Hello friends, welcome to Indian Art & Culture. Today we will be discussing the Architecture and Monuments Of North Gujarat. So let’s start…
After the decline of the Harrapan civilization, India entered the Vedic age. In the early centuries before and after Christ, dynasties like the Mauryan, Gupta, and Maitreya held sway and created Buddhist caves. But it was the Rajput rulers who heralded the golden period of architecture from the 8th to the 13th centuries AD. The Solanki Rajput rulers patronized some of the finest Hindu temples in India, and created unique structures for harvesting water-the Vav or stepwell, stepped tanks called kunds and stepped reservoirs called talaos. Their Jain ministers too patronized exquisite temples, of marble or local stone, dedicated to the Tirthankaras. Jain temples were built on sacred mountain summits and in wooded valleys, the breathtaking landscapes providing a pristine backdrop for the majestic architecture of these holy shrines.
|The Sun temple at Modhera|
The best known Solanki monument is the Sun temple at Modhera, commissioned in 1026 AD by Bhimadev, two centuries before the world-famous Sun Temple of Konark was built on the east coast of India. The temple has been ravaged by plunderers and natural calamities, including an earthquake, yet it remains an outstanding monument to the architectural genius and artistic flair of the Silvas. The facades and pillars are decorated with exquisite carvings of Gods and Goddesses, birds, beasts and blossoms, and traditional erotic sculpture. The forecourt of the sanctuary is a rectangular ventured tank, 50 by 20 meters in region, sprinkled by 108 subsidiary shrines. The entrance to the temple is by a beautifully carved columned portico, leading to the Sabha Mandapa or assembly hall. The cusped curves, which turned into a component of Indo-Saracenic design after Islamic invasions into India, the corbelled rooftop the radiant arrangement of carvings depicting scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and other Hindu sagas, and the light-shadow effect given by the beautifully sculpted and organized columns, are highlights of the Sabha Mandapa. The principal beams of the sun, during the equinox, would illuminate the jeweled picture of ruler Surya in the sanctum, before the icon, was taken away by invaders. (Architecture and Monuments Of North Gujarat)
|Rani ki vav|
The Solanki capital was Anhilwada Patan a town filled with temples and monuments, the generally significant among them being the Rani ki vav, a stepwell dated 1052 AD. The stepwell is a massive seven storeyed subterranean structure, with flights of steps leading to the water level, string cOursed by magnificent works of 11th-century sculpture depicting voluptuous women, Divine beings, and Goddesses of the Hindu pantheon, and the symbols of Lord Vishnu. Just above the water level are chambers, believed to have been reserved for queens and princesses to appreciate the coolness of the air floating from the outside of the water, and a stupendous sculpture of Lord Vishnu reclining on the coils of a serpent.
Sidhapur, north of Patan, was the site of Raja Sidharaj Solanki’s splendid Rudramalaya, a 12th-century temple with huge Torana arches. The temple is now largely in ruins, worth visiting to See the tapering Torana entrances of the temple complex and the nearby Bohra Muslim mansions. (Architecture and Monuments Of North Gujarat)
A fine pair of Toranas can be seen at Vadnagar, richly decorated by the exuberant sculpture of the Solanki period. The town, near the Toranas, is entered through 12-century gateways embellished with fine carvings. Near one of the gates is the 1/th century Hatkeshwar temple, and inside the town are Nagar Brahmin Havelis. Vadnagar was known tor its music, poetry, and other arts, and the famous musician due of 1ana
and Hiri who cured Tansen of the burning effects of the Deepak rag by singing the Malharrag is enshrined near the lake of Vadnagar. Tana and Riri were invited by the emperor Akbar tosing in his court and rather than refuse the request of an emperor opted 1or self-immolation. (Architecture and Monuments Of North Gujarat)
|The Jain complex of Taranga|
Further north of Vadnagar is the Jain complex of Taranga, set in the heart of rocky hills, with huge boulders providing a spectacular backdrop for the architectural splendor of the principal temple and its subsidiary shrines. The 12th-century Ajitnath temple is one the largest Jain shrines in Gujarat, with a columned central hall and rotund lotus capitals, and an impressive dome. The Ajitnath idol has jewel eyes. The temple exteriors are embellished by panels of fabulous carvings, Some of the best sculpture being the ones portraying voluptuous women. (Architecture and Monuments Of North Gujarat)
Among the marble temples of north Gujarat, a really fine example is the Jain complex at Kumbhariyaji, near Ambaji, which contains five temples dated to 1062-1134 AD phase of the Solanki empire. The temples have corbelled interior domes, with carvings in concentric circles rising to the apex of the dome, superimposed by carved brackets of detailed Godly, human, faunal, and supernatural figures. Heavy pendants hang from the center of the main dome. Delicate marble carvings are a feature of this temple complex.