Manasara (English translation)

by Prasanna Kumar Acharya | 1933

This page describes “the dimension of buildings (bhumilamba)” which is Chapter 11 of the Manasara (English translation): an encyclopedic work dealing with the science of Indian architecture and sculptures. The Manasara was originaly written in Sanskrit (in roughly 10,000 verses) and dates to the 5th century A.D. or earlier.

Chapter 11 - The dimension of buildings (bhūmilamba)

1. I will (now) elaborate in order the rules regarding the dimensions of storeys in (this) science (of architecture).

2-4. The square, rectangular, circular (round), octagonal, hexagonal, oval (lit. circular with two corners) and so on: these are the various shapes (recommended for the storeys) which, increase or decrease (from one to twelve in order).

5. The dimensions of the (afore)-said storeys which vary from one to twelve should be (as stated below).

6-12. In the small type of one-storeyed building the five varieties of breadth and length should respectively begin with two and three cubits and end at ten and eleven cubits; in the intermediate type the five varieties should begin with four and five cubits, be increased by two cubits and end at twelve and thirteen cubits; and is thelarge type the five varieties should begin with, as I say, even and odd numbers, (namely), six and seven cubits and are stated to end at fourteen and fifteen cubits (the increment being as before).

13-19. The height inclusive of the plinth and ending by the pinnacle is stated by the ancients versed in the science (of architecture) to be twice the breadth in the smallest type of (one-storeyed) buildings; in the aforesaid intermediate type of one-storeyed buildings the height is stated to be greater than the breadth by three-fourths; and in the largest type of one-storeyed buildings the height should be greater than the breadth by one-half; as alternatives to these (proportions), in the largest type the height may be greater (than the breadth) by one-fourth, and in the smallest type the height may be equal to the breadth (in addition) to its being twice (the breadth).

20-23. The (aforesaid) five varieties of height from the largest type (downwards) are (known by) five names: (they are called) Śāntika and Pauṣṭika in the largest type, Jayada in the iutermediate type, and in the small type that (height) which is twice (the breadth) is called Adbhuta; and that height of building, which is equal to (its breadth), in addition to its being twice, is called Sarvakāmika.[1]

24-30. In the smallest type of two-storeyed buildings, the five varieties of dimensions (consisting in the measurement of breadth and length) should begin (respectively) with five and six cubits and be increased by two to thirteen and fourteen cubits; in the intermediate type (of two-storeyed buildings), the five varieties of dimensions should begin (respectively) with six and seven cubits and being increased by two cubits end at fourteen, and fifteen cubits; and in the largest type of two storeyed buildings the five varieties of dimensions are said by the ancients to begin with seven and eight cubits and end. at fifteen and sixteen cubits (the increment being by two cubits).

31-33. Corresponding to the five varieties of dimensions (of breadth and length), the five varieties of heights (known as) Śantika, Pauṣṭika, Jayada, Sarvakāmika and the fifth, Adbhuta, should be determined in order according to the proportion set forth above.

34-39. (In the smallest type of three-storeyed buildings), the five varieties of dimensions should begin (respectively) with eight and nine cubits, be increased by two cubits and end at sixteen and seventeen cubits; (in the intermediate type) the five varieties of dimensions should begin (respectively) with nine and ten cubits, be increased by two cubits and end at seventeen and eighteen cubits; and (in the largest type) the five varieties of dimensions should begin with ten and eleven cubits and being increased by two each time (end at eighteen and nineteen cubits): these are said to be the three sets (of measures) for the three-storeyed buildings.

40. The (corresponding five varieties of) heights in the smallest, intermediate and largest types respectively (of three-storeyed buildings) should be made as before.

41-44. In the smallest type of four-storeyed buildings, the five varieties of breadth are stated to be nine, eleven, thirteen, fifteen and seventeen cubits, and the five varieties of length, represented by even number of cubits, are ten, twelve, fourteen, sixteen and eighteen cubits; and the heights, as before (i.e. in correspondence witch the dimensions) should be twice the breadth (i.e. of the Adbhuta kind)[2]: these are the three sets (of measures).

45-48. Eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty cubits: of these the odd numbers represeat the five varieties.of breadth and the even numbers five varieties of length, in the intermediate type of four-storeyed buildings; and the height, corresponding to the dimensions, is in (this type of) four-storeyed buildings said to be what is known as Pauṣṭika.

49-52. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty and twenty-one cubits; twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five and twenty-six cubits: these are the (three sets of) five varieties (of breadth, length and height) for the largest type of four-storeyed buildings; the height being of the Śāntika kind[3].

53-55. For the smallest type of five-storeyed-buildings the five varieties (of breadth, length and height) should begin with eleven cubits, be increased by one cubit and end at twenty-five cubits, the height being (known as) Jayada[4]: these are the three sets (of measures).

56-58. Similarly for the intermediate type of five-storeyed buildings the (three sets of) five varieties (of breadth, length and height) should begin with twelve cubits, and, being increased as before by one cubit, should end at twenty-six cubits, the height being (known as) Pauṣṭika[5].

59-61 For the largest type of five-storeyed buildings the (two sets of five varieties of) dimensions (i.e. breadth and length) should begin with thirteen cubits and (being increased by one cubit) end at twenty-two cubits[6]; in this instance the height should be either of Śāntika or of the Pauṣṭika proportion.

62-64. For the smallest type of six-storeyed buildings the (two sets) of five varieties of dimensions (of breadth and length) are stated to begin with fourteen cubits and increasing by one cubit end at twenty, three cubits; and the height is stated to be either of the Sarvakāmika kind or twice the breadth (i.e. of the Adhbuta kind).

65-67. For the intermediate type of six-storeyed buildings the (two sets) of five varieties of dimensions (of breadth and length) are stated to begin with fifteen cubits and increasing by one cubit end at twenty-four cubits; and the height is stated be be of the Jayada proportion.

68-71. For the largest type of six-storeyed buildings the (two-sets) of five varieties of dimensions (of breadth and length) are stated to begin with sixteen cubits and increasing by one cubit; extend up to twenty-five cubits; and the height should be of the Śāntika proportion, but as an alternative the expert architect may make the height of the Pauṣṭiba proportion.

72-77. From seventeen cubits up to twenty-six cubits, the increment being as before (i.e. by one); from eighteen cubits up to twenty-seven cubits, the increment being as before; and from nineteen cubits up to twenty-eight cubits; these are said to be respectively the smallest, the intermediate and the largest types of five varieties of dimensions (of breadth, and length) in the seven-storeyed buildings; and the heights, Śāntika, Pauṣṭika, Jayada, Adbhūta and Sarvakāmika, should correspond respectively to the largest and other (i.e. the intermediate and the smallest) types of dimensions.

78-82. Prom twenty-nine cubit up to thirty-three cubits, from thirty up to thirty-four cubits, and from thirty-one up to thirty-five cubits; these are said to be the three types, the smallest, etc., of five varieties of dimensions (of breadth, and length), and to this (type of) eight-storeyed buildings the (corresponding) Śāntika and other heights should be given as before.

83-87. From thirty-two to thirty-six cubits; from thirty-three cubits to thirty-seven cubits, the increment being as before, and from thirty-four to thirty-eight cubits, the increment being by one cubit; these are said to be the three types, from the smallest to the largest, of five varieties of dimensions (breadth and length) in the nine-atoreyed buildings; and the (corresponding) heights are said to be the aforesaid five, the Śāntika and others.

88-92. From thirty-three to forty-two cubits; from thirty-four to forty-three cubits; and from thirty-five to forty-four cubits: these are said to be (the three sets in) the fifteen varieties of dimensions (of breadth and of length) (consisting of five varieties for each of the three types), from the smallest to the largest in the ten-storeyed buildings; and the corresponding heights are said to be the Śāntika and others.

93-97. From thirty-four up to forty-three cubits; from thirty-five up to forty-four cubits, and from thirty-sis up to forty-five cubits: these are said to be (the three sets in) the fifteen varieties of dimensions (of breadth and length), consisting of the smallest etc., in the eleven-storeyed buildings; and the five kinds of heights, from the plinth to the pinnacle, should be as before.

98-102. From thirty-five to forty-four cubits; from thirty-six up to forty-five cubits; and from thirty-seven to forty-six cubits: these are said to be (the three sets in) the fifteen varieties of dimensions (of breadth and length); and the corresponding five heights should be as before; the learned architect should thus construct (i.e. measure) the twelve-storeyed buildings of the smallest, the intermediate and the largest types.

103-104. This (height as given above) is stated to be for the Jāti class of buildings (only), for the Chanda and the other classes, namely, Saṃkalpa and Ābhāsa, the Śāntika (and other heights) should be respectively three-fourths, one-half (cubit) and one-fourth (of those for the Jāti class).

105-106. The architect learned, in the rules of the Tantra (science of architecture) should build edifices (of the Jāti, Chanda, Saṃkalpa, and Ābhāsa classes) taking into consideration the three kinds of measures (also), namely, the smallest, the intermediate, and the largest types respectively, which are ascertained is accordance with the aforesaid proportions (lit. by the number of cubits, as increased in the several types).

107-112. The aforesaid (five kinds of) heights are described (here) in order as before: (i.e. the five kinds where) the height is twice (the breadth), greater by one-fourth, and greater by one-half (should remain as before); in the alternative the height may be greater (than the breadth) by three-fourths in the five proportions, namely, the Śāntika and others, but in case of the Pauṣṭika (proportion) the height may be greater (than the breadth) by three-eighths or two-thirds; all the (five kinds of) these heights are thus stated in the Jāti (class of) buildings.

113. These heights are used for halls (śālās) and gate-houses (gopuras) belonging to the palaces of Kings and the temples of Gods.

114. The five kinds of height beginning with Śāntika are determined by comparing them separately with the breadth.

115-116. The master (of the building) will die if the reverse of this be done; therefore, the heights of buildings (as laid down) should not be ignored by architects in accordance with (i.e., following) the rules (tantra).

117. The heights of all kinds of residential buildings are (also) described (here).

118-121. The heights of all (classes of) gate-houses (gopuras)[7] are taken, (from the plinth)[8] up to the head or the apex (i.e. the finial), but in caso of the Dvāraśālā (class of gate houses) (which is erected) for the second (court) the suitable height may extend to the extreme end (of the building proper) or up to the finial, and in case of the Dvāraśobhā (class of gate-houses, which is erected for the first court) the suitable height should extend up to the uttara (of the entablature)[9]: these are the śāntika and Pauṣṭika (which are applied to the largest type of) heights suitable for the gate-houses, (the others being as stated before).

122-126. Otherwise (i.e. finally) the dimensions of all the storeys in comparison with the measure (i.e. the area) of the (whole) edifice are now specified in order: the dimensions (of length and breadth) in the three types, namely, the smallest and others (i.e. the intermediate and the largest, for each of the twelve storeys) should begin (respectively) with six and five cubits and increasing (respectively) by two and three cubits end (respectively) at ninety-three and ninty-four (cubits): these dimensions should cover the twelve storeys, from the plinth to the apes of the dome; similarly the measures (lit. cubit) of the five proportions of height, namely, the Śāntika and the others (i.e. Pauṣṭika, Jayada, Sarvakāmika and Adbhuta) is stated to extend from the plinth up to the apex of the dome.

127. There should be one to two storeys in the palace of the Kalpagrāma (i.e. Astragrāhin class of) kings,

128. The palace of the Prāhāraka (class of) kings is stated to have one to three storeys.

129. The palace of the Paṭṭabhāj (class of) kings is stated to possess one to four storeys[10].

130. The palace of the Narendra (otherwise) called Mahendra, class of) kings is stated to have three to eight storeys,

131. The palace of the Mahārāja (otherwise called Adhirāja, class of) kings is stated to have three to nine storeys.

132. The palace of the Cakravartin (class of) kings should be of five to twelve storeys.

133. The palaca of the Crown Prince is stated to be of one to three storeys.

134-135. The palaces of those (i.e. the feudatory kings) beginning with Sāmanta should be of one to three storeys, and those of all (other) petty kings should be of one to three storeys.

136-137. The buildings of the (following) five (classes of people, namely), the Sthapati (architect), the Sthāpaka (builder), the Gabhastika (army masters, military officers), the Yūthaka (leaders, chiefs), and the twice bora (in general), may possess one, two or three storeys.

138. The buildings of the base-born (Ugrajāti) also may possess one, two or three storeys.

139. The staples for elephants and for horses should be most fittingly made of one storey.

140-141. The temples of all gods and the palaces of the kings of all other castes are said to possess one to the last (i.e. twelve) storeys and one to nine-storeys (respectively).

142-140. The small (residential) buildings are thus described: they are made of small measure on account of their small size; and all the small temples like the aforesaid (small) residential buildings are stated to be built similarly (i.e. with, small number of storeys).

144. The (isolated) pavilion (i. e. temple) should be made of nine storeys, in the alternative the (i.e. such) temple (when built) in the central theatre-like quadrangle may be of larger size (i.e, with more than nine storeys) than the isolated pavilion,

145. These dimensions of storeys have been (thus) described by all the ancients versed in the Tantra (science of architect are).

Thus in the Mānasāra, the science of architecture, the eleventh chapter, entitled: “The description of the dimensions of storeys.”

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

These proportions are more clearly laid down elsewhere (XXXV. 19—25); but therein they are slightly different:

Śāntika (height) = (breadth).
Pauṣṭika (height) = 1¼ (breadth).
Jayada (height) = 1½ (breadth).
Dhanada (elsewhere called Sarvakāmika) (height) = 1¾ (breadth).
Adbhuta (height) = twice (breadth).

[2]:

In this kind the height is twice of the breadth (see note under lines 20-23).

[3]:

This kind of height is one-and-one-half times the breadth (see note under lines 20—23), hence the absolute measures of height specified here do not satisfy the general proportion indicated by the Śāntika height.

[4]:

As in the case of the large type of four-storeyed building (see lines 49—52) the dimensions are:—

Breadth—11, 13, 15, 17, 19.
Length.—12, 14, 16, 18, 20.
Height—21, 22, 23, 24, 25.

[5]:

That is, breadth—15, 14, 16, 18, 20.
length—13,15, 17, 19, 21.
height—22, 23, 24, 25, 26.

[6]:

That is, breadth—13, 15, 17, 19, 21.
length—14, 16, 18, 20, 22.

[7]:

Dvāraśobhā (for the first court), Dvāraśāla, (for the second), Dvāraprāsāda (for the third), Dvāraharmya (for the fourth court) and Mahāgopura (for the last court) (see Chap. XXXIII).

[8]:

See lines 15-19.

[9]:

Uttara is the lowest division of the entablature (see the writer’s Dictionary under Uttara).

[10]:

Similarly the Maṇḍaleśa, class of kings should have one to five-storeyed palaces, the Paṭṭadhara class one to six-storeyed palaces and the Pārṣṇika class one to seven-storeyed palaces: those are apparently missing if not implied in lines 134-135 or 140-141.

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