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Gupta Architecture Timeline

Gupta Architecture Timeline


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  • c. 200 BCE - c. 600 CE

    Construction of the 30 Buddhist cave-shrines at Ajanta, many of which display features of Gupta architecture.

  • 320 CE

    Gupta I founds the Gupta Empire in northern India

  • c. 320 CE - c. 550 CE

    Gupta period, considered a golden age of ancient India in art and architecture.

  • 401 CE

    The earliest inscribed date in the Gupta-era cave-shrines at Udayagiri.

  • c. 480 CE - c. 500 CE

    The Gupta-era Hindu temple at Bhitargaon is built.


A historical timeline of Doors in Architecture

A door is any hurdle of wood, stone, glass, metal, hides, or consolidation of materials installed to swing, fold, or slide to block an opening to a room or building. To the nomadic man, the necessity for doors added a sense of security from animals, harsh climatic conditions, and the then believed spirits. The first-ever known door that was illusioned as a wall decoration defined the port to the afterlife. This door sketched in Egyptian paintings was conceptualized about 4000 years ago. During biblical times, olive wood constituted the chief material for King Solomon’s doors. In India, ingeniously crafted stone pivotal doors had marked their presence.

As days aged, the Roman civilization popularized single and double shutter doors, sliding and folding doors, all carved in bronze. Janus, the Roman lord of doors and archways, led to the design of the famous gate, the Janus Geminus, in Rome that closes during peace and opens at war. The first-ever automated door, drafted in the 1st Century A.D, used fire to build steam and atmospheric pressure that pumped water into adjacent weights enabling ropes to open the temple doors. This door, popularized as the Heron of Alexandria, paid tribute to the Greek mathematician.

In India, the dawn of the 4th century saw the advent of the Gupta rule who transitioned philosophically crafted elements on T-shaped doors. Symbolism was at its peak at door architecture as trimmings on door jambs, established as Sakha’s that symbolized branches and a fully bloomed lotus on the door threshold that depicted the universe and impassivity of the devotee to the material world had themselves marked. With the actual door passage measuring only a quarter of the main door, rosette and foliage patterned designs with the image of the river goddesses had the visitors hooked. Later, in the 5th century, lintel design, further ornamentation, and the addition of temple guardians have added features to the intricate door architecture. The dawn of the 6th century, the Bronze Age, witnessed tremendous technical advances owing to the construction of the first foot sensor-activated door, dating back to approximately 604 to 618 A.D during the reign of the Chinese emperor Yang Of Sui. This period witnessed the extensive use of Bronze cut-outs in panel patterns and pure copper for trim and hardware. Many of the doors hung by hard stone pivots of granite at both the edges of the stile had bronze bands and strips encased. The 8th century marked the aurora of the Gandharan style in Kashmir, India. This style spawned over well-ornamented doorways surmounted by a trefoil arch.

The 11th century endorsed the development of solid bronze double doors in Rome with bronze castings imported from Constantinople. This style marked the evolution of a series of panels in relief to establish a sculptural tradition of the historical narrative.

The 12th and the 13th centuries flipped the pages of symbolism in the book of door architecture to portray seals, reputation, prestige, status, and wealth, making it a capital power. The door, formulated by merging copper and bronze, plywood, and steel buds, was reinforced with steel iron bands to secure against small strengths.

The winds of the 16th and the 17th century opened up a new chapter in the history of door architecture, owing to the renaissance that fused classical Greek designs with realism. With the best craftsmanship in hand, the period gave birth to various styles, some of which are in practice even today. The Spanish renaissance doors with hand-forged nails, the Tuscany doors with bird and foliage borders boasted the traditional Gothic details and period motifs in fine cedarwood. These doors were first designed for cathedrals, emphasizing religion, and were enriched later with bas-reliefs and borders.

The renaissance had toughened the livelihood of the community, and hence the styles had to be stripped of aesthetics. The sole objective to block an opening resulted in an arrangement of hinges and battens collectively supporting vertical boards. With the feature of cross boarding for bulky and more secure doors, these arrangements evolved further into Tenon and mortise joinery, intersecting the stile and the rail by half lapping

The 17th century splashed architecture with the Georgian style doors, the first dominant door style, that encouraged the usage of stiles, rails, and exceptional dimensional stability. These doors, the focus of the symmetrical facade, were externally aesthetic but visioned planking internally by floating panels minimizing the expansion and contraction. These doors later matured to the use of beveled panels.

In India, this period had bloomed to an aesthetically pleasing flower styled Mughal architecture door, complete in its expression, with floral motifs placed asymmetrically. These brightly colored doors, fashioned in wood and wrought iron, crowned an exclusive throne for art and intricacy.

The middle of the 17th century saw the advent of the Peshwai leverage on door architecture with the inclusion of spiritual yet stylistic elements like the Ganesh Patti at the lintel levels on iron fixtured, wooden doors.

In the 17th century, numerous advances were prevalent in the door architecture process of forts, the military footholds to the kingdom, majorly of which remained named after the mountain gods. These doors were constructed in the Gomukh style, resembling a cow form of architecture that attempted to reduce the velocities of enemy attacks. These shutters, built with teak with 100mm stiles and strong wrought iron bolts, had crevices for lighting and defense facilities.

The sunsets of the 17th century brought the federal style with its classical motifs and symmetry fused with elaborate details at its high. These doors offered similar paneling both ways.

The 18th century endowed the Greek-Revival style with the layering of panels with moldings at each margin of its 3-4 inch shutters.

The 19th century and later saw a mechanized revolution with the sale of doors through catalogs. Various experiments carried out resulted in the innovation of the noiseless revolving door to overcome the stack effects and the fiberglass shutter. The refined metal trade made its mark on aluminium stiles, rails, and tube framings. The ever revolutionizing story of door architecture yet awaits the innovations of the future.


Ages of Gold

300 CE 1000 CE

Scale: 1 column = 100 years

Gupta Empire

Although preceded by two Guptan rulers, Chandragupta I (reign 320-335 CE) is credited with establishing the Gupta Empire in the Ganges River valley in about 320 CE, when he assumed the name of the founder of the Mauryan Empire. The period of Gupta rule between 300 and 600 CE has been called the Golden Age of India for its advances in science and emphasis on classical Indian art and literature. Gupta rulers acquired much of the land previously held by the Mauryan Empire, and peace and trade flourished under their rule.

Sanskrit became the official court language, and the dramatist and poet Kalidasa wrote celebrated Sanskrit plays and poems under the presumed patronage of Chandragupta II. The Kama Sutra, a treatise on romantic love, is also dated to the Gupta era. In 499 CE, the mathematician Aryabhata published his landmark treatise on Indian astronomy and mathematics, Aryabhatiya, which described the earth as a sphere moving around the sun.

Detailed gold coins featuring portraits of the Gupta kings stand out as unique art pieces from this period and celebrate their accomplishments. Chandragupta's son Samudragupta (r. 350 to 375 CE) further expanded the empire, and a detailed account of his exploits was inscribed on an Ashokan pillar in Allahabad toward the end of his reign. Unlike the Mauryan Empire's centralized bureaucracy, the Gupta Empire allowed defeated rulers to retain their kingdoms in return for a service, such as tribute or military assistance. Samudragupta's son Chandragupta II (r. 375&ndash415 CE) waged a long campaign against the Shaka Satraps in western India, which gave the Guptas access to Gujarat's ports, in northwest India, and international maritime trade. Kumaragupta (r. 415&ndash454 CE) and Skandagupta (r. c. 454&ndash467 CE), Chandragupta II's son and grandson respectively, defended against attacks from the Central Asian Huna tribe (a branch of the Huns) that greatly weakened the empire. By 550 CE, the original Gupta line had no successor and the empire disintegrated into smaller kingdoms with independent rulers.

Kalidasa

Kalidasa was a renowned Sanskrit dramatist and poet. He is best known for several plays, written in the 4th and early 5th century CE, the earliest of which is probably the Malavikaagnimitra (Malavikaa and Agnimitra), a work concerned with palace intrigue. It is of special interest because the hero is a historical figure, King Agnimitra, whose father, Pushhpamitra, wrested the kingship of northern India from the Mauryan king Brihadratha about 185 BCE and established the Sunga dynasty, which held power for more than a century. The Vikramorvashiiya (Urvashii Won Through Valor) is based on the old legend of the love of the mortal Pururavaas for the heavenly damsel Urvashii. The legend occurs in embryonic form in a hymn of the Rig Veda and in a much amplified version in the Shatapathabrahmana.

The third play, Abhijnanasakuntala (Shakuntalaa Recognized by the Token Ring), is the work by which Kalidasa is best known not only in India but throughout the world. It was the first work of Kalidasa to be translated into English from which was made a German translation in 1791 that evoked the often quoted admiration by Goethe. The influence of the Shakuntala outside India is evident not only in the abundance of translations in many languages, but also in its adaptation to the operatic stage by Paderewski, Weinggartner, and Alfano. In addition to these three plays Kalidasa wrote two long epic poems, the Kumaarasambhava (Birth of Kumaara) and the Raghuvamsha (Dynasty of Raghu). Finally there are two lyric poems, the Meghaduuta (Cloud Messenger) and the Ritusamhaara (Description of the Seasons).

Fa Hsien

A Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, Fa Hsien at the age of 65 walked to India from China starting in 399 and returning by sea in 413 CE. He journeyed down the Ganges plain stopping at numerous monasteries to study their customs and to copy sacred Buddhist texts. He wrote an account of his travels that has provided modern scholars insight into the governance of the Gupta Empire, where light taxation and enlightened policies towards caste and religion lead to prosperity and to what Fa Hsien describes as a contented citizenry.

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Kama Sutra

Attributed to the sage Vatsyayana, the Kama Sutra is a treatise on erotic love thought to have been written under the Gupta Empire in the fourth or fifth century CE. Kama means love, desire, or pleasure in Sanskrit, and the Sutra is the earliest surviving example of the kama shastra, or science of erotica genre, that would become popular in later centuries. Kama is one of the four goals of human life described in the Vedas, the other three being dharma (duty and social obligation), artha (power and success), and moksa (religious liberation).

The Kama Sutra is composed of seven books with two or more chapters each, and much of the book gives advice to the urban male or nagaraka about courtship. Women were encouraged to learn 64 practices of the kama shastra, including singing, dancing, and even carpentry, and solving riddles. The Kama Sutra treats sex as both an art and a science and divides men and women into sexual types, discusses sexual positions, details appropriate conduct for married women and provides advice for courtesans. The Kama Sutra became the archetype for subsequent works on the subject of erotic love in India and influenced later Sanskrit erotic poetry. In 1883, a translation of the work into English published by English explorer and anthropologist Sir Richard F. Burton and Forster Fitzgerald Arbuthnot popularized the work in the West.

Astronomy

Astronomy, astrology, mathematics, and religion were closely linked in ancient India. Astronomy developed out of the need to determine solstices, equinoxes, and phases of the moon for Vedic rituals. Eighteen early astronomical texts or siddhantas, of which only the Surya-Siddhantha, written around 400 BCE, survives, discuss topics including lunar and solar eclipses, astronomical instruments, and the phases of the moon. The Vedanga Jyotisha composed by the astronomer Lagadha about 500 BCE outlines a calendar based on a five-year cycle or yuga with 62 lunar months and 1,830 days. India's earliest calendar, the Saptarshi calendar is broken into 2,700-year cycles and a version counting back to 3076 BCE is still in use in parts of India today.

Astronomy flourished under the Gupta Empire (c. 320-550 CE) during which time Ujjain in central India emerged as a center for astronomical and mathematical research. In 499 CE, Aryabhata, an Indian astronomer and mathematician who was also head of the university at Nalanda in Magadha (an ancient region located in what is now Bihar), composed the Aryabhatiya, a significant treatise about mathematics and astronomy written in Sanskrit. Aryabhata described a spherical Earth that rotates on its own axis and the orbits of planets in relation to the sun. He dated the universe to approximately 4,320,000 years and calculated the length of the solar year. India's first space satellite, launched in 1975, was named Aryabhata in his honor.

Islam

Islam is a monotheistic religion founded by the prophet Muhammad in Mecca in the early seventh century CE. Adherents of the faith, called Muslims, revere the God of the Old Testament, in Arabic, Allah, and the Koran, a sacred text that followers believe is Allah's word revealed to the prophet Muhammad.

All Muslims are expected to fulfill five major duties, the pillars of Islam, or Arkan al-Islam. The pillars include shahada, profession of Muslim faith salat, ritual prayer performed five times a day in a prescribed manner zakat, almsgiving sawm, fasting during the month of Ramadan and the hajj, pilgrimage to the sacred city of Mecca.

By the eighth century CE, Islam had spread to Europe, across Central Asia, and to India, where Muslim traders settled along the southwest coast in the seventh century CE. The Cheraman Juma Masjid in Cranganore (in Kodungallur, Kerala) is believed to be the first mosque in India and dates to this period. Beginning in the eleventh century CE, Turkic and Afghan armies spread Islam into northern India. During the first half of the 10th century CE, Mahmud of Ghazni conquered the Punjab region and two centuries later, Muhammad of Ghor invaded Delhi and established the Delhi Sultanate.

Islam in India continued to flourish under the Mughal Empire, which succeeded the Delhi Sultanate and reached its height in the 16th century under the Emperor Akbar the Great, who promoted religious tolerance. Under the Mughals, Islamic culture and religion mixed with Indian and Hindu traditions, leaving an enduring legacy in art and architecture, including the Taj Mahal.

In 1947, differences between Hindus and Muslims led to the partition of India by the departing British colonialists into the countries of India and Pakistan. The division sparked mass migrations across the borders of both countries, with Muslims heading north to Pakistan and Hindus and Sikhs south into India. Violence between both groups resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. A secular nation, India's constitution guarantees freedom of religion to its citizens, the majority of whom are Hindu.

Islam is the second most practiced religion in India in 2008, over 13% of Indians identify themselves as Muslim and India has one of the largest populations of Muslims in the world. Pakistan today is an Islamic republic, with a population of approximately 170 million, of which only 3 million are Hindus. After Indonesia, Pakistan has the second largest Muslim population in the world, closely followed by India (156 million) and Bangladesh (132 million out of 150 million and approximately 15 million Hindus).

Cholan Empire

The Cholas, a people living in southern India, first appear in the written record in a 3rd century BCE rock inscription of Mauryan emperor Ashoka the Great. A Tamil&ndashspeaking people, the Cholas held the east coast of modern Tamil Nadu and the Cauvery delta region. They eventually gained supremacy over other southern tribes in the area, the Pandyas of Madurai and the Pallavas of Kanchi. The empire's earliest king Karikala (r. about 100 CE) is celebrated in Tamil literature, but the empire reached its height under Rajaraja (r. 985&ndash1014 CE), who conquered Kerala, northern Sri Lanka, and in 1014 CE acquired the Maldive Islands.

To commemorate his rule and the god Shiva, Rajaraja built a magnificent temple, Rajarajeshvara or Brihadeesvarar Temple at Tanjore, which was completed in 1009 CE. The temple, the tallest building in India at the time, includes inscriptions describing Rajaraja's victories and was a massive ceremonial space, with a central shrine measuring 216 feet high. Fresco murals that depict military conquests, the royal family, Rajaraja, and Shiva decorate the temple. Villages in the empire and from as far away as Sri Lanka sent tributes that would be redistributed and used in support of the vast retinue of dancers, servants, singers, carpenters, goldsmiths, and others living in the temple's court.

Rajaraja's son, Rajendra I (r. 1014&ndash1044 CE), would continue to increase Cholan power by defeating rivals in southern India and expanding Cholan territory north. In 1023 CE, Rajendra sent his army north toward the Ganges River and defeated the Bengal kingdom of the Pala ruler. A few years later he sent overseas expeditions to the Malay Peninsula, occupying parts of Java, perhaps to protect a sea route to China. Rivalries with other southern tribes would lead to the dynasty's fall when in 1257 CE, the Pandyas defeated the Cholas. The dynasty ended in 1279 CE with the last Chola ruler, Rajendra IV (r. 1246&ndash1279 CE).

Cholan Bronze Sculptures

The Cholas formed south India's first major empire. Under Chola rule, between the 9th and the 13th centuries CE, the arts&mdashpoetry, dance, art, and temple building&mdashflourished. But the Cholan artistic legacy is most evident in the bronze sculptures that were perfected during this time and continue to be made even today.

Cholan bronzes were typically of deities, royalty and the politically powerful people of the day&mdashall in a distinctive Cholan style, classically representative of the human form, and perfectly proportioned. The sculptures are recognizable by the way the bodies are posed. They are always graceful, elegant and sensuous&mdashparticularly if a sculpture is that of a couple, such as Shiva and Parvati. The bronzes also depict the "mudras" or gestures derived from classical dance.

Cholan master sculptors created their works with the cire perdure, or lost wax process, which is still in use today.

Mahamastak Abhishek

Taking place every 12 years, this Jain festival celebrates the life of saint Bahubali. Millions of devotees travel to Shravana Belagola in the Indian state of Karnataka, in South India, for the ritual anointing of a 57 foot statue of Bahubali, also known as Gomateshwara. The gigantic statue of the nude saint was carved out of a single piece of granite from the hill, known as Vindhyagiri or Indragiri, where it's located.

The festival has been regularly observed since 981 CE, when the statue was completed, and involves the anointing of the colossal figure with a multitude of substances beginning with sanctified water from 1,008 small metal vessels. Then it is showered with a series of other libations, such as milk, sugarcane juice, pastes of saffron and sandalwood, as well as powders of coconut, turmeric, saffron, and vermilion. These are followed by offerings of gold, silver, precious stones, petals, and coins, culminating with a cascade of flowers.

Priests and select devotees ascend 700 stairs to reach the top of the statue in order to conduct the ceremony, while masses of pilgrims watch from the foot of the colossus and are drenched by the materials being showered on the figure.

Jains revere Bahubali, who, according to legend, renounced his kingdom after winning a battle with his brother Bharata because he was disillusioned by the desire for power that set him against a family member. Bahubali decided to seek spiritual enlightenment and stood meditating for so long that vines began to grow on his legs and spread to his arms, which is how he is represented in the statue at Shravana Belagola.

Rajaraja

Rajaraja ruled the Cholan Empire in India's southern region from 985 to 1015 CE and, along with his son Rajendra, is credited with securing the kingdom's dominance from the 10th to the 13th centuries CE. The emperor successfully defeated his main rivals, the Pandyas and the Cheras tribes, in South India, acquiring Kerala in the process. Rajaraja's strength derived from a strong administration, large army, and a unique naval force, which he used to extend his empire to northern Sri Lanka and the Maldive Islands, in 1014 CE. These victorious invasions secured a steady flow of tribute into his kingdom and contributed to the most enduring monuments of the Cholan dynasty, the great royal temples like those at Tanjore.

To commemorate his rule and personal god, Shiva, Rajaraja built the magnificent Rajarajeshvara or Brihadishvara temple at Tanjore, which was completed about 1010 CE. The tallest building in India at the time, the temple includes inscriptions describing Rajaraja's victories and was a massive ceremonial space, with a central shrine that was 216 feet high. Fresco murals that depict military conquests, the royal family, Rajaraja, and Shiva decorate the temple. Methodical records of donations made to the temple provide extensive information about the temple and the empire. Rajaraja's son Rajendra succeeded him in 1014/15 CE and continued to expand the empire north and east, even sending a naval expedition to occupy coastal regions in Java and the straits of Malacca.

Mahmud of Ghazni

Under Mahmud of Ghazni (971-1030 CE) the Ghaznavid Empire, an Islamic dynasty centered in the Afghan city of Ghazni, reached its height. Mahmud's father, a Turkish slave named Sebüktigen, founded the kingdom in the 10th century CE, and Mahmud ruled as sultan from 998 CE to 1030 CE. Invading the Sind and Punjab regions at least once a year between 1000 CE and 1026 CE, the sultan, known as the "Sword of Islam," waged ruthless campaigns into northern India.

Mahmud's invasions of India, which never extended to the central, south, and eastern portions of the region, were exceedingly ruthless. He is said to have carried away huge amount of booty on each visit, and among other Indian dynasties, the Chandellas of Khujaraho, the Pratiharas of Kanauj, and the Rajputs of Gwalior all succumbed to his formidable military. Places such as Kanauj, Mathura, and Thaneshwar were plundered, but it is the destruction of the Shiva temple at Somnath, on the southern coast of Kathiawar in Gujarat, which most people in India remember him by even today. Some Muslim chronicles claim that 50,000 Hindus died in the sack of Somnath, and it is said that the Shiva lingam (the main symbol of the god) was destroyed by Mahmud himself. After the battle, Mahmud and his troops are described as having carried away across the desert the equivalent of 6.5 tons of gold. Modern historians have questioned some of the assumptions of the "black legend" of Mahmud.

Though there can be no doubt that Mahmud of Ghazni waged ruthless campaigns and terrorized the people who came in his way, there is nothing to suggest that he only attacked Hindus. The Muslim ruler of Multan, an Ismaili, and his subjects were dealt with just as ruthlessly. Revisionist historians argue that Mahmud pillaged Hindu temples because of the wealth in them, that he had Hindus among his commanders, and that Hindu temples were still allowed to function under his rule. But Mahmud remains a deeply controversial and divisive figure in the perceptions of history across the subcontinent today.

With the plunder acquired from his raids into India, Mahmud made Ghazni a great cultural center, home to an extensive library and scholars such as Abu Rayhan al-Biruni, a mathematician and philosopher whose Kitab al-Hind was among the earliest literature about India's religious and philosophical traditions. The Muslim Ghorid dynasty succeeded Ghaznavid rule in the 12th century CE and was followed by the Delhi Sultanate, a series of five successive Muslim dynasties that ruled northern India into the 16th century CE.

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Literature

The Sanskrit language became prominent during the Gupta period. Nagari script had evolved from the Brahmi script. Numerous works in classical Sanskrit came to be written in the forms of epic, lyrics, drama and prose. The best of the Sanskrit literature belonged to the Gupta age.

Himself a great poet, Samudragupta patronized a number of scholars including Harisena. The court of Chandragupta II was adorned by the celebrated Navratnas. Kalidasa remain the foremost among them. His master-piece was the Sanskrit dramaShakuntala. It is considered one among the 'hundred best books of the world'. He wrote two other plays - the Malavikagnimitra andVikramorvasiya. His two well-known epics are Raghuvamsa and

Kumarasambhava. Ritusamhara and Meghaduta are his two lyrics.

Visakadatta was another celebrated author of this period. He was the author of two Sanskrit dramas, Mudrarakshasa andDevichandraguptam. Sudraka was a renowned poet of this age and his book Mrichchakatika is rich in humour and pathos. Bharavi'sKritarjuniya is the story of the conflict between Arjuna and Siva. Dandin was the author of Kavyadarsa and Dasakumaracharita.Another important work of this period was Vasavadatta written by Subhandhu. The Panchatantra stories were composed by Vishnusarma during the Gupta period. The Buddhist author Amarasimha compiled a lexicon called Amarakosa.

The Puranas in their present form were composed during this period. There are eighteen Puranas. The most important among them are the Bhagavatha, Vishnu, Vayu and Matsya Puranas. The Mahabharatha and the Ramayana were given final touches and written in the present form during this period.


What are the Major Achievement of the Gupta&rsquos?

The glory of the culture of the Gupta Age rests on its many-sided and comprehensive character. Almost every branch of culture got enriched during that splendid epoch.

In some of its spheres, like art and literature, the ancient culture of India reached almost its zenith. The cultural attainments of the age of the Guptas are like the proud heritage of the Indian people for all time to come.

The Gupta Age saw great achievements in the following spheres of culture.

Image Source: 80c2c58297745c19d00b-3ef697e5597e4211b9a782820054083a.r58.cf2.rackcdn.com/5EE2AD5E-D0D0-459C-8AFD-5AF5AD68FC30.jpg

1. Religion:

It was a noteworthy feature of the Gupta cultural resurgence that all the major religions of India came under fresh impetus during that time for growth and development in one form or the other. An age of benevolence as it was, no religion stood on the way of another in that universal manifestation of spiritual awakening.

The Gupta Emperors were themselves the devotees of Brahmanical Hinduism. Naturally, therefore, they became the patrons of their own faith. They encouraged all branches of Hinduism, such as, Vedism, Vaishnavism, Saivism, and Saktaism. As regards Vedism, the Gupta kings believed in some orthodox practices of the Vedic kings like the Asvamedha sacrifices.

As for Vaishnavism, the Guptas were the worshippers of Vishnu, and Lakshmi. They also adopted as their emblem the vahana of Vishnu, that is, Garuda. They styled themselves as Paramabhagabatas. During their reign, many temples were builts all over the country for the worship of Vishnu under His various names. Saivism also received great devotion. Siva temples were constructed at many places, dedicated to Siva under His several names such as Mahadeva, Maheswara, Hara, Pasupati, etc. Similarly, Sakti worship began to gain ground. Temples of Bhavani, Parvati came into existence in many places of India.

The Gupta period also saw the worship of Kartikeya as the God of War. The Guptas, being brave fighters, paid much devotion to this God for their victory in battles. The worship of Surya also came into prominence. Many gods and goddesses came to be worshipped by the people all over the land. The number of Hindu deities was innumerable. Because of such developments, the Gupta Age is described by some historians as an age of Brahmanical revival.

Great monarchs like Asoka and Kanishka in former times were the patrons of Buddhism. But the Gupta Emperors were orthodox Hindus. It was natural that as Hindus, they paid veneration to different worships and practices of Hinduism as a matter of faith. Hinduism, which continued as the fountain-source of Buddhism even in the days of Asoka and Kanishka, had seldom declined when Buddhism was at its zenith.

Under the Guptas, however, it became more glamorous with the splendor of emerging new cults and practices. One of the new trends in Hinduism which came to take root in the Gupta Age was the faith in Bhakti or the intense devotion to God. It became the most important feature of Vaishnavism from this time.

Though the Puranic Hinduism was thus in its high tide, the Gupta Age also saw Buddhism and Jainism growing in their own way according to the needs of the time. The Buddhist and Jaina faiths had their many powerful exponents during this period. Great literary works on these religions appeared from the pen of famous philosophers which enhanced the prestige of those faiths.

The Gupta rulers encouraged such divines with admiration. They also were charitable towards the Buddhist centres and monasteries. Buddhist holy places like Sarnath and Sanchi received the royal patronage, and developed into unique centers of Buddhist art and sculpture. The Jaina religious places also developed into excellent image-making centres during this time. The Gupta Age saw the sweeping force of Mahayanism dominating the Buddhists. This development brought Buddhism nearer to Hinduism. Sanskrit, not Pali, became the religious literature of the Mahayana Buddhists. This made the language of the Brahmins and the Buddhists one and the same.

The Mahayana Buddhism advocated the worship of the image of the Buddha and of the Bodhisattvas. This brought it nearer to Hindu idol worship. Most interestingly, the Gupta period saw the emergence of the image of the Buddha as Bhagavan. Hinduism, in its unlimited liberalism, came to accept Buddha as a God of the Hindus. Buddha came to be worshipped as an incarnation of Vishnu. Thus that the Gupta Age saw a great religious upheaval affecting all faiths and all people. This upheaval vastly influenced the literature, philosophy, art and architecture, promoting their development in many ways.

2. Literature:

The Gupta Age is regarded as the golden age of the Sanskrit literature. Sanskrit was both the state language of the time as well as the language of religion and culture. Being the Lingua franca of India, Sanskrit received utmost attention of the rulers and the educated, of religious and secular writers, and of the preachers of various faiths.

Great sages like Panini, Vararuchi, and Patanjali gave to Sanskrit its required character as an attractive medium of thought and expression, Brahmins, Buddhists, and Jainas equally favoured this language as the sacred language of their religions. The imperial Guptas became the great patrons of Sanskrit. As a result, the Sanskrit literature reached its lofty height during the Gupta Age.

Regarding the beauty of this language, an English Orientalist, Sir William Jones, wrote in 1784: “The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin and exquisitely refined than either.” Among the men of letters who made the Sanskrit literature richer and more magnificent, the following names shine in bright colour. Their works not only made the Gupta period glorious, but the Sanskrit literature great.

3. Kalidasa:

Kalidasa who is honoured as one of the greatest poets of the world, and is described as the Shakespeare of India, belonged to the Gupta period. An inscription, discovered most recently, in 1964, establishes his birth in Ujjayini and shows him as a contemporary of King Vikramaditya, who was obviously Chandragupta II Vikramaditya.

According to legends, Kalidasa was a Brahmana by birth, and was ignorant and uneducated. Through the trick of some persons he could marry a princess. But when he was discovered to be a fool, he left the house in search of learning and through the grace of a goddess, ultimately became a celebrated poet. Tradition has led the people to believe that Kalidasa was one of the nine gems or Navaratna of the court of King Vikramaditya of Ujjayini. History has accepted him as “the Prince of Sanskrit poets and Dramatists.”

Kalidasa perfected the Kavya style and the art of poetry in Sanskrit. Human sentiments, presented in ornamental style, made his poetic works superb. The most famous dramas of Kalidasa were Malavikagnimitra and Sakuntala. In the first one, he deals with the theme of love between prince Agnimitra and the princess Malavika.

In Sakuntala, which is acknowledged as one of the world’s masterpieces in drama, Kalidasa deals with the romance between Dushyanta and Sakuntala, their secret marriage, their separation, and their final reunion. His another famous play was Vikramorvasi. The Sakuntala of Kalidasa has been regarded as the greatest of all the classical Sanskrit dramas.

It is said that when Sir William Jones translated ‘Sakuntala’ of Kalidasa into English and published it in 1789, it created a sensation among the Europeans that such a wonderful drama could have been written in ancient times, describing human emotion and feeling in such a superb way. The work was translated to German, French, Danish, Italian and other languages. The celebrated German poet Goethe was so powerfully impressed by this magnificient work that he regarded it as the greatest drama ever written in any literature.

Goethe’s famous exclamation speaks of his feeling:

“And all by which the soul it

Charmed, enraptured, feasted, fed

Wouldst thou the earth and heaven itself in

I name thee,0 Sakuntala, and all at once is said.”

Among the great Kavyas of Kalidasa, the most famous are the Ritusamhara or the ‘Cycle of the Seasons’, Meghaduta or the ‘Cloud Messenger’, Kumarsambhava or the ‘Birth of Kumara’, and Raghuvamsa or the ‘Race of Raghu’.

The ‘Cycle of Seasons’ is a wonderful description of Nature and its rhythms in relation to human moods and sentiments. The ‘Cloud Messenger’ describes the emotion of an exiled Yaksha from heaven who sends his message to his wife through a passing cloud. Kumarasambhava describes the wedding of Siva and Parvati, and the birth of the god of war for destruction of a demon. The Raghuvamsa, which is a Mahakavya, describes of Rama’s ancestors, of Rama himself, and of Rama’s successors in Ayodhya.

The extravagant beauty of style, the poetic emotion in descriptions, the close observations on Nature and life, the majestic appeal to human mind, and the serenity of the themes, rendered the works of Kalidasa immortal. Kalidasa’s contributions made the world literature richer.

The western world came to regard some of the works of Kalidasa as so excellent in philosophy and feeling that they could not find their parallel in other great languages. For example, regarding the Meghaduta or the ‘cloud messenger’ in which Kalidasa described the separation of a lover from his beloved, and asked a floating cloud to travel far to carry and pass over his message of love, a western scholar named Ryder discovered two wonderful divisions in that poem, namely, Nature and Human Nature : He commented.

“The former half is a description of external nature, yet interwoven with human feeling the latter half is a picture of a human heart, yet the picture is framed in natural beauty. So exquisitely is the thing done that none can say which half is superior. Of those who read this perfect poem in the original text, some by the other.

Kalidasa understood in the fifth century what Europe did not learn until the nineteenth, and even now comprehends only imperfectly, that the world was not made for man, that man reaches his full stature only as he realizes the dignity and worth of life that is not human. That Kalidasa seized this truth is a magnificent tribute to his intellectual power, a quality quite as necessary to great poetry as perfection of form.”

Sudraka, another famous Sanskrit author of the Gupta Age, wrote his wonderful social drama known as Mrichchhakatika or the ‘Little Clay Cart’. It contains many interesting features, such as, scenes of refined humour, and of deep pathos. It gives a penetrating picture of human nature in its varied form. The drama is full of lively episodes and is considered as a masterly work of Sanskrit literature.

The celebrated author of the famous drama, Mudra-Rakshasa was Visakhadatta. This drama deals with a theme describing the heroic deeds of Chandragupta Maurya in coming to the throne of Magadha. Being a political drama, it contained exciting scenes, full of suspense and interests. Visakhadatta was the author of another drama known as Devi-Chandraguptam. His writings indirectly reflect the characters of a heroic age as that of the Guptas, and point to the nature of political situations of ancient times.

Another interesting literary figure of the age was Bhartrihari who is said to have renounced the world to lead a saintly life after passing through the painful experiences of life. He was at once a philosopher, grammarian and poet. He was the author of the Three Satakas, famous for their lyrical composition. His themes were on policy, love, and renunciation. They contained valuable instructions, presented in an appealing style. To some, he might have belonged to a little later time.

One of the most renowned literary works of the Gupta Age was the Panchatantra, composed by Vishnu Sharma. This has come to be regarded as a notable contribution to the world literature. Its impact on the Western world is most impressive. Nearly two hundred versions of this work are to be seen in a large number of languages, including German, Italian, Greek, Spanish, and English.

The Gupta period gave birth to a number of other writers who enriched the literature of that time. There was Bharavi who wrote Kiratarjuna or the ‘Hunter and Arjuna’. In this poetic work, Siva appears before Arjuna as a hunter while he was in penance. Harishena, the author of the Allahabad Prasasti of Samudragupta, was also a poet of repute.

The authors of the Puranas also enriched the literature greatly. Though the Puranas were being written much before the age of the Guptas, they received their final shape during this time. Similarly, other religious literature also grew in their volumes in this creative epoch.

During the Gupta golden age, the Indian philosophy, like the Indian literature, passed through a vigorous phase of its development. The famous Smritis of Yajnavalkya, Narada, Katyayana and Brihaspati were composed during this period. Early in the period, Sabarasvamin wrote his famous Bhashya on the Mimamsa Sutras, making Mimamsa a complete system of philosophy.

The Samkhya philosophy was propounded by Iswarakrishna in his Samkhya-Karika. Patanjali wrote Vyasa-Bhashya on the Yoga-Sutras. Vatsyayana brought out his great work Nyayabhashya on the Nyaya system of philosophy. The Hindu philosophy found a wider dimension from all such works.

The Gupta Age also saw some further thoughts on the Buddhist philosophy. Both the Hinayana and the Mahayana thoughts were given new philosophical interpretations. Among the Hinayana philosophers were the celebrated authors like Buddhaghosha, and Buddhadatta. Among the Mahayana philosophers were famous thinkers like Asanga, Vasubandhu, and Dinnaga.

The Jaina philosophies also developed side by side other philosophical movements. The Jaina canon was reviewed, and commentaries on the sacred texts were written.

4. Mathematics and Astronomy:

The Gupta Age was blessed with one of the unique mathematicians and astronomers ever born in India. He was Aryabhatta, born in 476 A.D. in Pataliputra. He wrote his famous work known as the Arya-Bhattyam.

In this, he propounded several important theories on arithmetic, algebra and geometry. He established the principle of the place value of the first nine numbers and the use of zero. The invention of the decimal system in mathematics was a remarkable contribution to world knowledge.

Aryabhatta also wrote Surya Siddhanta. In that work, he propounded the real causes of the solar and the lunar eclipses. Till his time, the Indians believed in the imaginary descriptions of the Puranas that eclipses were due to the demon Rahu who swallowed up the sun and the moon in periodical intervals. Rejecting such absurd beliefs, Aryabhatta made another mighty contribution to the science of astronomy when he proclaimed that the earth revolves round its axis. He also showed the variations in planetary motions. The disciples of Aryabhatta developed mathematics and astronomy to considerable extents.

Another famous man of the age was Varahamihira. His work Brihat Samhita dealt with astronomy, botany, physical geography and natural history. He was also the author of Brihajjataka, Laghujataka and Pancha Siddhanta. Varahamihira is also renowned as the greatest astrologer of his time.

There were several other astronomers and mathematicians who made valuable contributions to ancient knowledge. Brahmagupta, for example, declared long long before Newton that “all things fall to the earth by a law of Nature for it is the nature of the earth to attract and keep things.”

Thus did the Gupta Age show its progress in some fundamental branches of learning. That ancient India was much advanced in the fields of mathematics and astronomy stands as a fact of history. At a much later time, the Arabs came to learn much of mathematics and astronomy of the Hindus, and they, passed those knowledge to Europe.

During the Gupta period, chemistry as a branch of science made notable progress. Metallurgical science was far more advanced in India than in other countries. A glaring proof of this is to be seen in the 24 feet high and 180 maund heavy Iron Pillar of the Gupta period, found at Mehrauli near Delhi. This wonderful pillar has not got rusted through centuries of time, though exposed to rains and atmosphere. It looks like polished stone, and many observers believed it to be so.

The Gupta Age, being an age of intense religious interests, saw the construction of countless temples and other religious monuments. Majestic temples for various Hindu gods such as Vishnu, Siva, Surya and Kartikeya, as well as splendid shrines for the Buddha, and the Jaina Tirthankaras were erected in many parts of the country. Side by side, the Gupta builders constructed wonderful gateways, lofty pillars, and attractive edifices at the holy places and religious centres. Unfortunately, most examples of the Gupta architecture have been lost to posterity. The Huna invaders destroyed most of those works. Many disappeared under the ravages of time.

Among the few surviving examples of the Gupta architecture, the famous Dasavatara Temple at Deogarh in Jhansi district of Uttar Pradesh is considered the best. The body of the temple is covered with beautiful sculpture with many figures. The other structures of the period include the Vishnu Temple of Tigawa in Jabalpur district, the Siva Temple of Bhumra in Madhya Pradesh, the Temple of Parvati in the former Ajaigarh state, and the Buddhist shrines of Bodh Gaya and Sanchi.

Besides the structures in stones, the Gupta temple-architecture were also erected in brick. Among the brick temples, the most famous one is the temple at Bhitargaon in Kanpur district of Uttar Pradesh. The beautiful designs on the body of the temple show the artistic talent of the builders who could mould the bricks in various forms.

The Gupta monuments were built under the Puranic religious concepts. They represented both balance and beauty. Built both in stone and brick, they maintained external decorations of a higher order. They were built in great many numbers, but have been swept away by the tides of time.

The Gupta period saw the classic phase of Indian sculpture. Through centuries of evolution, this art of sculpture-making reached a stage of perfection. The sculptors were matured enough to transform stone into images of superb beauty. They were under no external influence. Their technique of art was at its best. In perfect precision and masterly skill, they could shape the stone into any object of attraction. They also set pattern to their art which became an ideal model for the future. Their works became the model for the coming ages.

The Gupta sculpture was at its best in giving shape to the images of the deities and divinities, both of the Brahmanical and Buddhist faiths. Countless numbers of images were cut into shape at several centres for their installation in numberless temples and shrines. On the bodies of the temples also such figures were plentifully displayed. Sculpture-making became a major occupation, and the sculptors with their skill played a prominent role in the religious revolution of that period.

Among the finest examples of the Gupta sculpture, the images of Buddha in large numbers stand out the foremost. The seated image of Buddha belonging to Sarnath has been rightly regarded as the finest of all Buddha images in India. Of this it has been said that “the icon of Buddha turning the Wheel of Law or preaching his first sermon, which more than any other Indian sculpture, seems to convey the true messages of Buddhism.” The standing Buddha of Mathura, and the colossal copper statue of Buddha which is now in a British museum (taken from Sultanganj) are some other excellent examples of the Gupta sculpture.

The sculptors were indeed men of genius. They could express on stone the serene mood of Buddha to represent the Lord as if in his true being. The beauty of the Buddha’s body, the majesty of his appearance, and the grace on his face, prove that the art of sculpture was at its most splendid hour.

The Hindu images, too, went by the physical beauty of their figures, dignity of their divinity, and grace of their spiritual being. Among the best examples of Hindu images, the Vishnu Image of Mathura and the Varaha Image of Udaygiri are considered wonderful. On the body of the Deogarh Temple, the scultures represent the episodes relating to Rama and Krishna. They are of attractive style.

The images of Siva and of other Hindu gods and goddesses were made in large numbers at various places. All of them possessed dignity. Their faces revealed spiritual expression and moods of divinity according to the puranic descriptions of their individuality. It seems, as if, the sculptors, were translating the themes, from Sanskrit texts into religious versions on stones. The Gupta sculture thus enhanced the value of the Indian culture greatly. They remained as models for the posterity. They also served as models for the Indian sculptural art in several countries of South-East Asia.

The excellence of the art of painting was yet another glory of the Gupta Age. The fresco-paintings on the walls and ceilings of the world famous Ajanta caves are the brightest examples of that refined art. For millions of art-lovers from all parts of the world, Ajanta is like a place of pilgrimage. Much of the Ajanta paintings did not survive the centuries of time. Of the 29 caves, the paintings of 16 caves continued to exist till last century. But most of those precious art also got damaged or destroyed. Yet, whatever of that artistic wealth could survive till now, are considered as wonders of world art heritage.

The painters of Ajanta were at work from much earlier times, perhaps from 1st century A.D. or even earlier. But it was during the Gupta period that most of the paintings were worked out. More than that, the art came to its perfection during that time. The artists were inspired by great ideals to draw their pictures in a superb way. They used bright colours. They adopted spiritual themes as well as secular as the subject-matter of drawing. The scenes of their painting looked most natural, and the figures most life-like.

They painted the figures of Buddha, depicted his previous births, and showed the various incidents of his life as taken from the Jataka stories. They also worked out other themes to represent the realities of life and existence. The scenes of “The Dying Princess” and “The Mother and Child”, among other numerous scenes, show the excellent skill of the artists in presenting human figures together with their feeling, emotion, pathos, sentiment and mood. Every piece of painting in Ajanta Caves is like a masterpiece of art. There are interesting palace scenes, scenes of gandarvas and apsaras, and scenes of social life.

The paintings in Ellora and Bagh Caves were also of high standard. Good portions of those works have not survived. Painting being a very delicate thing, it fails to resist the havoc of Nature. At many more places, as in Ajanta and Ellora, the art of painting of the past have succumbed to the ravages of time.

The Ajanta style of art aimed at covering most subjects of religious, spiritual and social values. The art aimed at carrying a deep appeal to the human mind to create a permanent impression. The gods and sages, kings and queens, men, women and children, birds and beasts, trees and flowers, palaces and houses, and the scenes of varying subjects, all painted in appropriate colour, carried their deeper meaning for men’s thought and imagination.

An authority on the Indian Art, A. Coomaraswami, summed up saying: “Gupta art is the flower of our established tradition, a polished and perfect medium, like the Sanskrit language, for an establishment of thought and feeling…. Philosophy and faith possess a common language in this art that is at once abstract and sensuous, reserved and passionate.”

The Indian art influenced the art outside. The Indian fresco- paintings were imitated in Central Asia and its influence entered deep into Buddhist China.

For all these above mentioned reasons, the culture of the Gupta Age went by its unique value and excellence. Many features of that culture left the legacies for the future. The greatest works of such immortal sons of India as Kalidasa and Aryabhatta, and the great objects of timeless appeal as Sarnath Buddha and the Ajanta fresco will continue to represent the glories of the Gupta Age. They too, are like the priceless cultural heritage of India’s rich past.


Ancient Indian Religion

The civilization of ancient India was an astonishing seedbed of religious innovation.

Reconstructing the Indus Valley civilization’s religion is impossible, but there are strong clues that it had a major impact on the subsequent religious history of India. In any case, the next period of ancient Indian history, the Vedic age, saw the rise of a belief system that was foundational to all later Indian religions.


Excavated ruins of Mohenjo-daro, with the Great Bath in the front.
Reproduced under Creative Commons license 1.0

This is sometimes called the Vedic religion, or Brahmanism. It revolved around a pantheon of gods and goddesses, but also came to include the concept of the “Cycle of Life” – reincarnation of the soul from one creature (including both animals and humans) to another.

Later, the idea of the material world being an illusion became widespread. Such ideas were emphasised more strongly in the new teachings of Jainism and Buddhism, which both also had their origins in ancient India, in the years around 500 BCE.

Jainism

Jainism was founded by Mahariva (“The Great Hero”, lived c. 540-468 BCE). He emphasised an aspect already present in early Hinduism, non-violence to all living things. He also promoted the renunciation of worldly desires and an ascetic way of life.

Buddhism

Buddhism was founded by Gautama Siddharta, the Buddha (“The Enlightened One”, lived c. 565 to 485 BCE). He came to believe that extreme asceticism was not a fruitful basis for a spiritual life. However, like Jains, he believed that the release from worldly desires was the way to salvation. In daily life, Buddhists emphasised the importance of ethical behaviour.

Under the Maurya empire and later

Both Buddhism and Jainism flourished under the Mauryan empire and its successors. Some scholars believe that it was under Ashoka that Buddhism became established as a major religion within ancient India. in the kingdoms which succeeded the Maurya empire, many kings, in all parts of India, were happy to promote all three religious strands, Brahmanism, Buddhism and Jainism. Indeed the extent to which they were seen as distinct religions (if such a concept even existed in India at that time) is open to question.

The emergence of Hinduism

The teachings and practices of both Jainism and Buddhism had a profound impact on Brahmanism, and helped it evolve into the religion which we know as Hinduism.

This was a gradual process which really only becomes apparent towards the end of the period which we have here designated as Ancient India (i.e. up to 500 CE). It was certainly taking place by the time of the Gupta empire, when the worship of Shiva and Vishnu (the cults of Shaiva and Vaishnava respectively) and other deities were gaining in prominence. These new cults were being incorporated into Brahman beliefs and practices, and thereby turning it into an early form of Hinduism. Perhaps the thing which characterized this process most was that the ancient Vedic emphasis on ritual sacrifice was diminishing, and taking its place was a more personal devotion to a deity.


Inscriptions as Source

A few inscriptions of the period are &minus

The Allahabad pillar inscription composed by Harisen

Mandsor inscription composed by Vatsabhatt and

Junagarh rock inscription, Mehrauli Pillar inscription, Aihole inscription composed by Ravikriti.

These all inscriptions (listed above) consist most of the characteristics features of Sanskrit kavya.

The most notable in the field of drama were Bhasa, Sudraka, Kalidas, and Bhavabhuti.

Mrichchakatika (written by Sudraka), is considered one of the best plays of ancient India. This play is about the love of a Brahman with the beautiful daughter of a courtesan.

Vishakhadatta had written two plays, namely Mudrarakshasa and Devichandraguptam.

Famous plays written by Kalidas are Malavikagnimitram, Abhijnanashakuntalam, and Vikramorvasiyam.

Uttararama-charita and Malati-Madhava were written by Bhavabhuti.

Panchatantra, written by Vishnu Sharma, is one of the most famous works of this period. It was translated into Persian and Arabic in the 8 th century A.D. and has been translated into almost all European languages by the time.

The popular work Hitopadesa is based on the Panchatantra.

Harshacharita is the biography of Harsha written by Banabhatta. It is an outstanding work of the period.

The development of Sanskrit grammar (based on Panini and Patanjali) was also seen in this period.

Bhartrihari composed three Shatakas. He had also written a commentary on the Mahabhasya of Patanjali.

The compilation of the Amarakosha by Amarasimha is memorable work of this period. Amarasimha was a popular personality in the court of Chandragupta II.

The Prakrit was popular language of the Gupta period (as it was earlier).

The Svetambara Jain canon have been written in Ardha-Magadhi Prakrit.

The religious texts of the Digambara Jain (of south India) were written in the Maharashtri and Sauraseni Prakrits.

The commentaries on Buddhist texts were written in Pali.

‘Prakritaprakasha’ written by Vararuchi and ‘Prakritalakshana’ written by Chanda are the well-known grammar works on Prakrit and Pali language.

Katyayanaprakarna’ is a Pali grammar book.


Painting Developments during Gupta Period:

Painting as an art form reached a high degree of perfection during the Gupta times, it is evidenced by the wall frescoes at the Ajanta caves (Aurangabad) and the one at Bagh caves (near Gwalior).

The Ajanta paintings primarily belong to the period between the first to seventh century AD yet most of these were produced during the Gupta period. These paintings primarily depict various scenes from the life of Buddha. The paintings that have survived the centuries in Ellora and Bagh Caves are also of high standard.


Middle East 1000 BCE

Invasions have devastated the old centers of civilization, but important new developments, such as the use of iron, the appearance of the alphabet and the rise of Israel, with its monotheistic religion, have taken place.

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Civilizations

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What is happening in Middle East in 1000BCE

Invaders

Over the past 500 years, great changes have wracked the Middle East. The old powers of the region – Egypt, the Hittites, Assyria and Babylon – have all been devastated by invaders from outside their borders: the “Sea Peoples” from Europe, the Aramaeans from the Syrian desert and the Kuldu (Chaldeans) and other groups from the southern desert.

The eclipse of these states has allowed new peoples, particularly the Phoenicians and Israelites, to come to the fore. Their achievements will have an enduring impact on world history.

Advances

Several major advances in civilization have taken place in region in recent centuries. Firstly, iron has come into widespread use, probably starting somewhere in Asia Minor. Secondly, the alphabet has been developed, again probably in Asia Minor but soon to be spread by Phoenician merchants around the Mediterranean and Middle East. A third occurrence of world significance is the appearance of the monotheism, carried into history by the Israelite tribes. Finally, the camel has been domesticated recently. This tough animal is helping new trade routes across the Arabian desert to come into use.


The economic prosperity of the country during the Gupta period led to all round development in the field of sculptural art, architecture, and painting.

In the Deccan, rock-cut caves were excavated. There are nine caves at Udaygiri near Vidisa. These are partly rock-cut and partly stone-built.

Ajanta caves were built on the new line of architecture by the great beauty of their pillars of varied design and size and the fine paintings with which the inner wall and ceiling are decorated.

Ellora’s rock-cut monasteries and chaitya halls are other piece of architecture. The Brahmanical, Buddhist, and Jain caves portray the final phase of development.

Kailash temple is a magnificent monolithic temple with a spacious hall and finely carved pillars. It was carved into a block of hill.

The seven monolithic temples and number of pillared halls at Mamallapuram were carved by the Pallava kings Mahendravarman and Narasimhavarman in the 7 th century A.D.

These monolithic temples were popularly called as ‘Rathas.’ These massive structural temples were completely cut out of rock.

Monasteries and stupas were also built during this period. These Monasteries were also the centers of education.

The famous centers were at Bodhgaya, Sarnatha, Kusinagara, Srayasti, Kanchi, and Nalanda.

The Nalanda University grew into the most prestigious establishment during the 5 th century A.D.

Hiuen-Tsang mentioned in detail about the great temples, monasteries, and library buildings of Nalanda mahavihara.

Dharmarajaratha at Mamallapuram is the earliest examples of the rock-cut temple of Dravidian styles.

The structural temples at Kanchi, known as Kailasanatha and Vaikuntha Perumal were all built by the Allava Kings.


Watch the video: 40 Types of Architecture styles. (January 2023).

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