Manasara (English translation)

by Prasanna Kumar Acharya | 1933 | 201,051 words

This page describes “the nine-storeyed buildings (navatala or navabhumi)” which is Chapter 27 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 27 - The nine-storeyed buildings (navatala or navabhūmi)

1. The setting up and the general features of the nine-storeyed buildings [viz., navatala or navabhūmi] will be described now.

2. The width and the height, and their division, etc., should be as before.

3 4. They (are named) in order: Saura, Raurava, Caṇḍita, Bhūṣaṇa, Vivṛta, Supratikānta, and Viśvakānta.

5-9. Of the twenty parts of the breadth the pinnacle (kūṭa) should be one part; the central hall (madhyaśālā) should be six parts, and the corridor (antarālaka) equal to that; inside that (central ball) it should be decorated with small halls (kṣudraśālā) of two parts each. At their sides should be constructed chains (hārā) of two parts each; the rest should be constructed as before: this is called the Saurakānta.

10. The great hall (mahāśālā) being made of four parts together with the portico (bhadra) in the middle, it is called the Raurava.

11-12. The same (with this difference) that the width of the portico-halls should be four parts, and that the portico itself (bhadra) should be made of two parts, it is called the Caṇḍita.

13-14. The same with the portico-hall (bhadra-koṣṭhaka) made of two parts in the middle of the central hall (madhyaśālā), and it being decorated with all ornaments, is called the Bhūṣaṇa.

15. These are said to be the four kinds in the smallest type of the nine-storeyed buildings.

16-18. Otherwise, in the smallest type the central hall (madhya-koṣṭha) may be three parts; or the width of the central portico (madhyabhadra) may be four parts; or it may be five parts, but the names are said to remain as before.

19-22. The breadth being divided into twenty-four parts, the pinnacles (kūṭa) should be as before; the great hall (mahāśālā) and the antechamber (anuśālā) should be eight and three parts respectively; in the middle of tho length of the great hall (mahāśālā) the portico should be made of four parts; and it being decorated with all ornaments, is called the Vivṛta.

23-26. Of the twenty-five parts (of the breadth), the central portico (madhyabhadra) should be five parts; at its sides there should be two side-pinnacles (karṇa-kūṭa) made of one part each in case of the human dwellings; it should be furnished with the antechamber (anuśālā) made of one-third of the central portico (madhyabhadra); (and) the rest being made as before, it is named the Supratikānta.

27-33. Of the twenty-six parts (of the breadth), the central hall (madhyama) should be made of four parts in the intermediate type of the edifice and be furnished with all ornaments; but in case of the largest type of nine-storeyed buildings, it (the breadth) should be divided into twenty-seven parts; (of those) at the sides of the central pavilion the chain and the side-pavilion together with the window should be made of two and one part (respectively); the tower-halls should be seven parts (each), and the central portico (madhyabhadra) five parts; the portico-hall (bhadra-koṣṭha) should be three parts, and the rest should be made as before; this is said to be the largest type of nine-storyed buildings and is called the Viśvakānta.

34. At their upper part, I say at the top, the reservoir of water should be made of two parts.

35-39. The relative measurement of (the members) by the height from the plinth to the dome is described here: the height of the edifice above the eighth storey should be divided into ten parts; (of which) the plinth should be two and a half parts, and twice that the height of the pillar; half of that should be the height of the entablature (roof), and the rest should be as has been said in the case of the eight-storeyed buildings; thus the height of the ninth storey should be decorated with all ornaments.

40. They (the nine-storeyed buildings) should be furnished with various bases, and ornamented with various pillars.

41. They should be furnished with aide-towers (karṇa-harmya), etc., and the doors should be furnished with the entablature.

42. They should be furnished with the porticos, pinnacles, halls, vestibules, and windows.

48. The chains, etc., as well as the minor small vestibules should be constructed symmetrically.

44. They should be decorated with arches (toraṇa), niches (nīḍa), screens (jālāka) and all other ornaments.

45. The rest should be made as before, and the images of gods should be made in all quarters in order.

46. The wise (architect) should build as said before in each storey of the edifice.

47. Thus are described the nine-storeyed buildings, the rest should be constructed according to one's discretion.

Thus in the Mānasāra, the science of architecture, the twenty-seventh chapter, entitled: “The description of the nine-storeyed buildings.”

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