Kashyapa Shilpa-shastra (study)

by K. Vidyuta | 2019 | 33,520 words

This page relates ‘The Shapes and Embellishments 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.

7. The Shapes and Embellishments of the Gopuras

After explaining the varied storeys of the gopuras, the author now states that the dvāraśobhā must be shaped like a maṇḍapa; the dvāraśālā like a daṇḍa; the dvāraprāsāda like a sadana; dvāraharmya like a mālikā and the dvāragopura in the form of a śālā.

Thus an expert architect would follow these rules for all the gopuras starting from the dvāraśobhā to the dvāragopura (44. 112cd-4)[1] :

maṇḍapānāṃ yathā dvāraśobhāṃ kuryāt dvijottamaḥ ||
daṇḍaṃ vā dvāraśālā syātprāsādaṃ sadanākṛti |
mālikākṛti kartavyaṃ dvāraharmyaṃ dvijottama ||
śālākāraṃ prakartavyaṃ dvāragopuramucyate |
sarve vai gopurābhaṃ vā kalpayetkalpavittamaḥ ||

(i). Dvāraśobhā types

The dvāraśobhā gopura is classified into three varieties namely Śrīkānta, Ratikānta and Vijayakānta. The rules for their construction are discussed here:

(a) Śrikānta:

The storeys of the dvāraśobhā gopura may range from 1 to 3 in number and must be well ornamented. In the front and rear side of the gopura, mahānāsis are to be designed; to their sides vaṃśanāsis are to be designed and well-embellished alpanāsikās must also be added. The śira part of the gopura must be endowed with even-numbered sthūpis and also with lūpās.

Moreover, this type of dvāraśobhā which is an example of Śrikānta, should be in the shape of a maṇḍapa (44. 115-7):

teṣvādau dvāraśobhaṃ tu vakṣye'haṃ dvijasattama |
ekadvitritalaṃ vāpi sarvālaṃkārasaṃyutam ||
mukhe mukhe mahānāsī pārśvayorvaṃśanāsikā |
vasvākṛtyalpanāsāḍhyaṃ prāguktavidhinā dvija ||
yugmastūpisamāyuktaṃ lūpārohaśirastu vā |
maṇḍapākṛtikaṃ vāpi śrīkāntaṃ tadudāhṛtam ||

(b) Ratikānta:

The śiras must be shaped like a śālā; 6 nāsikās must be designed in the front and back of the gopuras; also vaṃśanāsis must be designed to their sides; it must also be endowed with odd number of sthūpis and this type of dvāraśobhā called the Ratikānta must contain pillars to its middle with uttaras (44. 118-9ab):

śālākāraśirastasmin ṣaṇṇāsīmukhapṛṣṭhayoḥ |
pārśvayorvaṃśanāsāḍhyaṃ ayugmastūpasamanvitam ||
antaḥ pādottarairyuktaṃ ratikāntamidaṃ param |

(c) Vijayakānta:

The frontal side is decorated with 6 nāśikās and the sides with vaṃśanāsikās.

The joinery of the śiras is shaped like a sabhā and this type of dvāraśobhā is termed as Vijayakānta (44. 119cd-20):

mukhe mukhe ca ṣaṇṇāsī pārśvayovaṃśanāsikā ||
sabhākāraṃ śiraskandhaṃ kāntaṃ vijayameva hi |
evaṃ trividhanītya tu dvāraśobhāḥ prakalpayet ||

(ii). Dvāraśālā types

The dvāraśālās are also of three types, viz., Vijaya Viśāla, Viśālālaya and Vipratīkānta.

(a) Vijaya Viśāla:

In every facade mahānāsis are to be designed as also the sides. Among the mahānāsīs the ones on the 4 ends must be of half measure and so should be the pañjara. The śiras is shaped like a śālā and endowed with odd number of sthūpis.

Thus Vijaya-viśāla type is constructed (44. 121-22):

mukhe mukhe mahānāsī pārśvayośca tathaiva ca |
ardhakoṭicatasrāḍhyaṃ pañjaraṃ ca tadākṛtiḥ ||
śālākāraṃ śiropetaṃ ayugmasthūpisaṃcitam |
vijayaṃ viśālametaddhi ... ... ... ||

(b) Viśālālaya:

In this type of gopura, the front portion contains bhadranāsis; the corners are finished with half measure of the bhadras and the gopura is also endowed with vaṃśanāsikās. The śiras is endowed with bhadras and each of the pillars is decorated with alpanāsis.

Thus this Viśālālaya must be constructed with the above said ornamentations (44. 123-24ab):

ardhakoṭisahasrāṅgaṃ pārśvayorbhadranāsikā |
pārśvayorvaṃśanāsyaṅgamayugmastūpikānvitam ||
pādaṃ pratyalpanāsāḍhyaṃ sarvāvayavasaṃyutam |

(c) Vipratīkānta:

The number of storeys of this gopura is as mentioned earlier; it is embellished with bhadras in all the four directions; it is also endowed with 4 mahānāsīs and the śiras must be along with bhadras.

Towards the inner side the gopura should contain pillars with uttara and odd numbered sthūpis (44. 124cd-26):

vipratīkāntalaṃkāraṃ vakṣyate tu viśeṣataḥ ||
pūrvavadbhūmibhāgaṃ ca caturdigbhadrasaṃyutam |
mahānāsī catasrāḍhyaṃ śirobhadrasamanvitam ||
antaḥ pādottarairyuktaṃ ayugmasthūpikānvitam |
trividhā dvāraśālāsyād dvāraprāsādamucyate ||

(iii). Dvāraprāsāda types

Kāśyapa Śilpaśāstra describes dvāraprāsāda after explaining the three dvāraśālās. This is also of three kinds Mandara Alaṅkāra, Śrīkeśālaṅkāra and Keśa-viśālāṅkāra.

(a) Mandara Alaṅkāra:

The inner side of this gopura should have pillars with uttara and that it must be well ornamented with mandara and such architecture. The height of the door must constitute a raṅga and the door must be along with bhadras. To its frontal and back sides, mahānāsīs are to be constructed and to its sides the vaṃśanāsikās. Also, nāsikās in the shape of a svastikā must be designed along with 4 pañjaras.

Further, the kūṭakoṣṭhas should be erected as instructed earlier (44. 127-29ab):

antaḥ pādottarairyuktaṃ mandarādyairalaṃkṛtam |
dvārordhve raṅgasaṃyuktaṃ dvāraṃ tadbhadrasaṃyutam ||
pūrve pare ca mahānāsī pārśvayorvaṃśanāsikā |
svastikākṛtināsāḍhyaṃ catuṣpaṃjarasaṃyutam ||
kūṭakoṣṭhādisarvāṃgaṃ prāguktavidhinā kuru |

(b) Śrīkeśālaṅkāra:

In this type of dvāraprāsāda, the number of storeys should be the same as explained before.

In the front and back of this gopura, śālās with bhadras, bhadra nāsikās, masūrakas, pillars, vedi, jālaka and toraṇa are to be designed (44. 129cd-30):

śrīkeśālaṃkṛtaṃ vakṣye bhūmibhāgādi pūrvavat ||
pūrve pare ca śālāyāṃ sabhadraṃ bhadranāsikā |
nānāmasūrakastambhaṃ vedijālakatoraṇaiḥ ||

(c) Keśa Viśālālaṅkāra:

The pillars in the inner part of the gopura must be endowed with uttara that is endowed with a vāraṇa. To the sides of the gopuras, pillars with mouldings and ornamented with kṣudranāsis are erected. Also, the śiras is shaped like a śālā and is decorated with jālakas and so on. This dvāraprāsāda gopura is of the same number of storeys as prescribed before.

On all the four sides of this gopura 4 mahānāsīs are designed and it is also endowed with odd numbered sthūpis (44. 131-33):

antaḥ pādottarairyuktaṃ madhyavāraṇasaṃyutam |
pārśvayordaṇḍavaktrāḍhyaṃ kṣudranāsīvibhūṣitam ||
śālākāraṃ śiropetaṃ jālakādivibhūṣitam |
keśaviśālālaṃkāraṃ bhūmibhāgādi pūrvavat ||
pārśvayośca mukhe pṛṣṭhe mahānāsīcatuṣṭa yam |
ayugmastūpisaṃyuktaṃ dvāraprāsādakaṃ trayam ||

(iv). Dvāraharmya types[2]

As mandated earlier, the number of storeys of this gopura is determined. The sabhā shaped śikhara is endowed with svastikā shaped nāsikās; also the śikhara has 8 nāsas and odd numbered sthūpis. If it is svastika in shape then it must be designed in the most favourable direction and like a śāntika[3].

On the frontal side and the length of the śiras should be decorated with bhadras (44. 134-36):

vakṣye'haṃ dvāraharmyasya lakṣaṇaṃ dvijasattama |
prāguktavatprakartavyaṃ bhūmibhāge dvijottama ||
sabhāśikharasaṃyuktaṃ svastikākṛti nāsikām |
śikharaṃ cāṣṭanāsāḍhyaṃ ayugmasthūpisaṃyutam ||
svastikaṃ ceti vikhyātaṃ diśā śāntikamucyate |
mukhe mukhe ca bhadrāṅgaṃ śiraścāyatamaṇḍanam ||

In all the four directions mahānāsīs and in the prescribed directions kṣudranāsikās are to be installed. The inner part of the gopura contains pillars with uttara and odd numbered sthūpis. The varied floors of the kūṭa are taken as per the instructions stated earlier. To the front and back of the gopura mahānāsis are to be constructed and their width must be 2 parts in extent. The śiras must be in the form of a śālā and must have odd number of sthūpis.

This śālākrānta should be embellished with varied decorations and the gopura must also have an adhiṣṭhāna, pillar and upapīṭhas (44. 137-40):

caturdikṣu mahānāsī vidikṣu kṣudranāsikā |
antaḥ pādottarairyuktaṃ ayugmasthūpikānvitam ||
kūṭādibhūmibhāgaṃ ca prāgivaiva prakalpayet |
pure pare mahānāsī satāre dvyaṃśanīvrakam ||
śālākāryā śiraḥ kāryaṃ ayugmasthūpikānvitam |
śālākrāntaṃ saṃyuktaṃ nānālaṃkāraśobhitam ||
nānādhiṣṭhāna caraṇairyuktaṃ tatsopapīṭhakam |
dvāraharmyaṃ tridhā proktaṃ śṛṇu gopuralakṣaṇam ||

(v). Dvāragopura types

The dvāragopura is also further classified into three varieties. They are as follows:

(a) Mātṛkhaṇḍa:

On all the four sides, this gopura, must have bhadras and the inner part of this has pillars with uttara. The śiras in the shape of a śālā contains bhadranāsi on its facade and the sides of the gopuras either have mahānāsis or 2 nāsikās on the two sides.

This type is called as Mātṛkhaṇḍa (44. 141-42):

caturdigbhadrasaṃyuktaṃ antaḥ pādottarairyutam |
śālākāraṃ śiroyuktaṃ bhadranāsī mukhe mukhe ||
pārśvayośca mahānāsī pārśvayordvidvināsikāḥ |
mātṛkhaṇḍamidaṃ khyātaṃ ... ... ... ||

(b) Śrīviśāla:

As described earlier, the number of storeys of this gopura too is fixed and the main structure is shaped like an elephant. The śīrṣa may be shaped like a tasā (Rectangular shape) or a sabhā (square). Moreover, many masūrakas, pillars and vedikās like structures are to decorate the gopura.

The mahānāsis have to be installed in all the four directions and the kṣudranāsikā in the prescribed directions (44. 143-44):

pūrvavadbhūmibhāgaṃ ca mūlakantu karīkṛtam |
śīrṣaṃ ca tasākāraṃ sabhākāramathāpi vā ||
nānāmasūrakastambhavedikābhiralaṃkṛtam |
caturdiśi mahānāsī vidikṣu kṣudranāsikāḥ ||

(c) Caturmukha:

The number of storeys of this gopura is as ascertained earlier. This contains bhadras in the desired directions along with vāraṇas (balustrades). Also, it is decorated with varied masūrakas, stambhas, vedikās, and so on. The śiras may either be in the form of a sabhā or a śālā. The mahānāsis are to be designed on the frontal side with 2 nāsikās on either sides. Further, the inner part constitutes pillars with uttara and each storey is endowed with a prastara.

Also, these three types of dvāragopuras have staircases on their inner side (44. 145-48ab):

caturmukhaṃ tato vakṣye bhūmibhāgādi pūrvavat |
diśibhadrasamāyuktaṃ madhyavāraṇasaṃyutam ||
nānāmasūrakastambhaṃvedikādibhiralaṃkṛtam |
sabhākāraśirovāpi śālākāramathāpi vā ||
mukhe mukhe mahānāsī pārśvayordvidvināsikāḥ |
antaḥ pādottarairyuktaṃ prastare tu talaṃ prati ||
antassopānasaṃyuktaṃ trividhaṃ dvāragopuram |

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Kāśyapa Śilpaśāstra., Maharishi edition, XLV. 104cd-06.

[2]:

Though v. 40 mentions: dvāraharmyaṃ tridhā proktaṃ śṛṇu gopuralakṣaṇam || –that there are three types of dvāraharmya, they are not explained properly in any of the editions.

[3]:

This is a type of prāsāda. For more details, refer to Kāśyapa Śilpaśāstra, Maharishi edition, XXVII. 15.

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