Samarangana-sutradhara (Summary)

by D. N. Shukla | 1960 | 15,592 words | ISBN-10: 8121506115 | ISBN-13: 9788121506113

This page describes The five-fold terraces (Pitha-pancaka) and Dravida Prasada which is chapter 63-64 English summary of the Samarangana-Sutradhara by Bhoja. This work in Sanskrit representing a voluminous treatise on Vastu-Shastra (the science of Architecture), encompassing a broad range of subjects, such as Architecture, Shilpa-shastra (Iconography, Arts and Crafts) but also deals with Creation-theory, Geography, Philosophu, etc.

Chapter 63-64 - The five-fold terraces (Pīṭha-pañcaka) and Drāviḍa Prāsāda

[Note: This chapter corresponds to the following chapters of the original Samarāṅgaṇa-Sūtradhāra:

Chapter 63, Pīṭhapañcaka (The five-fold terraces) corresponds to Chapter 61,
Chapter 64, Drāviḍa Prāsāda corresponds to Chapter 62]

In the former chapter is indicated the subject matter of both the chapters—namely:

  1. the five-fold Pīṭhas suited to the Drāviḍa temples,
  2. the five Talacchandas and
  3. the 12 varieties of Drāviḍa Prāsādas, having one to 12 storys.

These Drāviḍa Prāsādas have no specific names, they are called by their generic varieties as Ekabhaumika to Dvādaśabhaumika. The distinguishing features of the Nāgara and Drāviḍa temples is that while in the former the crowning piece of the temples is Āmalaka, or its varieties (cf. Samarāṅgaṇasūtradhāra) in the latter its counterpart is Sthūpikā with Kalaśa together with the surmounting Śikhara divided into compartments like storys, on the top of which as indicated just now are two kinds of crowning pieces, one like that on the ‘shore temple’, at Mammalapuram and the other like the one on the Gaṇeśa-ratha of that place.

The Samarāṅgaṇa, well acquainted with these distinguishing features of the Dravidian temples, curiously enough at the very outset, says that Drāviḍa temple may consist of storys up to 12 in number and then the temples are classified according to their number of storys. This is what exactly we find in all the South Indian Vastu Texts. Again the Southern tradition of Pīṭhas or the terraces of the temples so lavishly found described in the Southern texts is retained in the Samarāṅgaṇa also which introduces this Drāviḍa style by devoting its description first to the terraces. These terraces are manifold and five principal ones so selected are technically called here Pādabandhana, Śrībandhana, Vedībandhana, Pratikrama and Churakabandhana [Curakabandhana?], Similarly the Talacchandas in the Dravidian style are also five according to this text relating the architectural genius They are as Padmatala, Mahāpadma, Vardhamān, Svastika, and Sarvatobhadra. These represent both the two broad divisions, namely Nirandhāra—(having no circumambulatory passage all round) and Sāndhāra (having circumambulatory passage all round).

These Talacchandas are accessory buildings which may take as many storeys as the central shrine—from one to twelve. These, in my opinion, are the proto-types of the later Gopuras characterised by storeys and huge super-structure.

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