Iaecm | India Association of East Central Michigan


About Indian Architecture

The architecture of India reflects both the cultural diversity of the subcontinent and its rich political and historical inheritance.Readers are taken on a fascinating tour of Indus Valley civilization, early Vedic traditions, Hindu, Jain, Mughal, regional, colonial and post-independence architectural styles.

Indus Valley Civilization

The Indus Valley Civilization covered a large area around the Indus River basin and beyond. In its mature phase, from about 2600 to 1900 BCE, it produced several cities marked by great uniformity within and between sites, including Harappa, Lothal, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Mohenjo-daro. The civic and town planning and engineering aspects of these are remarkable, but the design of the buildings is "of a startling utilitarian character". There are granaries, drains, water-courses and tanks, but neither palaces nor temples have been identified, though cities have a central raised and fortified "citadel". Mohenjo-daro has wells which may be the predecessors of the stepwell.[3] As many as 700 wells have been discovered in just one section of the city, leading scholars to believe that 'cylindrical brick lined wells' were invented by the Indus Valley Civilization.



Indo-Islamic Architecture

Mughal tombs of sandstone and marble show Persian influence. The Red Fort at Agra (1565–74) and the walled city of Fatehpur Sikri (1569–74) are among the architectural achievements of this time—as is the Taj Mahal, built as a tomb for Queen Mumtaz Mahal by Shah Jahan (1628–58). Employing the double dome, the recessed archway, the depiction of any animal or human—an essential part of the Indian tradition—was forbidden in places of worship under Islam. The Taj Mahal does contain tilework of plant ornaments. The architecture during the Mughal Period, with its rulers being of Turco-Mongol origin, has shown a notable blend of Indian style combined with the Islamic.

Maratha Architecture

The Marathas ruled over much of the Indian subcontinent from the mid-17th to the early 19th centuries. Their religious activity took full shape and soon the skylines of Maharashtrian towns were dominated by rising temple spires. Old forms returned with this 'renewal' of Hindu architecture, infused by the Sultanate and later the Mughal traditions. The architecture of Maratha period was planned with courtyards suited to tropical climates. The Maratha Architecture is known for its simplicity, visible logic and austere aesthetic, made rich by beautiful detailing, rhythm, and repetition. The aisles and arcades, punctured by delicate niches, doors, and windows create space in which the articulation of open, semi-open and covered areas is effortless and enchanting.

Maharashtra is famous for its caves and rock cut architectures. It is said that the varieties found in Maharashtra are wider than the caves and rock cut architectures found in the rock cut areas of Egypt, Assyria, Persia and Greece. The Buddhist monks first started these caves in the 2nd century BC, in search of serene and peaceful environment for meditation, and they found these caves on the hillsides.



Sikh Architecture

Sikh Architecture is a style of architecture that is characterized with values of progressiveness, exquisite intricacy, austere beauty and logical flowing lines. Due to its progressive style, it is constantly evolving into many newly developing branches with new contemporary styles. Although Sikh architecture was initially developed within Sikhism its style has been used in many non-religious buildings due to its beauty. 300 years ago, Sikh architecture was distinguished for its many curves and straight lines; Shri Keshgarh Sahib and the Sri Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) are prime examples.

Republic of India

In recent times there has been a movement of population from rural areas to urban centres of industry, leading to price rise in property in various cities of India. Urban housing in India balances space constrictions and is aimed to serve the working class. Growing awareness of ecology has influenced architecture in India during modern times. Climate responsive architecture has long been a feature of India's architecture but has been losing its significance as of late. Indian architecture reflects its various socio-cultural sensibilities which vary from region to region. Certain areas are traditionally held to be belonging to women. Villages in India have features such as courtyards, loggias, terraces and balconies. Calico, chintz, and palampore—of Indian origin—highlight the assimilation of Indian textiles in global interior design.Roshandans, which are skylights-cum-ventilators, are a common feature in Indian homes, especially in North India