Kashyapa Shilpa-shastra (study)

by K. Vidyuta | 2019 | 33,520 words

This page relates ‘Prakara components (1): Bhitti-lakshana (walls)’ of the study on the Kashyapa Shilpa-shastra (in English) with special reference to the characteristics of Prakara (temple-components), Mandapa (pavilions) and Gopura (gate-house). The Silpa-Sastras refers to the ancient Indian science of arts and crafts, such as sculpture, architecture and iconography. This study demonstrates the correlatation between ancient Indian monuments (such as temples and sculptures) and the variety of Sanskrit scriptures dealing with their construction.

4. Prākāra components (1): Bhitti-lakṣaṇa (walls)

Following the canons for constructing the prākāras, Kāśyapa Śilpaśāstra now enumerates the various measures and components of the ramparts or the prākāra walls.

The wall (bhitti) of the antarmaṇḍala must be of the length of one hasta. Then the wall can be expanded by three to six mātrās (aṅgulas) or by one and a half hasta to two hastas (Kāśyapa Śilpaśāstra, XLIII. 20-1):

antarmaṇḍalabhittestu vistāro vyomahastakaḥ |
tasmāttrimātravṛddhyā vā ṣaṇmātraṃ vā'tha vardhayet ||
sārdhahastaṃ dvihastaṃ tu mahāmadhyāvasānakam |
bhittivyāsaṃ samākhyātam......... ||

The height of the wall should be thrice or four times or five times its length. Else it must be calculated as the measure till the boundary of the prākāra or the measure of its full extent or the distance till the vājana or the height of the prastara or the distance until the gala or neck portion.

Moreover, the wall must have a strong base and must be erect on both the exterior and the interior (XLIII. 22-3):

tadvyāsatricatuṣpañcaguṇaṃ vā sālatuṅgakam |
athavottarasīmāntaṃ nīvrāntaṃ vājanāntakam ||
prastareṣu galo vā'tha sālatuṅgamudāhṛtam |
ṛjubījatalopetaṃ bāhye tvabhyantarārjavam ||

The prākāra wall must gradually taper towards the tip, (i.e) the width of the tip of the wall must be one-eighth of its base (XLIII. 24):

kuḍyamūlasya vistāravasvaṃśonāgravistaram |
mūlādāgraṃ kramātkṣīṇaṃ vasvaṃśāṃśe dvijottama ||

The height of the five prākāra walls can be determined using the hasta māna too.

By this, the first wall will be of the height of the kalaśa; the second of the height of the phalaka; third of the bodhikā; fourth is until the uttara and the fifth wall is of the height of the kapota (XLIII. 25-6):

athavā hastamānena sālotsedhaṃ vadāmyaham |
prathamaṃ kalaśāntaṃ tu dvitīyaṃ pha lakānvitam ||
bodhyaṃtaṃ syāttṛtīyaṃ tu caturthaṃ cottarāntakam |
pañcamaṃ tu kapotāntaṃ pañcasālodayaṃ kramāt ||

Further, the prākāras must contain a gallery (mālikā)[1]. The structures which constitute such a gallery, may be in the shape of a square hall (sabhā) or a maṇḍapa or with a straight walled structure.

Also, they may be endowed with 1-5 storeys (XLIII. 27cd-28)[2] :

āvṛtaṃ mālikā vā syāt sabhākāramathāpi vā ||
maṇḍapākṛtikaṃ vātha ṛjukaḍyamathāpi vā |
bhūtavedaguṇaṃ pakṣavyomabhūmamathocyate ||

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Cf. Kāmikāgama, I. 45. 2:
elāyāmapi śālāṅgāniṣkrāntānanaśobhitā |
śālā mālikā jñeyā śāstresmin kāmikāhvaye ||

[2]:

Cf., Kāmikāgama, I. 71. 50-1ab:
sālānāmantare'pi syān mālikā maṇḍapākṛtiḥ |
sabhākṛtirvā kartavyā caikadvitrikabhittibhiḥ ||
caturbhittiyutā vāpi ekānekatalānvitā |............... ||

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