabolic arch

Arch in perfect compression.

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