How is architecture at Gautam Buddha University

Buddhist religious architecture developed in the Indian subcontinent. Three types of structures are associated with the religious architecture of early Buddhism: monasteries (viharas), places for worshiping relics (stupas), and shrines or prayer halls (chaityas, also called chaitya grihas), which were later referred to as temples in some places.

The first function of a stupa was to worship and preserve the relics of Gautama Buddha. The earliest surviving example of a stupa is in Sanchi (Madhya Pradesh).

In accordance with changes in religious practice, stupas were gradually incorporated into chaitya grihas (prayer halls). Examples of this are the complexes of the Ajanta Caves and the Ellora Caves (Maharashtra). The Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya in Bihar is another well-known example.

The pagoda is a further development of the Indian stupa.

Early development
The beginning of the monumental architecture of India dates from the time of Ashoka (ruled 268-232 BC), ruler of the Maurya Empire, the earliest empire in Indian history, dating back to the 6th century BC. Was founded. Accepted as a reform movement by the more authoritarian Brahmanism of Buddhism and promoted its spread. Against this background, Buddhist sacred architecture and secular art influenced by Buddhist iconography emerged for the first time. The Buddhist sacred building is not intended for the worship of deities, but is either in the form of a cult building symbolizes cosmological ideas or in the form of a monastery houses followers of Buddhism on the “eightfold path” to overcome suffering.

Centers of Buddhist architecture were next to the Maurya empire (4th to 2nd century BC), their successors under the Shunga dynasty (2nd and 1st century BC), the West Dean in the area of ​​today's Maharashtra and the northwest of the subcontinent with the historical region of Gandhara and the Kingdom of Kushana (3rd century BC to 3rd century AD), where Buddhism is a close symbiosis with the culture of the Hellenistic world, which has existed since Alexander the Great (Graeco Buddhism) is widespread. According to the Hellenistic model, around the 1st century BC. Created. The Sirkap settlement in the area of ​​Taxila (Gandhara, today's northwestern Pakistan) with a main street, side streets going off at right angles and blocks of houses in a rectangular grid.

The capital of the Maurya, Pataliputra (Bihar, northeast India), according to the description of the Megasthenes, is said to have been one of the largest cities of that time. Since Pataliputra is now largely under the city of Patna, so far only a small part of the ancient city has been excavated, including the remains of a picket fence. The remains of a large hall resting on monolithic sandstone pillars, the purpose of which is unknown, represent the most outstanding find.

After the fall of Kushana, and in part before it, Buddhism, with the exception of Sri Lanka, was in retreat from resurgent Hinduism throughout South Asia, albeit with considerable regional disparities. This went hand in hand with a decline in Buddhist building activity, which finally came to a standstill after the advance of Islam. The Buddhist building tradition outside of India continued to develop and developed mainly in Southeast and East Asia as well as in the Tibetan cultural area.

Beginning of monumental architecture
The origins of monumental Indian architecture dating back to the 3rd century BC Began in BC are not clear but are attributed to Persian influences by many scholars (including Mortimer Wheeler), while Indian archaeologist and art historian Swaraj Prakash Gupta sees his own development in Ganges wood carving. Persian stonemasons, after the destruction of the Achaemenid Empire by Alexander the Great in 330 BC. According to Persian proponents, Chr. Brought the art of stone working and polishing to India. Among other things, the design of relief figures speaks for this thesis. On the other hand, the Buddhist stupas as the earliest representatives of sacred architecture, as well as early temple and monastery complexes, can be derived from Indian models, with many design principles actually being adopted from wooden architecture.

It is undisputed that the Achaemenids as early as the 6th and 5th centuries BC. BC expanded to the northwest of the Indian subcontinent. Numerous city fortifications (ramparts, ditches) in northern India date from this time. A second wave of the construction of such facilities took place at the time of the Hellenistic invasions of the Graeco-Bactrians in the 2nd century BC. Instead of.

The stupa as the earliest Buddhist cult building
In the time of the Maurya, the stupa was the earliest known form of Buddhist religious architecture. The stupa emerged from older, buried burial mounds. Early stupas consisted of a flattened, bricked and often filled with quarry stone or earth hemisphere (anda, literally “egg”), in which a chamber (harmika) for the storage of relics was embedded and surrounded by a wooden fence. In addition to relics, stupas should often commemorate important events in the history of Buddhism.

Most during the Maurya period in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC The stupas of northern India and Nepal, built in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. BC, Were under the Shunga dynasty of the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, the oldest of the well-preserved stanchas from Sanchi (Madhya Pradesh, Central India). Among the stupas of Sanchi, the middle of the 2nd century BC stands out. Renewed, but still essentially from the Maurya era, large stupa, which is one of the most important architectural monuments of ancient India. It has all the elements that are characteristic of the later stupas. The Anda rests on a terraced, circular substructure (medhi), which can be reached via stairs. The harmonica is no longer embedded in the Anda, but stands at the top in a square stone balustrade. The result is a stone mast (Yasti), which is derived from the centrally arranged wooden bars of the former burial mounds, with a triple umbrella-shaped crown (Chattra, plural Chattravali). The building as a whole symbolizes the cosmos according to Buddhist ideas, with the Anda representing the sky and the Yasti representing the axis of the world. The complex is surrounded by a walkway (Pradakshinapatha) and a stone fence (Vedika); However, the four stone gates (Torana) with rich figureheads were not built until the 1st century BC. Built in BC. Chr. Or added later. The stupa of Bharhut in Madhya Pradesh also dates from the Shunga period. The judgment in the area of ​​today's Andhra Pradesh Shatavahana was made between the 2nd century BC. Built in BC. And in the 2nd century AD, stupas with pictorial friezes, among others in Ghantasala, Bhattiprolu and Amaravati.

Stupa architecture also flourished in the northwest; One of the earliest examples is the Dharmarajika stupa at Taxila in the Gandhara region (northern Pakistan), which is similar to the stupas of Maurya and Shunga. A new type of stupa developed in Gandhara: from the 2nd or 3rd century AD, a square base detached the round medhi in the Kuschana pond, while the previously flattened hemispherical shape of the actual stupa was now cylindrically stretched. The stupa of Sirkap near Taxila is representative of this new type. The extensive stupas were widespread due to the spread of Kushana in northern India. In the case of particularly large stupas, the medhi is narrower, higher and delimited by the cornices of the superstructure, so that the stupa appears like a multi-storey building. Stupas from the late stages of Buddhism in northern India tower high, and the Anda only forms their upper end. One example is the incomplete, cylindrically elongated Dhamek Stupa from Sarnath (Uttar Pradesh, Northern India) from the 4th or 5th century.

In Sri Lanka, which, in contrast to the reinduced and later partly Islamized India, is still Buddhist, developed from the 3rd century BC onwards. A special type of stupa known as a dagoba. The oldest dagobas have either been preserved as ruins or were later built over. Characteristic features are the generally round step base, the hemispherical or bell-shaped Anda, the square harmonica sitting on it and the conical tip made of conical rings.

In other parts of Asia, where Buddhism is more or less established today, the stupa building tradition has been continued and further developed. This resulted in new forms of building, such as the chorten in Tibet, the pagoda in China and Japan and the Thai chedi through the intermediate stage of the dagoba. Other variants are common in Southeast Asia.

Buddhist cave temples and monasteries

The caves in the Barabar Mountains of Bihar from the 3rd century BC. BC, the epoch of the Maurya, represent the starting point of the monolithic cave temple architecture, which in later centuries matured into an important feature of the entire Indian architecture. Although the Barabar Caves served as a place of worship by the Ajivika sect, a non-Buddhist community, some features of later Buddhist cave temples await them. The Lomas Rishi Cave consists of an elongated hall, which is adjoined by a circular chamber that served as a place of worship. Both spatial forms later merged in the Buddhist sacred building to form the prayer hall (Chaityagriha, Chaitya-Hall). Among the Barabar Caves, only the entrance to the Lomas Rishi Cave is decorated with an elephant relief, which is modeled on wooden models.

In the 2nd or 1st century BC The oldest parts of the Bhaja monastery date from the beginning of the Buddhist cave temples. Bhaja is located in the Western Dean, where the main development of the cave temples took place. Here the rectangular hall and circular chamber are already merged with the apsidial Chaitya long hall with barrel vault. A row of columns divides the hall into three naves. A small stupa rises in the apse, which, like all other components, is carved out of the rock. On both sides of the horseshoe-shaped entrance to the Chaitya Hall are several simple rectangular cells, each grouped around a larger central room, which in their entirety form a monastery (vihara). The structure described represents the basic concept of Buddhist cave monasteries in India; Subsequent investments differ, with a few exceptions, only in their size, complexity and individual artistic design. The architecture of the cave monasteries is an eye-catcher in the imitation of the contemporary wooden construction, as the columns of the Chaitya halls and the ribs of the vaulted ceilings in caves have no static function. The external facades often imitate wooden models that have not been preserved.

The Karla Caves, dating from the 1st to 2nd centuries AD, resemble the nearby Bhaja monastery complex. With its rich picture decoration, Karla occupies a special position, which stands in contrast to the rather sparse equipment of the bhaja. When the columns in Bhaja are still unstructured and completely unadorned, the capitals of the finely structured columns in Karla are adorned with elaborate figures of lovers (Mithuna). Perfection is achieved by the sculptural decoration in the four Chaitya halls and more than 20 Vihara caves, which contain the Ajanta plant, which dates back to the 2nd century BC over a long period of time. Was created by the 7th century AD. In addition to lush relief and ornamental decorations on portals, columns and pilasters, Ajanta is famous for its wall paintings. While the Buddha is only worshiped in the symbolic form of stupas in the older plants, there are numerous figurative representations in the younger caves. In Ellora only the oldest part (about 6th to 8th centuries) is Buddhist, there is also a Hindu and a Jain cave group.

Detached temples and monasteries
Given the high mastery of the monolithic rock monasteries and temples and the obvious borrowings from the art of wood, it can be assumed that the free-standing sacred architecture was executed in wood in the early Buddhist period, but has not been preserved due to the transience of the material. Remnants of the free-standing stone architecture from the late Buddhist period can only be found occasionally. In Gandhara in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent, free-standing viharas have been built since the 2nd century AD, which, like the cave vicarages, consist of monks' chambers, which are grouped around a mostly rectangular courtyard. They were usually part of larger buildings with temples, stupas and farm buildings, which today are only preserved as ruins. One of the largest monasteries of this type was Takht-i-Bahi in what is now Pakistan. The remains of the monastery university (Mahavihara) in Nalanda (Bihar, northeast India), founded in the 5th century by the Gupta, later sponsored by Harsha and Pala and destroyed by Muslim conquerors in the 12th century, are relatively well preserved. The main building consists of several precursors of large stone stupas (sariputta stupas) surrounded by steps, terraces and votive stupas, as well as corner towers with sculptures of Buddha and Bodhisattvas. Little more than the foundations have been preserved of the Chaityas and Viharas, but this clearly shows that the Viharas were arranged around large courtyards - similar to the cave Viharas around central rooms. Some of the still completely preserved tower-like temples of Nalanda, whose cella is on the top floor, are significant.

The free-standing temple No. 17 of Sanchi dates from the Gupta period (around 400) and housed a - lost - Buddha statue. The most significant free-standing Buddhist structure in India is the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya (Bihar, northeast India), the place where Siddhartha Gautama achieved enlightenment. The brick temple was built in the 6th century parallel to the early form of the Hindu temple in Guptaarich, but was modified by Burmese builders in the 12th and 13th centuries. Its basic shape, with a pyramid-shaped central tower on a platform and a smaller replica at the four corners of the platform, is similar to the concept of medieval Hindu temples in the Nagara style.

The stambha
Free-standing monolithic columns (stambhas) from the time of Ashoka, which are still intact, have been discovered in ancient trade routes and places of worship in various locations in northern India. They contain historically very important inscriptions (column edicts). The bell-shaped capitals are adorned with sculptures of individual or grouped guardians, which resemble the motifs of the Achaemenids. While the oldest capitals were still rather stocky, the later stambhas have elongated capitals, the abacus of which are decorated with depictions of animals and plants. The most famous is the capital of the Stambha of Sarnath (Uttar Pradesh, North India) with four lions pointing towards heaven and the Buddhist symbol of Dharmachakra (“wheel of teaching”). It served as a model for the national coat of arms of the Republic of India.

The idea of ​​a cultic column is based on the oldest temples of the Near East, the Indian stambhas can be derived as a development within the region from the Vedic ritual column, the round mast for animal sacrifices Yupa. Freely established Buddhist stambhas served to proclaim the doctrine and as a non-image symbol for the worship of Buddha. In early stupas on a round base, as in Sanchi, stambhas were placed on the ground next to buildings. With the development of square base zones, particularly in northwestern India, the pillars were erected at the corners of these platforms. This can still be seen in stupa images on bas-reliefs by Mathura and Taxila-Sirkap. Near 1st century AD stupas in Mingora in the Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan, stone pillars that were once covered in stucco and ornate were excavated. The largest and most famous column from the Kushana period was the 28 meter high Minar-i Chakri south of Kabul in Afghanistan.

Stambhas at Chaityas (Buddhist cave temples) are preserved in front of India's largest cave temple in Karli west of Pune - it is a column with lion capitals resembling the Ashoka column from the 2nd century AD - and from the same period on both sides the entrance to cave # 3 in Kanheri in the back country of Mumbai.

Free-standing Buddhist stambhas were not built later; their mythological significance as a world axis went into the central mast (yasti) erected on the stupa, which carries the honorary umbrellas (chattravali). This symbolism was adopted by the Jainas, whose medieval temples have a Manas-Stambha in front of them. The Gupta iron column, which was erected around 400 in Delhi, is spectacular because of its material. In Hindu temples, the column erected on the main axis of the temple buildings ensures the cosmogonic order.

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