Manasara (English translation)

by Prasanna Kumar Acharya | 1933 | 201,051 words

This page describes “the general features of edifices (vimana-lakshana)” which is Chapter 18 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 18 - The general features of edifices (vimāna-lakṣaṇa)

1. The general characteristic features of edifices (vimāna-lakṣaṇa) also will now be briefly described.

2-3. The edifices fit for the residence of the gods and the twice-born begin from one storey and end at twelve storeys.

4-5. The number of parts into which, they are divided (i.e. the front elevation) their (different) shapes, the features of the domes, etc., and then, in order the measurements of the pent roofs, and the construction of the domes—all these (will be described) in order.

6-9. The best ground should be dug as deep as (the height) of a man with uplifted arms in order to reach water or rook, and this (excavation) should-be filled up with sand mixed with water, and (hardened) by beating it with a piece of wood shaped like the elephant’s foot. Upon such a strengthened (foundation.) edifices (of various storeys) should be built in accordance with the requirement.

10-12. In the smallest type of one-storeyed edifices there are stated to be six kinds of division (of breadth) in cubit selected as aforesaid, namely, one, two, three, four, five, or six.[1]

13. In the intermediate type of one-storeyed edifices there should be five, six, or seven divisions.

14. In the largest type of one-storeyed edifices there should be six, seven, or eight divisions.

15. In the smallest type of two-storeyed edifices there should be five, sis, or seven divisions.

16. In the intermediate type of two-storeyed edifices there should be six, seven, or eight divisions.

17. In the largest of type of two-storeyed edifices there should be seven, eight, or nine divisions.

18. In the smallest type of three-storeyed edifices there should be seven or eight divisions.

19. In the intermediate type of the three-storeyed edifices there should be nine or ten divisions.

20. In the largest type of three-storeyed edifices there should be eleven or twelve divisions.

21. In the smallest type of the four-storeyed edifices there should be eight, nine, or ten divisions.

22. In the intermediate type of the four-storeyed edifices there should be nine, ten, or eleven divisions.

23. In the largest type of the four-storeyed edifices there, should be ten, eleven, or twelve divisions.

24-25. In the smallest type of the five-storeyed edifices the width should be divided into nine, ten, eleven, or twelve divisions by the learned architects.

26-27. Ten, eleven, twelve, or thirteen divisions should be made in the width of the intermediate type of the five-storeyed edifices.

28-29. The width should be divided into eleven, twelve, thirteen, or fourteen divisions in the largest type of the five-storeyed edifices.

30-31. The width should be increasingly divided into twelve, thirteen, fourteen, or fifteen divisions in the smallest type of sixstoreyed edifices.

32-33. The width is said to be divided into thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, or sixteen divisions is the intermediate type of six-storeyed buildings.

34-35. Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen divisions are said to be made in the largest type of six-storeyed, edifices; the expert architect should do accordingly.

36-37. Fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen divisions (should be made) is the smallest type of seven-storeyed edifices.

38-40. Fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen, (or nineteen) divisions should be made in the intermediate type of seven-storeyed edifices.

41-43. There are stated to be sixteen, seventeen, eighteen nineteen, or twenty divisions in the largest type of seven-storeyed edifices; the expert (architect) should do accordingly.

44-46. The width should be divided into seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, or twenty divisions in. the smallest type of eight-storeyed edifices; (these) edifices should be built according to these divisions.

47-49. The width, of edifices being divided into eighteen, nineteen, twenty, or twenty-one divisions, the intermediate type of eight-storeyed edifices should be built in accordance with the measurement of these divisions.

50-51. In the largest type of eight-storeyed edifices there should be nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, or twenty-two divisions.

52-54. In the smallest type of nine-storeyed edifices the width should be divided into twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, or twenty-three divisions

55-57. In the intermediate type of nine-storeyed edifices the width by the middle should be divided into twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, or twenty-four divisions,

58-60. There are stated to be twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, ox twenty-five divisions in the largest type of nine-storeyed edifices; the expert architect should do accordingly.

61-63. The width, by the middle should be divided into twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five, or twenty-six divisions is the smallest type of tea-storeyed edifices.

64-66. The width should be divided into twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six, or twenty-seven divisions in the intermediate type of tea-storeyed edifices.

67-69. The width should be divided into twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight divisions in the largest type of tenstoreyed edifices.

70-72. The measure of width should be divided into twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, or twenty-nine divisions in the smallest type of eleven-storeyed edifices.

73-75. The width is said to be divided into twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, or thirty divisions in the intermediate type of eleven-storeyed edifices.

76-78. The width at the base of the edifice should be divided into twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty, and thirty-one divisions in the largest type of eleven-storeyed edifices.

79-81. The width should be divided into twenty-nine, thirty, thirty-one, or thirty-two divisions in the smallest type of twelve-storeyed edifices.

82-84. The measure of width should be divided into thirty, thirty-one, thirty-two, or thirty-three divisions in the intermediate type of twelve-storeyed edifices.

85-87. In the width there should be thirty-two, thirty-three, thirty four, and thirty-five divisions in the largest type of twelve-storeyed edifices; the expert architect should (thus) make the divisions[2].

88-89. These divisions should end by the outside of the corner pillar and the middle of the middle pillar; this should be done according to one’s discretion.

90-91. From above the basement up to the dome it (an edifice) may be square or rectangular; its shape (of the portion) from the neck to the pinnacle should be oval, or circular (i.e. round).

92. It (the edifice) should be furnished with three, two, or one dome.

93. That (type of edifices) which is of quadrangular form is called Nāgara (northern)[3].

94-96. That (type) is named Vesara (eastern) the upper portion of whose basement is of the circular or elliptical form, from the neck (of the dome) to the apex it is fittingly quadrangular, and from above the circular part it is oval.

97-99. The Drāviḍa, (Deccan or southern type) is stated to be octagonal or hexagonal from the basement up to the apes (of the dome); as an alternative its forepart may be rectangular (and) the part below the neck quadrangular; and its top part should be as before.

100-105. They (those types of edifices) should be furnished with pinnacles of uniform shape and should be three in number placed lengthwise; the dome placed upon the oval portion should be circular or quadrangular; this form should be given, to the part from cyma (padma) to the bud (kuḍmala); each of these (pinnacles) should be of four kinds, namely, beginning from one cubit and a quarter and increased by six aṅgulas, ending at four cubits; they should (again) be of the smallest to the largest types and be placed in edifices of one to twelve storeys.

106-110. Then the height of these (domes) are stated in accordance with the castes (of those who occupy the edifices): in case of the Śūdras they should be one cubit (in height), and in case of the Vaiśyas two cubits; in case of the crown prince those of the measure of two-and-a-half cubits should be fitting; for the kings these of three cubits, for the Brahmans those of three cubits and a half, and for the gods the height of the domes (of their edifices) should be made four cubits.

111-120. It (the height of the dome) from the bridge moulding (pālikā) to the bud being divided into seventeen parts, the height of the bridge should be one-and-a-half parts, and the fillet (vājana) half a part; the height of the cyma (padma) should be three parts, and the neck (kandhara) one part; the fillet-cyma (kampa-padma) should be half a part, and the height of the pitcher (kumbha) two parts; the lotus with petal above (the pitcher) should be constructed of one part and a half; above that the height of the pinnacle-staff (daṇḍa) is said to be three parts; the fillet-cyma (kampa-padma) should be half a part, and the fillet (vājana) also half a part; above that the fillet-cyma (kampa-padma) should be constructed of one part and a half; the height of the bud (kuḍmala) at the middle of the height of the pinnacle-staff (daṇḍa) should be two parts; if it is to be properly furnished with ornaments it should be covered with filaments of the lotus.

121-125. As an alternative the height of the dome may be measured in daṇḍa (rods)[4]; the height of the bridge-moulding (pālikā) should be one rod (daṇḍa) and the height of the cyma (padma) three rods (daṇḍa); the neck (kandhara) should be one rod (daṇḍa), and the height of the pitcher (kumbha) two rods and a half; the upper band (paṭṭa) should be one rod, and the height of the bud (kuḍmala) two rods; and the rest should be given to the middle part of the pinnacle-staff (daṇḍa), and it should be ornamented as before.

126-127. The length of the head (śiras) should be five parts, and that of the bridge (pālikā) three parts; their breadths should be five parts and four parts and a half (respectively).

128. The length of the cyma (abja) should be three parts, and (its breadth) one of these three parts.

129. The ear (karṇa) should be (placed) above the cyma (padma), and the width of the pitcher (kumbha) three times that (of the cyma).

130-181. The length of the pitcher (kumbha) should be nine parts, and the width of the pinnacle-staff (daṇḍa) one part; the length of the staff should be three parts, the bridge (pāli) the same (three parts), and the bud (kuḍmala,) one part.

132. The large lotus (mahābja) sliotild be furnished with eight petals, and the rest should be constructed according to one’s discretion.

133-134. Below that (the lotus) the projecting moulding (vihṛta) should be twice that, and half of the latter should be the supporting small band, and its larger band should also be half of it, and twice that (band) should be the cyma below.

135. With the rest should be made the petal: the breadth should be discreetly laid out (i.e. ornamented).

136-140. They (the edifices) should be built of stone, brick, wood and iron; (as regards materials) the edifice should be of three kinds, namely, simple (śuddha), mixed (miśra) and amalgamated (saṃkīrṇa): it is (stated to be) śuddha when it is built of one material Only, miśra when built of two materials, and when the edifice is built of three materials, namely stone, brick, and wood, it is called saṃkīrṇa; but the best architect; should preferably build (them) with one material.

The Dome-nail:

141. The length, breadth, and the features of the dome-nail (kīla) will be described now.

142. The length of the dome-nail should be equal to the length of the pillar in the upper storey, or one and half times the height of the neck (of the dome), and its width should be equal to the diameter by the base of the dome-nail.

145-146. As an alternative, the width, of the nail (of the dome) at its base should be one aṅgula in measure: an iron or wooden nail should be (fixed) as before of (i.e. measuring) twenty-three or twenty-four aṅgulas.

147-148. The length. (i.e. body) of the nail is stated to be triangular, base square, middle part octagonal, and the fore-part (top) circular.

149. The width (of the nail) at the top should be one aṅgula, it being tapering gradually from base to top.

150. The middle part of the nail may otherwise be shaped in conformity with the apex,

151-154. The width of the dome-nail is stated to be three times its length which is measured by the outside of the base, and its thickness should be half the breadth of the base of the nail: such base of the nail (as would be fitting) should be given, thereto (i.e. to the nail).

155. The nail should be made of copper, iron, and wood whichever maybe available.

156-167. The architect together with the workmen should select wood as stated before: the khadira (acacia catechu), khādira (catechu), tintriṇī (tamarind), and other strong (sāra pithy,) trees.

158-159. The learned architect should at that time (when it is made of wood) mark (lit. announce) the face of the dome-nail, and the carpenter should make it straight (even), by cutting, but must not break it.

160. The dome-nail is thus described; the features of the brick will be described nest).

161. It (the brick) should be measured as before, and the male and female bricks must be distinguished.

162-163. The brick is known as male when it is uniform in length from bottom to top, and it is female when it tapers from bottom to top.

164-165. In stone-built edifices it (the nail) should be made of stone, and in brick built ones of brick, and in male edifices it (the brick) should be male, and in female, female.

166. When the stone is collected it (also) should be distinguished as male and female.

167. The brick at the top is thus described. The features of the pent-roof (lupā) will now be (specially) described.

The features of the pent-roofs:

168-169. The height (of the pinnacle) should be twice the height of the dome (stūpi), or it may be (of any other proportion) conforming to the height of the edifice: such should be the height of the pinnacle (śikhara), and half of it should be the height of its neck.

170. The pinnacle should conform to the pentroof, inclusive of its neck and extending up to the (upper) base.

171. The neck as stated in connection with the entablature should extend from the upper fillet (uttara) down to the stalk.

172. Above that should be constructed the pinnacle-staff (daṇḍaka) The measurement of the pentroof is stated here (below).

173-180. The measurement of the pentroofs (in the houses) of the gods and men (will be described) in order: ambara, viyat, jyotis, gagana, vihāyas, ananta, antarikṣa, and puṣkala, these eight kinds of pentroofs should be constructed in the edifices (temples) of gods; this has been prescribed by the ancients; mahī, jyā, kāśyapī, kṣauṇī, ūrvī, gotrā, vasundharā, and vasudhā, these eight kinds of pentroofs are said to be constructed is the edifices of men; but all these are fit for (temples of) gods, but for men (i.e. residential buildings) only those prescribed are fit, because the measurement (of the pentroofs) prescribed for temples is never desirable for (the pentroofs in) human dwellings.

181. When its elevation and width are equal to the height of the pinnacle it (the pentroof) is (called) ambara.

182. When its width and elevation are respectively eight and seven (in proportion) it (the pentroof) is (called) viyat.

183. When its width and elevation are seven and six in proportion it (the pentroof) is (called) jyotis.

184. When its breadth and height are six and five in proportion it (the pentroof) is known as gagana.

185. When its width and elevation are five and four (in proportion) it (the pentroof) is (known as) vihāyas.

186. When its width and] elevation are four and three (in proportion) it is ananta.

187. When its breadth and elevation are three and two (in proportion) it is antarikṣa.

188. When its diameter (i.e. width) and elevation are two and one (in proportion) it (the pentroof) is called puṣkala.

189. The width of the corner (lit. ear) which is built at a distance of twice the elevation (of the pentroof) should be one cubit.[5]

190-191. As an alternative (to what has been said) the height of the pinnacle (śikhara) being divided into eight parts (which are also the height of the roof)[6] and its width being one part more (i.e. nine) it (the pentroof) is called mahī by the learned.

192. When its elevation is seven parts and width (lit. the first one) eight it (the pent roof) is known as jyā.

193. When its elevation is six parts and width seven it (the pentroof) is called kāśyapī.

194. When its elevation is five parts and width six it (the pentroof) is known as kṣauṇi.

195. When its elevation is four parts and diameter (i.e. width) five it (the pentroof) is called ūrvī.

196. When its elevation is three parts and width four parts it (the pentroof) is called gotrā.

197. When its elevation is two parts and width three parts it (the roof) is (called) vasundharā.

198. (And) when its elevation is one part and diameter (i.e. width) two parts, it (the pentroof) is (called) vasudhā.

199. As before the width of the corner (lit. ear) is stated to be one cubit.

200-203. At the top, side, and end of the council chambers, pavilions and, gateways, upon the nose (lit. vestibule) and porch of the halls, at the summit and neat (part) of the arches, and at the (pigeon’s beak-shaped) corona and cage (part) at the top of all buildings, the best architect should make (the pentroofs) like the elephant’s trunk.[7]

204-205. When this (the pent-roof) is made in the middle part it should extend up to the end of the ear (karṇa) and be made like a flight; of stairs in descending order; its measurement will now be described.

206. The wise architect should construct a row of pentroofs[8] of the vikalpa type between the two middle ears (karṇa).

207-209. There may be one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, and twelve pentroofs; but according to some the increment may be by one (two) and there may be furnished one, three, five (rows of) pentroofs (and soon).[9]

210. Those pentcroofs which are made like a flight of stairs are of the chanda type.

211. It is faulty to have an even number of the vikalpa type (of pentroofs) in the temples of gods and in the palaces of emperors.

212. Therefore, the wise (architect) should coustruct the pent-roofs in the buildings of the Śūdras and others in a decreasing number.

213. This (rule) should be followed in the principal buildings, especially in the small ones.

214. For (the buildings of) the Brahmans one to eleven (pentroofs) of the vikalpa class are fitting.

215. For the (palaces of the) kings one to nine vikalpa (pentroofs) are stated (i.e. prescribed).

216. For the (residences of the) crown princes one to eight vikalpa (pentroofs) are fitting.

217. For (the houses of) the Vaiśyas one to seven vikalpa (pentroofs) are stated (i.e. prescribed).

218. And for the (dwellings of the) Śūdras one to five vikalpa (pentroofs) are suitable.

219. For (the buildings of) all other low caste people one to three vikalpa (pentroofs) should be (suitable) as before.

220. Thus are stated the rows of pentroofs which should be constructed by the best architect.

221. The measure of the pentroof at the middle should desirably extend up to the ear (karṇa)[10].

222 All those (pentroofs) of the vikalpa class which extend from (a point) other than the middle should be partitioned (suitably).

223-224. The width of (all) the pentroofs should conform to the measure of the ears, and their length is (also) stated to be in conformity with the measure of their ears.

225-226. Its (the pentroofs) inclination should be equal to, one-and-one-fourth, or one-and a-half times its length and of its width.

227. It (the pentroof) should be of proper measure and of suitable proportion, and should be placed in its proper place.

228-229. The width at the base of the pentroof should be three, four, five, or six parts (aṅgulas), and it should extend up to the end of its inclination (which) should be equal to, or three-fourths, or half of it,

280. Its thickness preperably all oyer should be one, two, or three aṅgulas (parts).

231. And the width, of all other parts should be made in accordance with. one’s discretion.

232-284. The width (of the pentroof) should be extended one, two, or three (parts) above the pillar, and the aforesaid width of the pentroof should extend (also) to the end of its beam; there is no defect if the forepart of the pentroof extend to the lower pillar.

235-236. Nine lines are drawn (lit. chords are spread) from one ear (karṇa) to another; the belly (part of the pentroof) is known to be below those lines at their forehalf.

237-238. Four lines (chords) should meet at the belly part of the pentroof; whereof the shape may be like the crescent or the (full) moon if that suits and is desired,

239. There should be one or two holes at the bottom of the uppermost fillet (vājana).

210. The hole should be made below the line (chord) joining the slope at the end of the crescent-shaped roof (lit. moon).

241 The best architect should fix a cane (vetra) pattern at that hole extending from the support of the pentroof.

242. All the middle pentsroofs in a row may number as many as one likes.

243. The variegated blooming karavira flowers should be constructed (therein).

244. Together with the addition of a petal the pentroof should be made at the two ears (karṇa).

245. Its top should be slightly opened and the bottom firmly closed.

246. One pent roof should be constructed on the ear (karṇa) and many at the side.

247. The cocoanut petals of all sizes, long, short, and broad, should be constructed (on the pentroof as a decorative device).

248. Many buds should be constructed at the ears of the pentroofs (furnished) with many appendages.

249. These are said to be the features (in general, of the pent-roofs); they should be fitted (to the edifice) like a ridge (kaṭaka).

250. Above the parapet staff (daṇḍikā) there should be a fillet (vājana), and this (staff; should be constructed above the end of the pentroof.

251. Inclined figures of the sea-fish should be made to the left and right (of the pentroof).

252. This has been introduced by me; this should be constructed in the temples of the gods.

253-254. The pentroofs should be made circular, hexagonal, octagonal, or rectangular (i.e. flat), and their measurement should be made as aforesaid.

255-257. I (make) the five kinds of pentroofs, in accordance with the castes; thus (they include) the addition of two together with three, and ending with the fourth (caste), as (they are required) for the gods and men, (the latter) ending with the people of the Śūdra caste[11].

258. All these (pentroofs) extending from the middle to the ear (of a structure) should be made like a flight of stairs.

259-261. The vikalpa type (of pent roofs) of the shape of the forepart of a conch-shell should look like a row of conch-shells; they should be made inclining from the right side as stated before (and) furnished with many fillets: they are called the Śaṅkhāvarta (row of conch-shells); they should be employed in the edifices (i.e. temples) of gods.

262. But as an alternative, all the pent roofs may have a straight (flat) look (lit. face).

263-264. They should, be furnished with, various paintings, holes, and cane-patterns (vetra), and be made sufficiently strong and beautiful, and the rest should be made according to one’s discretion.

265. This is said to be the pent roof on the upper part (namely), the pinnacle (śikhara) or above the entablature (ambara).

266. Planks (phalakā) with projection (kṣepaṇa) should be fixed (thereon) with, nails made of copper or iron.

267. The drum of the ear (karoṭi) should be made of gold or earth,

268. It should be properly besmeared by the wise (architect) with molasses, water, and mortar.

269. The orescent (prati) should be attached, to the inside or outside, or on the upper part (of the pent roof).

270-271. They (the roofs) should be made upon the entablatures as is aforesaid, just as the pedestal is made at the base (pillar), of the roof for strength and beauty.

272. If the measurement be other than what has been prescribed it would bring forth misfortune and evil.

273. Therefore, if all things be made as prescribed, it would be the source of prosperity.

274. For the sake of beauty and strength a circular fillet (kampa-vṛtta) should be (fixed) at the base of the pentroof.

The Front Porch:

275. For all (the edifices) there should be a front porch (mukhabhadra), of which the characteristic features will now be described.

276-278. Beginning from the support of the pinnacle (śikhara) extending to the end of the bridge (pālikā), or beginning from the top of the entablature and then carried up to its crowning fillet (uttara)[12]—thus should be the height of the front porch (mukhabhadra), and its width should be as aforesaid.

279-283. Of the seventeen parts of the height (of the porch), two parts should be the height of the entablature; the height of the platform (vedikā) should be one part, and the height of the neck (gala) three parts; twice that should be the height of the bottom (tala), thence up to the end of the finial (śikhā) should he four parts for the finial (śikhā): the neck (gala) should be one part, and the face (vaktra) three parts; and the rest should be the end the apex.

283-284. It being again (divided) into fifteen parts, the entablature and all otter mem[?]ers should be made as stated before.

285. The nose (nāsikā) and its support should be one part each, or the support may be two parts

286. Five and two parts should be the length, and half of that should be the breadth of the belly (kukṣi).

287-289. At the end of the belly (kukṣi) should be made a (miniature) house (sadma) or a window (vātāyana), or (therein) should be made a leaf of the shape of a window (gavākṣa) or as support of the plate (paṭṭikā); otherwise it may be decorated with paintings and all (other) ornaments.

290. Surrounding the outside of the nose (nāsikā) should be furnished leaves of the shape of a window (gavākṣa).

291-292. From this towards the upper part of the inner side it should be decorated with the images of gods, genii, leographs, lions, geese, trees, and creepers, etc.

293. At its top should be made the monumental face (kīrti-vaktra) in the shape of a projection.

294-295. By the side of its nest-like support (nīḍa-lambana) and also by the two sides of the breast (middle part), it should be furnished with the images of the demigods, vidāyādharas and others, and with the images of the crocodiles (grāha).

296. The eyes (of the crocodile) should be long and broad, and the cheeks round.

297. The ears at the end of the cheeks should be like those of the elephant, and look like waves at the end.

298. There should be two teeth in front of the mouth, and the four legs should be like those of the deer.

299. The distance below the eyes and above the nook (vaśaga)[13] should be three-faced lengthwise.

300. Its face should be like that of the sea fish and the tongue should be attached to the two small teeth.

301. All the limbs from the face to the tail should be decorated with leaves and creepers.

302. Its measurement should be made discreetly: the crocodile is thus described.

303-304. The wise architect should make the monumental face and the lion-face as aforesaid at the end of the ear, and on the forepart of the cheek, (as well as) on the dome (stūpika), and the topmost (śṛṅga) part, (of the structure).

305. From the middle of the two eyes attached to the face, should be made the root of the apes (śikhā-mūla).

306. The face should be (made) smiling, and the eyes looking to all (sides),

307. The two ears should be like those of a boar, and the two horns like those of a ram.

308. One of the teeth should slightly resemble a projecting tooth and should be attached to he root of the fang.

309. The cheeks on the two sides should be smiling, and should be straight and broad at the two foreparts.

310. The terrible eyes should be made dazzling with fury.

311. The face should be dark-blue all over (like) the face of the female crocodile.

312. The teeth and the lips should be white, and the face should be furnished with, two eyes and two ears.

313. The arms and the tail, etc., of the crocodile should project on all sides.

314. The dome and the topmost part should be furnished as aforesaid with leographs shaped like the village-dog.

315. The hair should suspend over the neck, and the long tail should be four times as long as that (hair).

316. The goose and the lion should be made as aforesaid with a little dark-blue colour all over.

317. The architect should discreetly furnish (the images of) the elephant, the horse, and other animals.

318-319. In the palaces of Kings the images of gods, godesses, demons, and the demi-gods, yakṣas and vidyādharas, should be carved as aforesaid.

320. In the buildings of all other people the images excluding those of gods and demons should be carved.

321. The images of Sarasvatī (goddess of learning) and Lakṣmī (goddess of wealth) should be made in all buildings.

322-324. In all kinds of palaces, pavilions (maṇḍapa), gatehouses (gopura), gate-ways (dvāraka), and in all types of temples of the gods and the dwellings of the Brahmans, the front porch (mukhabhadra) should be constructed and be decorated with all ornaments.

325. The wise (architect) should construct the window below the nest-like parts (nīḍa,) and the neck (grīva).

326. In the centre a door should be fixed and the window should be furnished with panels.

327. These (windows) should be constructed in the pinnacle (śikhara), or on the topmost storey.

328. Interspaces should be ornamentally given to the middle or the forepart.

329 The expert measure[14] should (correctly) measure the pent-roof and (such otter) auxiliary (lit. inactive) objects.[15]

330. (In this way) should (also) be measured the eight kinds of nest-like pentroofs, namely, Ambara[16] (lit. sky) and others.

331-332. The pentroof may be made without the ear (wing); and the number of the pentroofs should be (fixed) in accordance with one’s discretion; whatever may be (the number) in edifices there would be no defect.

333-335. The pentroofs may be made surrounding the top of halls, nest-like portions, pinnacles, and the topmost part (of the edifice); their fore-half should serve the purpose of a support for the small dome in case of a solid structure

336-339. Twenty-one should be (the maximum number of pent-roofs) for all (kinds of buildings) of the gods (and Brahmans), the kings (i.e. Kṣattriyas), the Vaiśyas and others; the number ending at thirteen or an even number (of pentroofs) should be avoided at the top of edifices; this may be considered as an optional or compulsory rule.

(The erection of the Dome-nail)

340. The erection of the dome-nail (stūpi-kīla) in accordance with the rule will now be described,

341-342. A pavilion for sacrifice should be constructed in front of the main edifice or towards its north or north-east with the aforesaid characteristic features.

343. The ceremonies of sowing the seed (aṅkurārpaṇa) and consecration with invocation (adhivāsana) should be performed at the beginning.

344-345. The sthaṇḍila plan (of forty-nine plots) should be made in the pavilion and it should be marked with the śāli corn powder, or a plan of twenty-five plots (i.e. the upapīṭha) should be made, and (the boundary lines should be) marked with the powder of pure corn.

346-347. The kuśa grass should be spread over (the ground) and afterwards he (the architect) should wash his feet; then he should perform the ceremonies of washing the face (ācamana), and the gathering together of all things.

348-349. The architect together with the Brahmans should pronounce benediction, and (worship) Brahmā and other gods with perfumes, flowers, and incense, etc.

350. The dome-nail should (then) be raised up and placed on the central plot of the sthaṇḍila plan.

351. Four pieces of brick should be placed round the nail.

352. Beyond these, pots filled with pure water should be placed around.

353. The principal pot should be placed is the far end of the north-east.

354-355. Around it should be placed eight pots duly furnished with strings, cloths, bunches of eleven leaves, and auspicious fruits.

356. To the eastern side of the dome-nail (kīla) a gem and iron should be placed.

357. The receptacle of the gem should be covered with new cloths and bunches of leaves.

358. The dome-nail (stūpi-kīla) should be covered with new cloths and bunches of leaves.

359. The Lord of the universe should be prayed to in the main pot and be meditated on[17].

360-361. He should be worshiped with perfumes and flowers; dishes should be offered to Him, and then incense and lamp should be offered amidst the sound of music and dancing.

362-363. The eight female deities (śakti) should be worshipped in the eight pots placed on the east, etc. They should be worshipped in their different names, their address commencing with, the mystic syllable (om) and ending with namaḥ.

364. The dome-nail (stūpi-kīla) should be worshipped with perfumes, flowers, and incense.

365. The holy sacrifice with fire should then be performed in front of it (the nail) in the sacrificial pit (kuṇḍa) or the sacrificial plot (sthaṇḍila).

366-367. (In that sacrificial fire) samidh (plant), clarified butter, boiled rice, and fried rice should be offered twenty-five times each, by pronouncing the hṛllekhā-bīja,[18] (the address) commencing with om (praṇava) and ending with namaḥ.

368. After the sacrifice the architect should move to the boundary of the sacrifical ground (sthaṇḍila).

369. The ideal images of those gods in whose temples the dome-nail (stūpi-kīla) is to be placed should be meditated on.

370. And by pronouncing their own mantras (incantations), the dome-nail (stūpi-kīla) should be worshipped.

371. The wise (priest) should meditate on those four top-bricks as the seats of those gods (of the quarters).

372-373. The limbs being concealed under a new cloth[19], letters should be written with bricks: स (s), ह (h) क (k), etc., should be marked with a (sharp) weapon (respectively) in the east, etc.

374. The four sides of the dome-nail (stūpi-kīla) should be marked with a string, starting with the east.

375-377. The wise (architect) should hold up the face and mark the śrīvatsa figure[20] on the forehead; amidst the pronouncement of svasti (all be good), jaya (victory) and other such auspicious sounds it (the figure) should be written in gold (colour) with honey and milk, with a gold brush.

378-379. The best architects should (then) remove the covering (of cloth) and being accompanied by a calf and a. girl present (bo the pot) honey, clarified butter, and a heap of corn.

380. It (the dome-nail) should be worshipped with perfumes and flowers amidst all auspicious sounds.

381. It should then be covered with various cloths, and be ornamented with flower-garlands.

382. (With) a long bunch (of Kuśa grass) it should be worshipped, and the villages etc., should be circumambulated.

383-385. The dome-nail (stūpi-kīla) should be brought in, and be placed upon the edifice; on the side or top of the edge (pālikā) and nose (nāsikā) a jewel-pit should be dug, and the nail (kīla) should be placed thereon facing the east.

386. It should be worshipped with nine gems and (various) metals with those mantras (incantations).

387-389. Gold pieces should be placed in each of the three chambers inside the pit; copper should be placed on the east, and iron on the south, and silver on the west as well as on the north.

390-394. The ruby (padmarāga) should be placed in the centre, and the diamond (vajra) on the east, the coral (vidruma) on the south-east, the sapphire (nīla) on die south, the topaz (puṣpa-rāga) on the south-west, the emerald (marakata) on the west, the opal (gomedaha[21] on the north-west, the pearl (mauktika) on the north, and the lapis lazuli (spaṭika, lit. crystal) on the north-east.

394-395. These gems should be offered to the lords of those quarters in their own names, the address commencing with om and ending with namaḥ.

396-400. The architect should put on special dress, and his five limbs should be duly ornamented; and on an auspicious moment of a good lagna (conjunction of planets), amidst the pronouncement of victory and other auspicious sounds, and while the Brahmans utter the sound of svasti (may there be good) to their utmost, the dome-nail (stūpi-kīla) should be held up by the architect together with the workmen (sthāpaka) and be placed in the pit, and the essential part of the incantation (mūla-mantra) should be pronounced.

401. Four bricks should be placeḍ round the dome-nail (stūpi-kīla).

402. The letters beginning with श (ś) should be marked in order in the quarters beginning from the east and ending with the north-east.[22]

403-404. The architect should take the main pot and together with it circumambulate (the dome-nail) and sprinkle its water on the top of the dome-nail.

405. The four bricks should be worshipped with water from the pots placed on the east, etc.

406. Filling up (the kośā)[23] with pure water, he (the architect) should worship (the presiding deity of the dome-nail) with perfumes and flowers.

407. He should put on ornaments as before and offer dishes, etc. (to the deity).

408. The offering should be made ṭo consist of sixteen varieties[24] together with the perfume (gandha) and the unhusked rice (akṣata).

409. On the top of a domed edifice the foot-mark of the goose should be made.

410. ‘I bow to Thee, may it please Thee to save the master, the kingdom, and the village, etc.’ (should be the prayer).

411-412. With water mixed with mortar and molasses, and also with many bricks the dome-nail (stūpi-kīla should be firmly fixed, and thereafter lie (the architect) should do as directed before.

413. The dome should be installed (specially in. the temples) of Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Maheśvara (Śiva).

414. This being done, it would cause fruition and beatitude in the houses of the votaries and kings.

415-416. Wherefore, if it be not done, the master, the man and wife, the king, and the queen would suffer from some disease; therefore, this (installation of the dome), which gives all happiness, should be made in royal palaces and also in temples.

417-418. One should enter into his own house amidst music, singing and all other (auspicious) sounds, being accompanied by the Brahmans, conveyances, a well-wishing preceptor, artists and others, and elephants, and horses.

Thus in the Mānasāra, the science of architecture, the eighteenth chapter, entitled: “The general features of edifices.”

Footnotes and references:


These divisions or parts of the total measure (of width, breadth, and height) extend from the outside of the corner pillar to the middle of the central pillar (see lines 57, 78, 88, 89) and are allotted to the different component members of which an edifice is composed (see also lines 24), 57, 78,135).


In accordance with the preceding order this series should begin from thirty-one and end at thirty-four; but the order is nob uniformly followed, for instance in lines 34-35.


Further details of this type are apparently included in lines 90, 91, 92; similar details are given under the types called vesara (lines 94 96) drāviḍa, (lines 97-99). For fuller details see the writer’s Dictionary under nāgara (pages 299-316).


As a unit of measure four cubits or two yards make one daṇḍa; this would give unusual measures to the mouldings; daṇḍa[?] maybe taken here to imply not this unit but simply one of the several equal parts into which an object is divided. This interpretation seems to be implied by line 125.


Compare line 199.


Compare line 181.


See line 205 where it is stated that the pentroofs should look like a flight of stairs which bears some resemblance to the elephant’s trunk.


See lines 219-220.


See line 212 where it is stated that the number should decrease in an order.


Compare line 204.


The idea appears to be that the author distinguishes the roofs into five types in accordance with the five classes of buildings, namely, for the gods and the four castes of human-beings.


It sometime signifies the whole arcitrave and also denotes a particular member of the pedestal and entablature and resembles the corona or the square projection of the upper part of the cornice. For further details see the writer’s Dictionary (p. 79).


Literally submissive, hence support (for the head); compare kandhara, which also means that which holds up (dharayati) the head (kam).


That is, the measures of all these objects should be absolutely correct.


Literally, jaḍa means inanimate objects, that is the objects which do not form the essential part, hence it may imply members which are perhaps occasionally employed.


See lines 174-175 above.


If the image (mūrti) or painting (paṭa) cannot be made, a deity may be worshipped in a pot.


The mystic letter forming the essential part of the mantra (incantation) of a deity.


Like a photographer: but the object is mystical.


A special mark on the breast of Viṣṇu.


A gem of four different colours, namely, white, pale-yellow, red, and dark-blue; it is stated to be found in the Himalaya and the Indus.


The letters श, ष, स and ह, and क, ख, ग, and ध are marked respectively in the east, and other seven quarters; compare line 373.


A vessel wherefrom water is taken for worship.


See note 1 page 173.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: