by Prasanna Kumar Acharya | 1933 | 201,051 words
This page describes “the three-storeyed buildings (tritala or tribhumi)” which is Chapter 21 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.
1. The setting up and the general features of the three-storeyed buildings [viz., tritala or tribhūmi] will be described now.
2-3. Of the six parts of the height of the edifice (vimāna), the plinth (masūraka) should be one part and a half; the height of the pillar should be twice that (i.e., three parts), and the height of the entablature half of that (i.e., one part and a half).
4-8. The height of the upper pillar should be less than the height of the main pillar by one part; half of that should be the height of the entablature, and the base of the pillar should be twice the upper pillar; half of that should be the pillar above, and half of the latter should be the height of the platform (vedika) thereof; the upper fillet (kampa) should be twice that, and the height of the neck (grīva) two parts; and the remainder at the top should be the height of the finial (śikhā) which should be furnished with all ornaments.
10. The division of the width and height of these (three-storeyed) buildings should be made as aforesaid.
11. The smallest type in the three-storeyed buildings is known as śrīkānta.
12-21. As an alternative, the height of the three storeys should be divided into forty-nine parts: (of these) the base should be four parts, and the height of the pillar twice that (i.e., eight parts); the entablature (mañca) should equal to the base (i.e., four parts), and the cavetto (vapra) above the entablature should be half a part; the height of the pillar above should be six and three-fourths parts; above that the height of the entablature should be one part and a half; above that the cavetto (vapra) should be half a part, and the pillar above that six parts; the entablature (mañca) should be two parts and a half, and the band (paṭṭikā) above hall a part; the height of the platform (vedikā) should be one part, and that of the nock (grīva) three parts; the height of the spherical roof (śikhara) should be twice that (six parts), and the height of the finial (śikhā) three parts; the rest should be made as before; this is known as Āsana (typo of the threestoreyed buildings).
22-30. As an alternative, the height; of the three storeys should be divided into twelve parts; (of these) the plinth should be one part, and the height of the pillar two parts; half of that should be the height of the entablature, and three-fourths part the small pedestal (pīṭhaka) above; equal to that should be the base above, and twice that the height of the pillar; half of that should be its entablature above, and the plinth (masūraka) one part and a half; the height of the pillar should be one part, and that of the entablature (mañca) half a part; half of that should be the height of the platform (vedikā), and twice that the height of the neck (grīva); the head (dome) above should be twice the neck (grīva), and the height of the finial (śikha) half of the head; the rest should be made as before: this is known as Sukhālaya (the pleasure-house).
32-38. The Kamalāṅga is described here: there should be twenty-four divisions on its height and it should resemble the shape of the Śrīkānta; it should have windows all over but it should be without any side-tower; it should be furnished with various platforms (vedikā) and be decorated with various pillars; at its four quarters, doors should be constructed with mixed (various) materials; the wall (kuḍya) should be erected from the base, and above that should be furnished the pillar; it should be decorated with all ornaments; (thus) is described the Kamalāṅga (type of three-storeyed buildings).
41-49. As an. alternative, the measure of the height being divided into thirty parts, the base should be two parts, and twice that (i.e., four parts) the height of the pillar; half of that (i.e.} two parts) should be the height of the entablature, and the upper entablature (mañca) equal to that (i.e., two parts); the pillar above should be three and-a-half parts, and the entablature (māñcaka) one part and a half; equal to that (i.e., one and a half parts) should be the upper entablature (mañca), and the pillar above three parts; the entablature should be one and one-fourth parts, and equal to that the upper entablature (mañcaka); half of that should be the height of the platform (vedikā), and equal to that the height of the neck (kandhara); the height of the head (śiras) should be twice the neck (grīva), and the remainder should be the height of the dome (stūpi); furnished with the sidetower (karṇa-harmya), etc., it is known as Merukānta.
50-52. The same (height, i.e., 30 parts) being increased by one, the plinth (āsana) at the bottom should be three parts; twice that (i.e., six parts) should be the height of the pillar, and half of that the height of the entablature; and the upper limbs should be constructed as before: this is known as Kailāśa,
53. The circumambulating staircases for ascending should be constructed in this building also as before.
54. These are said to be the eight kinds of three-storeyed buildings of the largest type.
55. The width should be divided into a suitable number of parts, (of which) the pinnacles (kūṭa) should be one part each.
58. By one part all around the attic hall (kūṭaśālā) should be made.
50. At the end of that on the part enclosed above should be a reservoir of water.
61. The chain (hārā) and the middle-pavilion made of one-third of the funner should also be furnished.
62. They should be furnished with eight pinnacles (kūṭa), and eight compartments (koṣṭha).
63. They should be decorated with sixteen chains (hārā), and all sorts of ornaments.
64. They should be furnished with various bases and decorated with various pillars.
65. They should be ornamented with various arches, niches (nīḍa, lit. nests), and platforms (vedi).
66. In the third storey should be the pinnacle (kuṭa) and compartment (koṣṭha), etc., and the chain (hārā), etc., should be at the region of the neck.
67. (Images of) all gods should be made at the region of the main pillar.
68-70. The images of gods and goddesses (as recommended) by the ancients with all characteristic features mentioned above should be made with all care and discretion, in the region from above the neck (grīva) to the upper end of the finial (śikhā).
71-74. At the regions of the neck (grīva), head (dome) and top (pinnacle) of the Viṣṇu, Śiva (Īśvara), and Jaina and other temples, the images of gods fully furnished as stated before with, the peculiarities of the Nāgara and other styles should be made at the eight quarters, namely, the east, etc.
Thus is the Mānasāra, the science of architecture, the twenty-first chapter, entitled: “The description of the three-storeyed buildings.”
Footnotes and references:
The Nāgara style is distinguished by its quadrangular form, the Vesara by its round form, and the Drāviḍa by its octagonal or hexagonal form (vide chapters LIII. 76, 100, 46-47; XXVI. 75; XVIII 90-102). According to the Viṣṇu-dharmottara (part III, chapter 41), which is a supplement to the Viṣṇu-purāṇa, paintings are divided into four classes, namely, the Satya, Vainika, Nāgara, and Miśra. The square form of the Nāgara style has been recognized here also. This point seems to have been missed both by Stella Kramrisch in her ‘A treatise on Indian Painting and Image-making’ (second edition, 1928, pages 8, 51) and by A. K. Coomaraswamy in his article ‘Nāgara Painting’ (“Rupam” no. 37, January, 1929). For references to the Āgamas and other works see the writer’s Dictionary, pp. 299f.