Manasara (English translation)

by Prasanna Kumar Acharya | 1933 | 201,051 words

This page describes “the twelve-storeyed buildings (dvadashatala or dvadashabhumi)” which is Chapter 30 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 30 - The twelve-storeyed buildings (dvādaśatala or dvādaśabhūmi)

1. The setting up and the general features of the twelve (lit. other)-storeyed buildings [viz., dvādaśatala or dvādaśabhūmi] will be described now.

2. The width and the height should be as prescribed in (the chapter in) regard to the dimensions of storeys.

3. Of the smallest of the small, the intermediate, and the largest types, whichever is considered beautiful should be selected.

4. In the setting up of the edifice the assemblage of divisions (for the members, should be as stated before.

5-6, The Pāñcāla, Drāviḍā, Madhyakānta, Kāliṅga, Virāṭa, Kerala, Vaṃśaka, Māgadha, Janaka, and Gurjaka: these are known as the ten kānta (i.e., classes of twelve-storeyed buildings).

7-10. The width of the twelfth storey should be divided into twenty-eight parts; (of these) the great hall (mahāśālā) should be ten parts, and the rest should be made as before: the Pāñcāla and the Drāviḍa, (thus described), are the smallest types in the twelve-storeyed buildings.

11-14. The width of the intermediate type being divided into thirty-three parts, the width of the pinnacle (kūṭa) should be three parts, and the central portico (madhyabhadra) one part; the great hall (mahāśālā) should be nine parts, and the rest should be made as before: the Madhyakānta is thus described.

14-16. (The same with this difference that) its pinnacle (kūṭa) should be made of two parts; the antechamber (anuśālā) should be six parts, and its (remaining) members should be as before; (and) it should be decorated with various ornaments: this is the Kāliṅgakānta.

17-27. The width of the edifice being divided into thirty-four parts, the great hall (mahāśālā) should be eight parts, and the halls (śālā) at its sides one part each; the minor window-hall (anupañjaraśālā) should be two parts, and half of that the corridor (antanālaka); the antechamber (anuśāla) should be three parts, and the corridor (antarālaka) (thereof) one part; the window hall (pañjaraśālā) should be two parts, and the chain (hārā) at the side one part; the pinnacles (kūṭa) should be two parts each, and all of them should be tastefully furnished with the portico (bhadraka); the central portico (madhyabhadra) should be made one fourth part of the great hall (mahāśāla); in all the storeys of the edifice there should be sixteen hall-windows (śālāpañjara); in the interior of it there should be eight small halls (kṣudraśālā) each furnished with two chains (hārā); in each storey there should be a great hall (mahāśālā) and four pinnacles (kūṭa) at the four sides (of each storey); and the remaining members should be as before: this is the Virāṭakānta.

28-30. The same (with this difference) that the width of the small hall (kṣudraśālā) should be five parts; that the chain (hārā) should be made of one-third of that and be tastefully decorated; and the rest should be made as before: this is the Keralakāntaka.

31-32. The same (with this difference) that inside the chain (hāra) one part should be left for beauty; the rest should be made as before: this is called the Vaṃśakakānta.

33-34. The same (with this difference) that the portico-hall (bhadraśālā) in the middle of the antechamber (anuśālā) should be made of one part; and its side-pinnacle (karṇakūṭa) should be furnished with the portico: this is the Māgadhakānta.

35-36. The same (with this difference) that the central portico (madhyabhadra) should be made of two parts of the great hall: this is said to be the Janakānta, in the largest type of twelve-storeyed buildings’.

57-41. The height above the eleventh storey should be divided into thirteen parts increased by one; of these parts, the height of the base (kuṭṭima) is said to be four parts; the height of the pillar should be eight parts, and half of that the height of the entablature; the finial (śikhā) should be half a part, and the remainder of the height should be distributed as before: this is the twelfth storey, its height should be discreetly distributed (to different members),

42. The balcony (alinda) should be made around one part, and that should be in all the upper storeys.

48-14. The lower storeys including the ground-floor (lit. one and many storeys) should be made symmetrical to the upper storeys; haying but one part (between two storeys for roofing) the storeys should be constructed one above the other.

45. The projection of the central hall (madhyaśālā) should be one, two, or preferably throe rods (daṇḍa).

46. The projection of the small hall (kṣudraśālā), etc, should be a half, one, or two rods (daṇḍa).

47. The projection of all the porticos (bhadra) should be one part or one and one-half rods (daṇḍa).

48-49. Every one of the storeys should be furnished with several pillars, towers, balconies, all the component members, side-towers, etc., corridors find entablatures.

50-53. If the great ball (mahāśālā) be without any portico (bhadra), it should be furnished with an (extra) hall (i.e., antechamber); if the top hall be furnished with one portico it should also have a middle compartment; if the great hall have two porticos, at its top should be built (another) hall; the groat hall with portico should be furnished with the portico-hall (also).

[Note: The description of the tenth type, Gurjaka, is missing, see note under the Sanskrit text.]

54. The top hall (ūrdhvaśālā) should be furnished with the portico (bhadra), and be ornamented with the entablature.

55. The great hall (mahāśālā) should have a projection as its member (lit. limb), and the small hall (kṣudraśālā) should be furnished with its (own) entrance (veśana).

56. The great hall (mahāśālā) should be built in the centre of all those edifices.

57. The small hall (kṣudraśālā) should be constructed inside the chains (hārā) of the edifices.

58. The corner pinnacle (karṇa-kūṭa) should be constructed in the intermediate quarters of the edifice.

59. The chain (hārā) and the entrance (veśana) of the small hall (kṣudraśālā) should be made suitably.

60-61. All the edifices should, as said before, be ornamented with the vestibule-windows, arches, windows, and chains, etc.

62-65. The projection of the edifice should be one, two, three, or preferably two parts (of it); or in cubit measurement it (the projection) should be increased from one to many (i.e. three): the projections should discreetly be increased in order by the architects to eleven cubits in storeys from two to twelve.

66-67. The members not mentioned here, should be constructed for all (kinds of) buildings in the same manner as prescribed for one of them.

63-75. They should be furnished with various bases, and be ornamented with various pillars; with various windows, halls, and arches; ornamented with various vestibules, towers, and chains (nāsika, kūṭa, and hārā); furnished with various entablatures, and decorated with various necks; and various platforms (vedikā) should be constructed and decorated with various ornaments; furnished with various bridge-ornaments (pālikā), domes (stūpikā), and lotuses of various shapes; and constructed with various bridge-ornaments: (thus) all the buildings should be fully decorated by the architects.

76-77. The (images of) particular gods should be made as said before, in their own temples in the main and intermediate quarters of the compartment in each storey of the edifice.

78-83. The images of Yakṣas, Vidyādharas, and others, of Gaṇas Bhūtas, Rākṣas, and others, of Kārtikeya, who had from his birth seven mothers consisting of Rohiṇī and other ladies, and of the goddesses of Viśvakarmā and others, of Agastya and others, and of Nārada and others who were the chanters of the Vedas, and of the Salokya and other (classes of) devotees with their characteristic features stated before, of the innumerable gods represented by thirty-three beginning with those of Brahmā and all others should be made in all the regions, (namely), the base of the edifice, its (different) storeys and at the top, all over.

84. All those members, the measurement of which is not particularly mentioned, should be discreetly constructed.

85-86. The particulars of the staircases for ascending and descending in all kinds of edifices of gods (i.e. temples) and of human beings (i.e. dwellings) (will now be described).

87-89. The best architect should construct (staircases) for all kinds of buildings, (namely), the edifices, the pavilions (maṇḍapa) enclosures (prākāra), gateways (gopura), and similarly for hills, tanks, wells, lakes, towns, and villages.

90. The staircases are said to be of two kinds, stationary and movable.

91. The movable staircases are recommended to be made of stone, brick, or wood.

92. The stationary staircases comprising small steps are said to be made of all (such materials).

93-94. All kinds of front porticos (mukha-bhadra) should be furnished with staircases at their sides; otherwise, the front staircases may be made at the two sides or at the region of the (front) door.

95-96. For ascending the grand staircase should be made in all edifices at the door-portico on the south (or) at its side towards the east direction.

97. But the staircases should be constructed at the left side of the secret door.

98-102, It is not undesirable to show the great god of adoration (in a temple to its front door); the staircases should, therefore, be constructed at (either of) the sides of the front portico: at the two sides, at the back part (of the temple), and at the aides of the (two) wings in front of it (the temple): wherever the staircases are built there would be no defect; (only) the best architect should not construct the front staircases straight in front of the building.

103-104. It is auspicious to construct staircases in front of the door at the other two sides if the door happens not to have three porches (bhadra).

105-106. The architect conversant with the science (of architecture) should make the staircases at the two sides and the front of the shedyard (prapāṅga), the front pavilion (pramukha), and the porch (bhadra): this has been directed by the ancients.

107. The staircases (in temples) of gods are thus described; they should be constructed as directed (above).

108. The particulars of the staircases in all kinds of human dwellings, I shall describe (below).

109-110. They (staircases) should be attached to the buildings of the ascetics and others, of the twice-born, especially of other castes, as stated for the temples of gods.

111-114. In the buildings of the twice-born and all classes of kings (Kṣatriya) the staircases should be constructed beside the porch (bhadra), at its sides, or at the front; (but) the stops should be attached to the left side of the door if it is furnished with the balcony, but if the door has no balcony the steps should be constructed in the front part.

115-116. The staircase (in the buildings) of the Vaiśyas and the Śūdras will now be described the staircases should be attached fittingly to the porches (bhadra), and the door, etc., as the case may be.

117. The gate-houses (gopura) should have characteristic staircases at their sides.

118. For easy ascending they (the staircases) should be constructed at any convenient part of the mountain (or hill).

119-123. The tank, well, and lake should be furnished with (surrounding) staircases on all sides; or, as an alternative (they may be constructed) at the four quarters, four corners, or at the interspaces; otherwise, the staircases at some such convenient places should be made (only) for the front (or porch); in the very same places, at the most convenient part, the main (kula) door should be constructed, and in front of it and on the two sides, the staircases should be constructed as directed before.

124. The stationary staircases are thus described; the moving staircases should be placed at any place as one likes.

125-128. The width (of the step) should be of nine kinds beginning from twelve aṅgulas (of three-fourths inch each) and ending at one cubit and a half, the increment being three aṅgulas; the length of one step should begin from two and a half cubits and end at four and a half cubits, the increment being by six aṅgulas.

129-133. The width of the stationary staircase should begin from one cubit and end at three cubits, the incremont being by sis aṅgulas; and the length of the stationary staircases should be of nine kinds beginning from two cubits and ending at four cubits, (and again), from three cubits to five cubits, the increment being by six aṅgulas.

134-135. The staircases should be constructed along the height from the plinth to the dome (of a building); the measurement of the slope (i.e., width, lupā) should be made as said above, and the extent of the steps will be as required.

136-137. In the case of the staircases for hills, the measure of length may conveniently be as much as one desires, (and) the width (of the step) should be made as prescribed before in the case of the stationary steps,

138-139. The width of the surrounding staircases for a lake, etc., (in fact) of all the surrounding stops, should be made as stated above.

140-141. The number of steps (paṭṭikā) in the temples is said to begin from three and end at one hundred and twenty-three, the increment being by two.

142. The steps (paṭṭa) leading to the road from the hills should be made winding upwards and upwards with the aforesaid measures.

143. The staircases in the human dwellings should be made of steps (paṭṭa) in pairs.

144-146. The thickness (lit. foot) of the step of the moveable staircase should be three, four, five or six aṅgulas, and its width should be equal to its thickness or greater by one-fourth, one-half, or three-fourths, or twice it.

147. The steps (paṭṭikā) should be supported by two posts or banisters (daṇḍa) and furnished with holes (paintings.)

148-150. The thickness of the steps (paṭṭikā) may otherwise be one, two, or three aṅgulas, and the breadth of the atop (paṭṭikā) two, three, four, five, sis, seven, eight, nine, or tea aṅgulas.

151. This is for the moving staircases, and that for the stationary staircases will now be described.

152-154. The height and depth of the steps (paṭṭikā) should begin from five and six aṅgulas respectively, and end at twelve and thirteen, the increment being by two in each case; the depth may be one aṅgula more and the height one aṅgula less.

155-157. The sides of the staircases should be decorated with the trunk of the elephant; the width at the root of the trunk should be measured in the aforesaid aṅgulas; the trunk should taper upwards, the top being one-third of the base.

158-159. It should be shaped like the elephant’s trunk, and be beautifully furnished with openings (dvāra), and should be furnished at the bottom with three, four, or five lion faces.

160. The cross bars (lit. supporting slabs) should be attached from top to bottom, the slabs being measured as aforesaid.

161. The top support should have the shape of the bridge (pālikā) and the slabs (paṭṭikā) should have the shape of the platform (vedikā).

162. The staircases with characteristic features should be furnished with all ornaments.

168. By the sides of the staircases for hills there should not be made any side-baluster.

164-167. It would be certainly inauspicious for the master and the builders to make (the staircases) too high (unmāna) and ornamented at the wider side of many buildings just as at the entrance, but it would bring prosperity if the measurement be made as aforesaid.

Āya and other formulas of the Jāti building:

[Note: These formulas have been once more referred to in connection with the measurement of villages (Chapter IX: 63-93, pages 65-67), Sec also the writer’s Dictionary, pages 600-610.]

168. I shall describe in order the particulars of the Aya [Āya?] and other formulas with reference to the Jāti class of buildings.

169-171. With reference to breadth, etc., of the aforesaid buildings should be considered the formulas of Āya (increase), Vyaya (decrease), Yoni (source), Nakṣatra (planet), Vāra (day), and Aṃśa (part) or Tithi; these are known as the set of the six formulas by those conversant with the Āya and other formulas.

172-173. The (set of the) six beginning from AĀa and ending at Aṃśa are considered in case of the buildings of the Śaṃcita and Asaṃcita classes; and the (sot of the) six beginning from the Āya and ending at Tithi (instead of Aṃśa) are considered in case of the buildings of the Apasaṃcita class.

174-175. The Jāti, Chanda, Vikalpa, and Abhāsa: these four classes should be measured in proportion of one, three-fourths, one-half, and one-fourth cubit respectively.

176. Tho measurement of buildings should be carried out by considering all these peculiarities.

177-178. The length should be multiplied by six in the Saṃcita class of buildings, by seven in the Asṃcita class of buildings, and by eight in the Apasaṃcita class of buildings, and the products (in all cases) should be divided by twelve; the remainders are said to be the Āya.

179. (The breadth) being multiplied by seven, eight, or nine, the product should be divided by ten; the remainder would be the Vyaya.

180. (The breadth) being multiplied by one, two, or three, the product should be divided by eight; the remainder would be the Yoni.

181-182. (The length) being multiplied by six, seven, or eight, the product should be divided by twenty-seven; the remainder would be the Nakṣhatra, which are counted as Aśvinī, (Bharaṇī) and so on.

183-184. (The circumference or height) being multiplied by six, eight, or nine, the product should be divided by seven; the remainder would be the Vāta, which consists of (seven) days starting with Sunday.

185. (The circumference) being multiplied by three or four, the product should be divided by nine; the remainder would be the Aṃśa, which are nine in number.

186. (The circumference) being multiplied by nine, the product should be divided by thirty; the remainder would be the Tithi.

187-189. The Āya consists of a group of twelve, namely, the Siddhi (success) etc.; the Vyaya consists of a group of ten, namely, the Śikhara, etc.; the Yoni consists of a. group of eight, namely, the Dhvaja etc., the Aṃśaka consists of a group of nine, namely, the Taskara etc.; and the Tithi consists of a group of fifteen, namely, the Prathamā, etc.; the wise architect should count these in the manner mentioned above.

190. Prosperity would take leave of a building if its measurements be not verified by the whole set of six formulas, namely, the Āya, etc.

191-194. Of the set of the six, namely, the Āya, etc.; it is auspicious to make the Āya greater and the Vyaya less in the temples of the gods, in the palaces of the kings, in the ordinary residential buildings (of the masters), and also in the construction of the village, etc.; the wise (architect) should, therefore, consider this all auspicious (i.e., important) point.

Thus in the Mānasāra, the science of architecture the thirtieth chapter, entitled: “The description of the twelve-storeyed buildings.”

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