Have you ever felt fascinated about the Indian art and architecture? There are a massive amount of temples, many museums and a few renowned heritage sites.
India is a country that has its roots steeped deep into religion and culture going back to ancient historical times. Acclaimed for its rich culture and heritage it’s tough to not bring up the subject of Indian art and architecture when it is being discussed about. The more I have explored, it’s evident that the birth place of various forms of art, India has a lot to offer to the world when it comes to architecture. Home to The Taj Mahal and countless other UNESCO world heritage monuments and sites, Indian architecture and art has attracted admirers across the globe. With time it has known to rapidly evolve and progress under influences throughout the courses of history.
A little history
The earliest evidence of architectural establishment in India goes back to the Bronze Age civilization. With its grid layout planned cities and two-storied residential abodes, the Indus Valley civilization laid the foundation of architectural heritage of India. First known evidences of art are known to be in the form of cave paintings and then it eventually grew to be a part of people’s daily lives. With painted pots to religious idols, art was really popular and continued to only grow and greatly practiced in the country.
After the firm establishment of Hinduism came numerous forts and palaces built in grandeur and intricate detailing appearances to accommodate the royals. Temples such as the Khajuraho and Lingaraja inspired by the Shikara style still stand strong after all these centuries. The most famous perhaps being the Sun Temple at Konark which greatly explains how religiously Indians worshiped the sun. Stupas from the Mauryan Age never fail to remind us of the Buddhist influence that took over that period. Both Indian art and architecture from the period greatly seems inspired from that of Greek and Roman architecture during the times which is unique in its own way. The artwork at Ajanta caves are known to be the biggest surviving works of Buddhist art. There is a surreal energy when you walk into these sites.
An evident era
We have had it so evident in our history lessons that perhaps the golden age of Indian art and architecture began when the Mughal Empire was established. The Mughals brought with them a resplendent form of stellar art which captured the very essence of Persian influence. Mughals, known to be great patrons of all forms of art are credited for establishing the masterpieces such as Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, The Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb. Art flourished greatly during the times with numerous paintings, created by famed painters such as Mir Sayyid Ali and Abd al-Samad in their signature miniature styles. Many schools of art such as the Rajput School were established during the century which yielded many gems of artworks. After the Portuguese and British took reigns of the Indian empire, modern European influence greatly submerged the art and architectural scene of India into itself. The Southern part of the country has several buildings inspired by Portuguese catholic architecture. Even today Puducherry defines as a mini French colony.
The Indian art and architecture we see today…
The capital city of India, Delhi hosts a large number of such archival monuments standing as the biggest evidence. From the Parliament to Victoria Memorial in Calcutta, British transformed the face of Indian architecture with contemporary designs. Great many Indian artists too were inspired by diverse European schools of art, that brings in the use of water and oil colors.
I live in Ahmedabad and despite all the infrasturctural advancements the city has made, the Old city continues to embrace the beauty of what once was constructed. The dilapidated pols and the ancient Lal Darwaja is fascinating overlooking all the hustle through the city.
With time, India has gone on to modernizing swiftly matching pace with the westernized world. Yet, the Indian art and architecture has essentially adorned its rich heritage, keeping in alive.
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