### Kashyapa Shilpa-shastra (study)

by K. Vidyuta | 2019 | 33,520 words

This page relates ‘The Breadth, Length and Height of the Gopuras’ 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.

# 3. The Breadth, Length and Height of the Gopuras

## (i). Measures for the Breadth of the *Gopuras*

### (a) *Harmya māna*:

*Kāśyapa Śilpaśāstra* at first enlists different types of measures on the basis of the *mūla harmya* (the *sanctum sanctorum*). Accordingly, the expanse of the *mūla prāsāda* must be at first divided into 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 parts in order and 1 part of each must be decreased and the remaining is the measure of the *gopuras* starting from *dvāraśobhā*, etc. respectively. That is, the expanse of the five *gopuras* shall be 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 parts of the breadth of the *mūla prāsāda*.

The above is the measurement for *gopuras* of the *Ābhāsa* and *Vikalpa* type of *harmyas*^{[1]} (XLV. 7cd-9ab):

mūlaprāsādavistāre saptāṣṭa navabhājite ||

daśaikādaśabhāge ca ekāṃśarahitaṃ kramāt |

śobhādigopurāntānāṃ vipulaṃ kīrtitaṃ kramāt ||

vikalpābhāsaharmyāṇāṃ gopurāṇāṃ tatastvime |

The extent of the main temple (*mūlālaya*) is divided into 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 parts and 1 part is deducted from each of them; this gives the expanse of the *gopuras* starting from *dvāraśobhā* (3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 parts of the *mūlālaya*) of the *Chanda* type of *harmya* (XLV. 9cd-10ab):

mūlālayaviśālaṃ tu catuṣpañcaṣaḍaṃśake ||

saptāṣṭāṃśena hīnaṃ tu chandaśobhodayaṃ bhavet |

If the expanse of the main temple (*mūlageha*) is divided into ⅓, 1½, ⅔, ¾, ⅘ parts in the order starting from the *gopuras* of the first *prākāra* onwards, this is the expanse of the five *gopuras* of the *Jāti* type of *harmya* (XLV. 10cd-12):

mūlagehatribhāgaikaṃ bhāgamardhāṃśameva ca ||

tridvyaṃśacaturaṃśe tu guṇāṃśaṃ ca tathaiva ca |

pañcabhāge tu vedāṃśaṃ sāleṣu prathamādiṣu ||

śobhādigopurāntānāṃ tatirjātyalayaṃ kramām |

kalpyaivaṃ harmyamānaṃ syāddhastamānavaśāttataḥ ||

### (b) *Hasta māna*:

*Kāśyapa Śilpaśāstra* gives the measures for the breadth of the *gopura* in *hasta māna*.

Starting from 2 *hastas* till 16 *hastas*, the extent is increased by 1 *hasta* each time; thus each *gopura* from *śobhā* is given three measures (XLV. 13):

dvihastādi dviraṣṭāntaṃ ekahastavivardhanāt |

śobhādigopurāntānāṃ pratyekaṃ tritrimānakam ||

This measurement is to be used for *Vikalpa*, *Ābhāsa* and *Chanda harmyas* (XLV. 14ab):

vikalpābhāsayorevaṃ chandaharmye ca lakṣyate |

For the *gopuras* of the *Jāti harmyas* different sets of measurements are given thus If the extent is increased by 1 *hasta* from 3 *hastas* to 17 *hastas* it results in three measures for each of the *gopuras*. Similarly, increasing the expanse by a *hasta* the measure of the *gopuras*, range from 4 to 18 *hastas* with a set of three measures each. These are the measures prescribed for *Jāti harmyas*.

Thus the above mentioned 3 x 3 *mānas* of five type of *gopuras* result in a total of 45 varied measures (XLV. 14cd-6):

guṇahastaṃ samārabhya saptadaśakarāvadhi ||

ekahastavivṛddhyā tu śobhādīnāṃ trayaṃ trayam |

caturhastaṃ samārabhya yāvadaṣṭādaśaṃ karam ||

śobhādīnāṃ kramādvyāsaṃ jātiharmye vidhīyate |

pratyekaṃ tritridhā mānaṃ chandaṃ pañcavidhaṃ bhavet ||

Accordingly, the measures for the five *gopuras* are tabulated as follows:

Harmya Dvāra |
Vikalpa, Ābhāsa, Chanda |
Jāti |
Jāti Alternate measure |
||||||

Śobhā | 2 | 3 | 4 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

Śālā | 5 | 6 | 7 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 7 | 8 | 9 |

Prāsāda | 8 | 9 | 10 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 10 | 11 | 12 |

Harmya | 11 | 12 | 13 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 13 | 14 | 15 |

Gopura | 14 | 15 | 16 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 16 | 17 | 18 |

*Kāśyapa Śilpaśāstra* stresses that it is proper to design *kṣudra harmyas* (small temples) by measuring the expanse in *hasta māna*.

The text also dictates that all the measurements that have been prescribed must be followed duly, for, any change in them will yield unfavourable results (XLV. 17):

hastamānena vistāraṃ kṣudrāṇāṃ mahatīṃ kramāt |

svasvoditaḥ prakartavyaṃ viparītaṃ vipatkaram ||

### (c). *Sārvadeśika Prāsāda māna*

Another set of measurement which is based on *Sārvadeśika Prāsāda*^{[2]} is now expounded. *Kāśyapa Śilpaśāstra* states that the measures 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 in *hasta* unit are verily classified into *adhama*, *madhyama* and *uttama mānas* with 3 measures in each type.

Thus all the *harmyas* are designed employing these measures (XLV. 18-9ab):

athavā tricatuṣpañcaṣaṭsaptāṣṭa navaṃ karam |

daśaikādaśahastaṃ tu adhamāditrayaṃtrayam ||

sarvaharmye tathā sāle yatheṣṭaṃ parikalpayet |

Of the several *harmyas*, 3 types of *uttama mānas* are used for large temples, the 3 types of *madhyama mānas* are taken for the medium sized temples and the 3 *adhama mānas* for small or very small temples.

Using these, the *gopuras* of all the *prākaras* of the *Sārvadeśika prāsādas* are to be designed (XLV. 19cd-20):

*mahattare tu śreṣṭhādimantare madhyamatrayam ||
kṣudrālpayoḥ praśastāni kanyasatrayamucyate |
sarvasāleṣu kartavyaṃ tasmātte sārvadeśikam || *

### (d). Another set of measures

Increasing by 2 *hastas*, the breadth of the *dvāraśobhā* ranges from 5 to 13 *hastas*; the breadth of the *dvāraśālā* ranges from 15 to 23 *hastas*; the *dvāraprāsāda* ranges from 25 to 33 *hastas*; the width of *dvāraharmya* varies from 35 to 43 *hastas* and the *dvāragopura* from 45 to 53 *hastas*–each having 5 measures respectively (44. 20-4)^{[3]} :

pañcahastaṃ samārabhya dvidvihastavivardhanāt |

trayodaśakarāntaṃ tu śobhāvyāsaṃ tu paṃcadhā ||

tripañcahastamārabhya dvidvihastavivardhanāt |

trayoviṃśatkarāntaṃ tu dvāraśālā tu paṃcadhā ||

pañcaviṃśatkarārabhya trayastriṃśatkarāntakam |

dvāraprāsādavistāraṃ pañcadhā parikīrtitam ||

pañcatriṃśatkarārabhya catvāriṃśattrayāvadhi |

pañcadhā dvāraharmyasya vistāraṃ parikīrtitam ||

sa pañcacatvāriṃśattu pañcāśattrikarāntakam |

dvidvihastavivṛddhyā tu pañcadhā gopurastatam ||

## (ii). Methods for calculating the length

After enumerating the various measures of breadth of the *gopuras*, *Kāśyapa Śilpaśāstra* says that their length of them can be determined using the breadth given before. The length of the *gopuras* must be 1¼ of the breadth of the *dvāraśobhā*, 1½ of the breadth of *dvāraśālā*, 1¾ for *dvāraprāsāda*, 2 times for *dvāraharmya* and ⅓ or ⅔ of the breadth for the *dvāragopura*.

The special thing about this is that the length must be measured using *hasta māna* (44. 25-7)^{[4]} :

dvārāyatanavyāsāste natastadāyataṃ śṛṇu |

sapādaṃ sārdhapādonadviguṇaṃ dviguṇaṃ tu vā ||

satribhāgaikabhāgaṃ tu dvibhāgastvāyataṃ bhavet |

śobhādi gopurāntānāṃ uktāyāmaṃ^{[5]}pragṛhyatām ||

teṣu kiṃ ñcidviśeṣo'sti tadviśeṣaṃ śṛṇuṣvapi |

hastamānena vistāraṃ gṛhīte tu viśeṣataḥ ||

*Kāśyapa Śilpaśāstra* states that the *gopuras* can be constructed employing any of the above units for the breadth.

At the same time it stipulates the condition that if breadth is measured in *hasta* unit, then the ideal equivalent length must also be in *hasta* unit (XLV. 27cd-9):

teṣu kiṃ ñcidviśeṣo'sti taṃ viśeṣaṃ navaṃ śṛṇu ||

dvihastamānavistāraṃ gṛhītvaiva viśeṣataḥ |

āyāmaṃ sarvavatkalpyamanekeṣviṣṭamāyatam ||

hastacchanda pravṛttyā vā anyadvā pūrvamācaret |

āyādiśobhanopetaṃ hastamānena kalpayet ||

Alternatively, the length and breadth of the *gopuras* may be determined in comparison to the main *prāsāda*, i.e. employing *harmya māna*, says *Kāśyapa Śilpaśāstra* (XLV. 30ab):

taṃ vinā harmyamūlasya vaṃśe dve kalpitasya tu |

## (iii). Measures for the height of the *Gopuras*

Here, the heights of the gopuras are calculated based on their corresponding breadths. If the breadth of the *gopuras* is divided into 7 parts then the height of the *dvāraśobhā* should measure 11 parts of the breadth; the height of the *dvāraśālā* is half times more than its breadth. The *dvāraharmya* measures either 11 or 12 parts high if the breadth is divided into 7 parts.

If the breadth is of 9 parts then the elevation of the *dvāraprāsāda* is of 14 parts and the *dvāragopura* measures twice its breadth in altitude (XLV. 31-3ab):

vistāraṃ saptadhā bhajya śobhoccaṃ rudrabhāgayā |

tārārdhādhikatuṅgaṃ tu dvāraśālocchrayaṃ bhavet ||

saptabhāge tu rudrāṃśaṃ bhānvaṃśaṃ vā tṛtīyake |

vistāre tu navāṃśe tu manvaṃśoccaṃ caturthake ||

vistāradviguṇotsedhaṃ mahāgopuramiṣyate |

After giving the varied height measures, *Kāśyapa Śilpaśāstra* clearly enjoins that the distance from the *homa* till the *sthūpi* is considered as the height of the *gopuras* (XLV. 33cd):

homādisthūpiparyantaṃ mānoccaṃ tu prakīrtitam ||

## (iv). Projecting components of the *Gopuras*

The breadth and length measures of the *gopuras* lie outside the line of the *mānasūtra*. Further, the *kūṭakoṣṭhas* must extend even outside the line of the *gopuras* (meaning that they must be designed like projections on the *gopura*) and must be shaped like the *prāsādas*.

If the breadth of the *gopura* is 3 or 4 or 5 parts then 1 part of each must be the outward projection of the *kūṭa-koṣṭhas* (XLV. 34-5):

vistārāyāmayormānaṃ sūtraṃ prāgbāhyamucyate |8

tadbāhye kūṭakoṣṭhādinīvraṃ prāsādavadbhavet ||

vistārasya tribhāgaikaṃ caturbhāgaikameva vā |

pañcabhāge dvibhāgaṃ vā sālādbāhye tu nirgatiḥ ||

## Footnotes and references:

[1]:

The terms *Harmya*, *Prāsāda*, *Vimāna*, etc. are synonyms that represent the whole structure of the *sanctum sanctorum*. In the verses cited above, the author uses three more synonyms *mūlaprāsāda*, *mūlālaya* and *mūlageha* to denote the same.

[2]:

This is a type of *Prāsāda* or temple like the *Nāgara*, *Vesara* and *Drāviḍa* types that is classified based on the three *guṇas* (*sattva*, *rajas* and *tamas*) dominant in that region; *Kāmikāgama*, I.49. 1cd-4:

......... *|
vindhyāntaṃ caiva kṛṣṇāntaṃ kanyāntaṃ tu himācalam ||
tasmāttasmāt tridhā dhātrī yuktasatva tamo rajāḥ |
nāgaraṃ drāmiḍaṃ caiva vesaraṃ sārvadeśikam ||
kaliṅgaṃ ca varāṭaṃ ca ṣaḍvidhaṃ tviha kīrtitam |
nāgaraṃ sātvikekṣetre vesaraṃ syāttamo'dhike ||
rājase dramiḍaṃ sārvadeśyaṃ sarvatra saṃmatam |
kāliṅgaṃ ca varāṭaṃ ca grāhyaṃ satvarajo'dhike || *

[3]:

*Aṃśumatkāśyapāgama*, Muktabodha edition version is quoted above as the Maharishi edition lacks the measure for *dvāraśālā*.

[4]:

*Aṃśumatkāśyapāgama*, Muktabodha edition version is quoted above.

[5]:

*Śrī Kāśyapa Śilpaśā stram*, T anjore, 2016, p. 510fn, this reading is given as a variant reading.