Indian civilization originated in ancient times, and during its existence for several millennia its culture has experienced various architectural periods. In India, as in the rest of the world, architecture is linked to power. From the old days, the people living on the territory of modern India have expressed in architecture their ideas about the universe. In Indian art, architecture is always adjacent to sculpture: the walls of the building are often covered with skilfully executed stone sculptures and bas-reliefs, depicting religious scenes. Two prominent building, belonging to two different styles, can represent their respective historical periods – The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple and the Taj Mahal.
specifically for you
for only $16.05 $11/page
The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is an extraordinary example of sacral art, and its significance can be compared to the ecclesiastical buildings in European gothic architecture. The temple is built to honor Shiva, one of the Supreme Deities, who, alongside with Vishnu and Brahma, constitute the divine triad. In terms of religious tradition, the temple belongs to Shaivism, one of the most prominent religious movements in India. Like the majority of temples, within Indian architectural traditions, Kandariya Mahadev stands upon a platform and faces east. Inside and outside the building, its decorative art is intentionally symbolic, imitating a common in Indian architecture iconography patterns. The depictions of religious symbols can be found through the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple. In essence, they are carved on the ceilings, on the pillars, on the walls of the exterior and interior parts of the building. Due to the material, it is made of the decorations of the temple mostly consist of stone sculptures that portray routine life. Moreover, Kandariya Mahadev’s external walls bear large Tantric relief sculptures, thus creating an association for this building with fruitfulness and jubilation.
During the extension of Islam in India, in various parts of the country, especially in the northern region, where the Taj Mahal is located, buildings following Muslim architectural tradition were constructed. They differ from Hindu architecture by the presence of portals, domes, high minarets. Taj Mahal, a perfect cube, figures as an example of Islamic architecture and was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum and memorial for his wife. Similar to The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, the Taj Mahal is the most significant building of its historical period. The building is celebrated in part for its Mughal architecture, even though its style is a mixture of components from all Middle East – from Persia to the Ottoman Empire. The surfaces of the Taj Mahal are covered with delicate decorative art that represents general trends in Mughal and Indian architecture in this way resembling the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple. Nevertheless, Islam forbids anthropomorphic depictions; thus, the building’s decoration is represented mainly by abstract art in the form of curvilinear patterns. These patterns can be found throughout the Taj Mahal – on murals, mosaic art, and relief sculptures.
The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple and Taj Mahal serve as the representatives of two distinct trends in Indian architecture. The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is a cult building, embodying divine power and power of faith, whereas the Taj Mahal is emblematic for human zeal and immortality of love. Although the buildings belong to different styles, they can be equalized on a more abstract level. Both The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple and the Taj Mahal are exemplary in the investigation of the issue of dominance and capacity of architecture to demonstrate social power and incarnate dominant political trends. In this way, architecture acts as a tool to supply the controlling side with a visual manifestation of prevailing cultural elements.