Sunday, May 31, 2015

बालिग


तुम न कहती थीं
बड़ा कब होऊंगा मैं
वही हरकतें बचपन से अब तक.
भूल जाता हूँ तुम्हें, फुटबॉल देख
और बारिश में भीगना चाहता हूँ तर-बतर,
गुनगुनाता हूँ अपना लिखा कुछ भी, बेसुरे.
और कपडे यूँ लपेटे
तुम्हारे संग किसी भी पार्टी में पहुँच जाता हूँ.

बेहद सलीका आ गया है,
हंसने की जगह मुस्कुरा के रह जाता हूँ
और रस्ते फुटबॉल नहीं देखता,
चुपचाप गुजर जाता हूँ,
गुजर जाती है बारिश.

तुम्हारे जाने के बाद लगता है
बालिग हो गया हूँ मैं,
समझ आ गई है.

डायरी - शहर - इश्क़ - ज़हर


कटे उलझे  से  लफ्ज़  डायरी  के
जैसे  कुछ  लिखना  भी  चाहते  हों
मिटाना  भी.

याद  है  कोई
जो  बरबस  आ  जाती  है
और  मैं उसे मिटाना भी चाहता हूँ.

--***--

तुम आके तिनके से मुझे निकाल लेना,
ये शहर कुआं है कोई
जिसमें गिर के मैं डूब गया हूँ.

--***--


बचपन से ख्वाहिश थी कोई
किसी परी से इश्क़ होगा.

तुमसे हुआ
और देखो, तुम्हारे पर उग आये,
सर पे मुकुट सज गया.

...और एक दिन तुम परी सा उड़ गए,
अपने सफ़ेद मुलायम पंखों से.

सपना था शायद कोई,
शब के जाते वो भी गया.

--***--

ज़हर था कोई जो खाया था
तुमने दुश्मनी निभाने जो दिया था.
चलते-फिरते कोमा में हूँ
बोलता हूँ, सुनता हूँ, समझता नहीं.

क्या नाम कहा बताया था
तुमने उस ज़हर का? - इश्क़.
बड़ा अजीब ज़हर है!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Untitled Post



तुम्हारे बिन बहुत कुछ अधूरा सा लगता है.. जैसे कुछ बाकि सा है अभी तक... जैसे रात है, पूरा चाँद है लेकिन दिल उस दूर के छोटे तारे को ढूंढ रहा है जो पास के पूरे चाँद में गुम हो जाता है. लोग रौशनी ढूँढ़ते हैं, मैं चांदनी में अमावस ढूंढता हूँ. दिमाग से मैंने चांदनी मांगी थी, दिल को मगर अमावस में दिखता मद्धम तारा चाहिए. वो तारा जो अब ओझल है.

मैंने तुम्हें पूरी शिद्दत से चाहा था... और यकीं करो, दिमाग से पूरी शिद्दत के साथ ठुकराया भी था.

वजहें मत पूछना.. तुम्हें सारी पता हैं.

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

For many years defence analysts are suggesting that India should create the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).  Critically examine why this suggestion is made and its importance for national security. 


A country's military strength depends on its military capacities at ground, air and water, combinedly. Modern warfare, which are rare though, and deterrence capabilities of a country are a creative and complex combination of capabilities in these three spaces.
All the three arms of India's military have been headed by three different officers, without any explicit integration between them. The Defence Minister is the only person above them, and being a politician, he is not expected to be aware of the intricacies of such coordination between the three arms of military.
Following are the reasons for the need of CDS:
1)It will provide the three arms with a unity of purpose required in operations involving more than one form of military and establish a synergy between three forces.
2) It will act as the direct link between the defence ministry and the country's military.
3) It will help the ministry in drafting better defence policies as the CDS would be able to provide a larger picture of the condition of military.
4) It will also help in fixing accountability as in multi-dimensional operations, CDS will be responsible for is success or failure.
However, a CDS may not have the full experience of every force except his own in which he served. This may lead to friction between CDS and the head of other two forces and may prove counter-productive. Also, concentrating power, as well as responsibility, in one person may not produce desired result. A body like a Coucil headed by CDS can produce desired results.
With India eyeing towards military expansion, establishing a CDS is a logical step. Internally, border security has been the most pressing issue. Even in disaster management, the role of military is indispensable: Role of army in J&K floods, of navy in Yemen to save Indians, and of air force in providing relief material. Externally, as a part of diplomatic strategy, India's military has carried out operations.
Hence, establishment of CDS is a must.

Moral Bank of China

As it goes What gets measured Gets managed.Recent Chinese Initiative of the Morality bank is based on Promotion, Encouragement of good Deeds, and community service in an Credit based/points based system. Various and Different level of awards are accorded to various humanistic and altrustic deeds for instance donation of Blood ,Stem cells are kept at higher level considering the greater number of accident and requirements for the Same . Such Carefully designed and neatly Packed Product Based Generosity "Accounts" may create the awareness aiming the Individuals about various Cooperation required in the society which otherwise would have been neglected/avoided. Such points /credits are redeemable for services like health, Personnel etc . It Is based on the Principle that rewarding for Performance or Deeds Motivates the individuals to perform[ Perform as more huma] in a Better way
It is difficult to say whether it will work here or not as many experiments worked abroad may not have worked in India. However one must not be Discouraged or refrain from implementing . It should be taken as project by administrator and rewards on basis of points can be used. Recently Good Samaritan law passed can be well synced to the Points/credit based system
In addition to it Points can be used as Electoral campaign and thereby creating morality in political sphere , such can help in generating greater people Participation and less expenditure on the advertisement in the Elections . Also while positive points are given negative points can/should be awarded for say VIP culture, misusing /embezzling the funds /graft issues . Thus People with good political image shall win which until now is mainly on Money and power in campaigns.
In sum Such experiment is win win Situation In carious spheres

India’s foreign policy in West Asia

Despite being a major player in the region, it is said that India’s foreign policy in West Asia lacks vision and is nearly moribund. Critically examine why.

India has a strong influence in the West Asia and North Africa due to various reasons like old civilizational ties with Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia; old sea trade routes; Khilafat Movement days; the Non Aligned Movement amd the Bollywood. Today the region holds immense importance for an aspirational India. There are about 7 million Indians working in these areas that are a source of huge remittances despite facing gruelling working conditions with little social security amd prospects of eviction due to domestication of jobs. Most of India's trade passes through Suez Canal and India depends upon oil (70%) from this region only. Paksitan enjoys cosniderable influence there as well due to Islamic nature.
Of late, India had recently lost much ground in these regions due to wide involvement of the West, specially after 9/11. India's stance has often vacillated on key issues as is evident from voting patterns in the UN. For example India abstained from voting on Libya and did not oppose when the West pushed for regime change. In Syria, India did not raise voice against IS Congress's decision to arm moderate Syriam rebels despite India's own bitter past with arming of Taliban. India voted against Iran on the nuke issue presumably under the US pressure, despite the engagements like Chabhar port and Delaram Highway.
The more turmoil that happens in a country, India seems to be less willing to engage it. The Palestine issue seems to be another area where India is facing problems due to increased trade in defense with Israel and silence is construed as endorsement of human rights violation. India's role seems to have been limited to evacuating its citizens form war torn areas.
The most glaring evidence is lack of diplomatic and high level visits.
Clearly, India needs to revamp the stance. The region is torn with ISIS, political turmoil, mutial bickering and Shia-Sunni sectarian divide. Any moves to directly engage ISIS will be detrimental to us. So we need to work on confidence builidng measures and starting diplomatic exchanges and cultural shows. Gulf Cooperation Council will be good place to start afresh and seek multilogues on concerned and shared issues. And it is quite sure that if India makes its voice heard, it will be recieved well in this region.

Polite sparring reveals strain in government-SC ties | Krishnadas Rajagopal

A series of run-ins with the judiciary marked the first year of the NDA government, as it pushed for an equal say in appointments to the higher judiciary through the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC).
A veneer of strained civility masked the confrontation between the executive and the judiciary. The first sign of tension concerned the aborted attempt to appoint senior lawyer Gopal Subramanium as a Supreme Court judge.
The collegium had recommended his elevation on May 13, 2014, when the UPA was in power.
However, as the NDA took over at a crucial stage in the appointment process, Mr. Subramanium’s name was segregated and the remaining names were processed for appointment. The government’s silence on why it did not want him appointed a judge cast a cloud on its intentions.
Court watchers say it was the government’s attitude on Mr. Subramanium’s elevation that rankled the most. It was after all only the fourth time in the country’s legal history that the collegium had recommended a name from the Bar for direct elevation as Supreme Court judge.
Withdraws candidature
The stand-off between the executive and the judiciary finally led to Mr. Subramanium withdrawing his candidature for the sake of his “self-respect and dignity”. He said he did not want his “elevation to be the subject matter of any kind of politicisation”.
This episode brought the knives out, with the then Chief Justice, R.M. Lodha, warning that he would resign if the judiciary’s independence was compromised. Justice Lodha blamed the government for taking the unilateral decision to segregate Mr. Subramanium’s name without consulting the collegium.
Debate on collegium
The government invited eminent jurists to debate on a new law to replace the collegium itself. There was no representation from any of the sitting judges of the Supreme Court, especially when the matter concerned judicial appointments and the survival of the 21-year-old collegium system. The debate resulted in “absolute consensus” that the collegium system should go.
A flurry of activity ended with Parliament passing the NJAC Bill and the 121st Constitution Amendment Bill in August 2014 and the Constitution Amendment sent for ratification to State Assemblies.
When the passage of the Bills was challenged before it, a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court said it was too “premature” to consider the legality of the NJAC before it became a law.
The period also saw the government compelled to rethink the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill in view of objections from judges. This Bill seeks to lay down enforceable standards of conduct for judges and a mechanism to allow any person to lodge a complaint against a judge on grounds of “misbehaviour or incapacity”.
By December 2014, the political class had closed ranks to ratify the 99th Constitution Amendment, incorporating the NJAC into the Constitution, and the amendment received Presidential assent.
Five-judge Bench
Subsequently, a second batch of petitions was filed in January 2015, again challenging the NJAC law and the Constitution Amendment as “unconstitutional” and a threat to “judicial independence”. These petitions travelled from initial hearings before a three-judge Bench to a five-judge Bench headed by Justice J.S. Khehar.
The NJAC Act was notified in April even as the challenge against it was pending before the Supreme Court.
In day-to-day hearings in the Supreme Court, the government attacked the collegium, calling it a system of “judges appointing judges” unique to the Indian judiciary. Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi termed the apprehensions about the NJAC “alarmist.”
The government even sought a referral of the petitions to a larger Bench of nine to 11 judges to first debate the legality of the 1993 and 1998 Supreme Court judgments in the Second Judges Case and Third Judges Case, which ushered in the collegium system, before going into the merits of the NJAC law.
On May 11, the five-judge Bench refused, for the time being, the government’s proposal to have a re-look at the 1993 and 1998 judgments before going into the constitutionality of the NJAC law.
A new chapter of a to-and-fro between the government and the judiciary waits to be opened on June 8 when Justice Khehar’s Bench will start hearing on the merits of the NJAC law.
Other developments too pointed to the executive’s troubled ties with the judiciary. Prime Minister Narendra Modi remarked at a public forum that judicial views should not be driven by “five-star activists.” Mr. Rohatgi made some candid submissions in open court against the “illegality” of the collegium.
Personal comment
Mr. Justice Lodha’s successor, Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, may have found nothing wrong in making a personal comment about the Prime Minister as a “good leader and a good human being” during an “informal chat” with presspersons, but he refused to budge when the Prime Minister invited him to select two eminent persons for the NJAC. In his letter to the Prime Minister on April 25, Chief Justice Dattu wrote that it is “neither appropriate nor desirable” that he participate in the NJAC as chairperson when the law itself is under challenge.


Source: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/polite-sparring-reveals-strain-in-governmentsc-ties/article7242316.ece

Western disturbance

Western disturbance (WD) is the term used to describe an eastward moving, extratropical storm that brings sudden winter rain and snow to the northwestern parts of the Indian subcontinent. The moisture in these storms usually originates over the Mediterranean sea and Atlantic Ocean. The passage of a WD across north India increases monsoon activity over Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. WD are important to the development of the rabi crop in the northern subcontinent.

The frequency of western disturbance amplified because of presence of easterlies from Bay of Bengal. Also due to pronounced warming over the Tibetan plateau in recent decades which can be attributed to climatic warming, favours enhancement of meridianal temperature gradients. The warming in recent decades over west central Asia led to an increase in instability of the western winds thereby increasing WDs leading to a higher intensity for heavy precipitation.

Such disturbances can damage crops resulting into economic as well as agricultural loss for the people and farmers. Farm output is affected when crops that are ready to be harvested or about to ripen, get soaked in excessive rainfall. This is a concern in states like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana. though the effect cannot be said firmly but certainly the disturbances in monsoonal pattern in India will affect its citizens.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Missing the big picture on Big Data | G Sampath

Why is the government so anxious to make the ownership of an Aadhar card, which is officially voluntary, practically mandatory? Why did the online fashion store Myntra.com recently turn app-only, which means you can’t shop on it through the website or mobile browser but only by downloading the app?
Why is Facebook developing solar-powered drones to beam Internet from the sky? And why do both Facebook and Gmail keep badgering you for your cell phone number?
What is the need for something called internet.org when there is already an Internet out there? Why does our government want to invest in ‘Smart Cities’ when it is unwilling to invest adequately on education?
The answer to all these questions, as Bob Dylan might have said, is flowing in optic fibre cables. If not, it is definitely stored in a non-meteorological cloud somewhere. Its name: Big data.
Big data is no different from gold; it is firstly, and ultimately, a commodity
The UID-Aadhar project will be the largest such citizen database on the planet. The reason Myntra wants its customers to transact only from apps is that consumer data is most valuable when tied to specific individuals, as it enables a closer tracking of user behaviour. It is also why Google, Facebook, and other tech companies want your mobile number.
It is because Mark Zuckerberg does not possess a search engine like Google does — which, as the entry point to the Internet for most people, is the ultimate instrument for generating consumer data — that he wants to start another, smaller ‘internet’ for those who cannot afford the full-size one.
As for Smart Cities, it is a blatant scheme to ensure that every citizen is dragooned into a digital grid at all times, so that she secretes a non-stop data trail from birth to death. This data trail, or big data would be continuously captured and processed for optimal value extraction (read monetisation).
If a world governed on the basis of big data is indeed the future, then what does this bode for humanity? The dominant consensus right now is overwhelmingly positive. But if we delve deeper, the use of big data and what it would entail for the future of human lives will unravel a problematic picture.
ILLUSTRATION: SATWIK GADE
According to the optimists, big data — in combination with what is described as the Internet of Things (IoT), a world where the vast majority of gadgets, machines, and humans are connected to the internet and to each other — promises a future where all important decisions about business, life, and society would be taken purely (and happily?) on the basis of data.
Human judgment, which is typically partial, flawed, and conflicted — and often distorted by factors that are not measurable, and do not compute, such as moral qualms, or empathy — need never come into the picture. This, they believe, would make for greater efficiency, higher productivity, and the optimal utilisation of resources for the greatest good of the greatest number.
There is a name for such decision-making driven purely by big data analytics. It’s called ‘evidence-based decision-making’. Its semantic twin is ‘actionable information’. Evidence-based decision-making can and does pay off brilliantly in business operations — this is what enterprise software solutions do, and they were indeed the tech precursors of big data analytics. It is ideal also for, say, predicting the weather, or earthquakes, and for identifying bankable talent in team sports, as the bestselling book/ film Moneyball showed.
Besides, big data already plays a major role in the management of infrastructure and industry, not to mention security, military affairs, health, and geopolitics, as the Snowden leaks made amply clear.
Purveyors of technological determinism like to argue that, with the advances in cloud and mobile computing, the non-stop generation of data on a never-before scale is bound to change how humans think, and therefore act and live.
The graver threat is a digital replay of colonial era exploitation, with data replacing mineral resources and raw materials as the source of value
This was the contention of Chris Andersen, the former editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, in a widely debated piece titled “The End of Theory: The data deluge makes the scientific method obsolete”. Andersen’s logic is simple: since processing of big data can give us correlations that can predict accurately, causation is no longer relevant. So theory, or explanations of the world based on the model of cause and effect (which is how humans have traditionally made sense of the world), are now obsolete.
In other words, we no longer need to think. Collect data, feed them into the maw of analytics, and wait for solutions to emerge. In Andersen’s words, “With enough data, the numbers speak for themselves.”
Well, this is no longer solely the chartered accountant’s motto. It is the article of faith among the world’s movers and shakers.
The World Economic Forum, an annual gathering of the global power elite, notes in its 2014 Global Technology Report that data is “a new form of asset class”, adding, “data are now the equivalent of oil or gold. And today we are seeing a data boom rivaling the Texas oil boom of the 20th century and the San Francisco gold rush of the 1800s.”
In his foreword to this very report, John Chambers, the chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, points out that, with the number of app downloads growing from 10 billion in 2010 to 77 billion in 2014, there is “a $19 trillion global opportunity to create value over the next decade.”
As per industry estimates, in India alone, it is set to touch $1 billion in 2015.
Will politics surrender to analytics?
No doubt, there is overpowering business logic to the rise and rise of big data analytics. But does this mean it should get a leading role in the domain of politics and public policy?
The answer to this question may already have been decided, going by the frequency with which “evidence-based policy-making” and “actionable information” pops up in government documents and the reports of bodies such as the United Nations or the World Bank.
India, too, is well and truly on board the bandwagon. On the one hand, the large pool of English-speaking engineering/ mathematics graduates makes India an attractive destination for the off-shoring of big data analytics, which Indian tech entrepreneurs are well placed to exploit.
On the other hand, with several citizen-to-government transactions, such as passport applications and tax payments migrating online, and the state unwilling to relax its grip on Aadhaar, and plans afoot to digitise medical records, it is clear that Big Data will come to play a major role.
Besides, many examples have been cited to prove that big data can be harnessed for social good. We have been told that cellphone call logs can help locate survivors during a natural disaster. Online searches can yield data to predict a disease outbreak (the principle behind applications such as Google Flu Trends).
And given the billions of dollars — the preferred term is ‘value’ — riding on the so-called ‘information economy’, it is unlikely that the raw material for data manufacture (also known as ‘people’) will have much say in the matter. We are already beginning to see this in India, with ‘evidence-based decision-making’ being trotted out as an argument against the precious few welfare schemes still left for India’s poor, such as the public distribution system (where data show that it is leaky), or the rural jobs scheme (where data show it is riddled with corruption).
A policy determined by such evidence alone would seek to scrap both schemes and replace them with cash transfers, as the incumbent government seems keen to do. But big data, by definition, is the wrong tool with which to understand the social consequences of giving cash instead of food grains — a critical policy input that can come only from politics, not analytics.
Where is big data taking us?
The exponential growth of big data analytics, and its increasing utilisation in government policy, is premised on many things, including growth in IT infrastructure, the digital inclusion of those hitherto excluded by poverty, and an overarching colonisation of the analog universe by the digital.
But what it needs above all is the erasure of the very concept of privacy. Many of us have already voluntarily surrendered our privacy, either for the sake of convenience or to save costs — by ticking the ‘I accept’ box when we sign on to a social media or email service.
But privacy — while critical for a functional democracy – is not the only casualty of big data. The graver threat is a digital replay of colonial era exploitation, with data replacing mineral resources and raw materials as the source of value.
We already have a bizarre scenario in several developing countries (including India) — a scenario that is somehow no longer perceived as bizarre — where people don’t have toilets (an amenity with tremendous public health consequences) but own cell phones, and their mobile data is being captured for ‘actionable information’ on the status of their health, and for ‘evidence-based’ framing of health policy.
It promises a future where decisions about business, life, and society will be taken purely on the basis of data
It is in the context of such anomalies that a term coined by a Tanzanian health minister becomes relevant: data colonialism.
The expression gained traction when Najeeb Al Shorbaji, Director, Knowledge and Management at the World Health Organisation (WHO), gave a speech in 2013, titled ‘Data Colonialism’. Shorbaji used the term to describe a scenario where the West has been mining African nations for health data without the Africans benefiting in any way.
He uses the same data-as-gold metaphor used by the WEF report to draw an analogy between the flow of raw materials from the colonies to Europe, and the flow of data from the erstwhile colonies to the developed West today. The objective in both cases is the same: extraction of value.
Today, useless data (or ‘data exhaust’ as it’s called) has to flow from the developing markets to the West (via Google or Amazon or their equivalent) in order to be commodified as information. Shorbaji illustrates the social dynamic of data-driven exploitation with an example from a domain that is usually touted as a poster boy for the benefits of big data analytics: healthcare.
He describes how impoverished Africans, who are not even aware of the concept of informed consent, living as they do in countries with no legislative framework for data collection and usage, agree to become guinea pigs for risky clinical trials in exchange for a little money or free medical treatment.
The animating logic of big data
This brings us to the philosophical basis of big data, which is rooted in the abstractions of statistics. It is well known that statistics grew as a discipline to address the needs of the modern state, which had to administer populations on a big scale. In big data, the post-modern state has found a fitting collaborator for monitoring, and pre-emptively controlling, sections of the populations that, in circumstances of prolonged deprivation or injustice, can be prone to unseemly eruptions against those who control the levers of the state.
Typically, the ‘big’ of big data is construed as a reference to the sheer volume, velocity (of generation) and variety (of sources) of the datasets involved. But perhaps the real reason why ‘big’ data is big is that it seeks to decisively appropriate human agency and transfer it to data and algorithms.
Even the term ‘actionable information’, often invoked in the context of big data, suggests that it is not humans who have to decide what is to be done, and therefore take responsibility for the choices being made, but somehow the data or information itself which decides (for humanity) the action to be taken. This, finally, is the inescapable social cost of big data analytics.
And so, finally, we come to the big question about big data: Can analytics find solutions to humanity’s problems? Yes, but not to the problems that human beings choose not to address.
Many global problems have their origins in deprivation. We don’t need big data analytics to tell us this. It is common sense that if such widespread deprivation is addressed – which requires solving the problem of extreme inequalities in wealth and income – a lot many problems, such as hunger and disease, can be resolved.
In fact, there already is ample data, including an OECD study, which confirms that reducing inequality boosts economic growth. But this has hardly prompted a corresponding change in government policies anywhere. While evidence-based policy-making may be good for business and the tech industry, it is only politics-driven policy-making that can make a positive difference to people’s lives. For, as data evangelists never tire of pointing out, big data is no different from gold — it is firstly, and ultimately, a commodity. 

The writer is the Social Affairs Editor of The Hindu. Email: gsampath.thehindu@gmail.com

Friday, May 22, 2015

India’s eye on universe ready for tests

Astrosat launch in October, to provide useful data for country’s astronomers

An artist’s impression of Astrosat, with various instruments mounted on it.— COURTESY: ISRO
An artist’s impression of Astrosat, with various instruments mounted on it.— COURTESY: ISRO
A fully assembled Astrosat, India’s first space observatory, is ready for intensive tests here before its launch around October.


The Indian Space Research Organisation said on Tuesday that the 1,650-kg spacecraft would orbit Earth equatorially at 650 km and study distant stars, galaxies, black holes and other cosmic objects.
Elite status
The space-based observatory was built at the ISRO Satellite Centre here to operate for five years and will provide useful data for the country’s astronomy community. It will put India in an elite orbit with the U.S., Europe, Russia and Japan.
“Last week, the spacecraft was fully assembled and switched on. All the [six] payloads and sub-systems are integrated into the satellite. Mechanical fit checks of the satellite with the PSLV [polar satellite launch vehicle] payload adaptor were performed successfully,” the space agency said on its website.
One of ISRO directors said Astrosat would be the first such satellite to scan simultaneously the sky in most of the frequency spectra from ultraviolet to optical and low- and high-energy X-ray bands.
Large scale
Although previous national satellites carried small astronomy-related devices, “Nothing on this scale, with a dedicated satellite, has been done before [at ISRO]. It should be of immense benefit to our scientists, who have depended on inputs from other agencies and sources like the Hubble [US-European space telescope],” the official said.
In the coming days, Astrosat will undergo a host of environmental tests — electromagnetic interference, electromagnetic compatibility, thermal vacuum, vibration and acoustics and so on.
Later, the satellite will be shipped to the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, for launch.
ISRO developed the six payloads in partnership with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai; the Indian Institute of Astrophysics and the Raman Research Institute, Bengaluru; and the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune.
Two payloads were developed with the Canadian Space Agency and the University of Leicester, U.K.

Source: www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/indias-eye-on-universe-ready-for-tests/article7225181.ece

Thursday, May 21, 2015

तुम्हारे बगैर



तुम्हारे बगैर
मैं किसी जकड़न से अलग सा महसूस करता हूँ,
बेड़ियों से छूटा सा.
सोच पाता हूँ खुद को
और किसी रौशनी में चलने लगता हूँ.

तुम्हारे बगैर कई ख्याल, कई लोग
सीधे मिलने आते हैं.
पाश, लेनिन, काफ़्का से लेकर
नेहरू, कबीर, गुरुदत्त तक
पता नहीं कौन-कौन.
और कई दफे पिकासो, हलदनकर मिलकर
मेरे सर पे रंग उड़ेल जाते हैं.
जैसे 'ब्लू फेज़' की कोई पेंटिंग गढ़ गये हों.

तुम्हारे बगैर मैं असीमित होता हूँ.
तुम्हारे बगैर ज्यादा खुश,
आज़ाद और प्रफुल्लित.

तुम्हारे बगैर मैं बस 'विवेक' होता हूँ,
'सिर्फ तुम्हारा विवेक' नहीं.
खुद के सपने देखता हूँ,
खुद की समझ बूझता हूँ.

फिर मैं तुम्हारा साथ क्यों चाहूंगा?

सपने / पाश

हर किसी को नहीं आते
बेजान बारूद के कणों में
सोई आग के सपने नहीं आते
बदी के लिए उठी हुई
हथेली को पसीने नहीं आते
शेल्फ़ों में पड़े
इतिहास के ग्रंथो को सपने नहीं आते
सपनों के लिए लाज़मी है
झेलनेवाले दिलों का होना
नींद की नज़र होनी लाज़मी है
सपने इसलिए हर किसी को नहीं आते 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Modern Painting

Contemporary Indian art has travelled a long way since the days of Ravi Verma, Abanindranath Tagore and his followers and even Amrita Sher-Gil. Broadly, the pattern followed is this. Almost every artist of note began with one kind of representational or figurative art or the other tinged with impressionism, expressionism or post-expressionism. The irksome relationship of form and content was generally kept at a complementary level. Then through various stages of elimination and simplifications, through cubism, abstraction and a variety of expressionistic trends, the artists reached near non-figurative and totally non-figurative levels. The 'pop' and the 'op', the minimal and anti-art have really not caught the fancy of our artists, except for very minor aberrations. And, having reached the dead and cold abstraction, the only way open is to sit back and reflect. This copy-book pattern has been followed by a great number of artists, including senior and established ones. As a reaction to this journey into nothing, there are three new major trends: projection of the disturbed social unrest and instability with the predicament of man as the main theme; an interest in Indian thought and metaphysics, manifested in the so called 'tantric' paintings and in paintings with symbolical import: and more than these two trends is the new interest in vague surrealist approaches and in fantasy. More important than all this, is the fact that nobody now talks of the conflict between form and content or technique and expression. In fact, and in contradiction to the earlier avowal, almost everybody is certain that technique and form are only important prerequisites to that mysterious something of an idea, message or spirit, that spark of the unfathomable entity that makes such man a little different from the other.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Modern Architecture


No doubt we have a great architectural heritage of temples, mosques, palaces and forts. So much so that whenever architecture is thought of in conjunction with India, images of the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri and South Indian temples are conjured up in our minds.
The question that comes to our mind is:
Do we have anything today as representative of Modern Architecture which could be compared with our old buildings? Or in even simpler terms - 'what represents Modern Architecture in India'?
The question which is difficult to answer - demands more than skin deep analysis of modern architecture in the context of India.
The answer to this question also depends on the spirit behind it. If the curiosity behind the question concerns the quantum of construction done in post-independence years, the answer can be one impressive list of statistical figures, a fine achievement for building science and technology.
But, if on the other hand the questioning mind is concerned about new architectural and planning thought generated in the same post-independence years, which have resulted in buildings and cities suited to our socio-economic, cultural and climatical circumstances, our achievements are not very impressive so far. But considering the fact that formation of thoughts and ideas, in this relatively young field, has been going for only the last quarter of century and with the limited resources that we have, it is evident that we are on the verge of making a break-through.
It is not out of context here to go into details how things have been happening in the field of architecture in years preceeding the following independence.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai, Maharashtra
   

North and South Block, Delhi
Architecture traditionally, i.e., before the arrival of British on the Indian soil, was from the social point of view, a creation of spectacular sculptural forms hewn out of stone. Architectural material was stone; tools, chisel and hammer, and the aim was glorification. In contrast, the every-day needs of a common man were ruthlessly neglected. Then the British arrived on the scene, it was through them that the first introduction to elementary modern building construction and planning was introduced into India. Their aim, however, was to house their organisations, and their people and whatever was necessary to control an empire as big as India. Apart from self-serving military cantonments and civil lines, they also left the basic problems well alone. It was no intention of the British to educate Indians in the art and science of architecture. Consequently Indian minds, during the British reign, were completely out of touch with the progressive thinking taking place in the rest of the world. The most significant architectural phenomenon that took place during the first half of this century in this country was building of Imperial Delhi. This was an anachronism of the highest order, because, while at that time contemporary Europeans were engaged in most progressive thinking in architecture, Sir Edward Lutyen's was a masterpiece in high renaissance architecture, the result of a way of thinking typical of the early nineteenth century in Europe. It is interesting to note that at the same time as the construction of Delhi, Europe was having "Heroic period of modern architecture" in such schools of thought as "Bauhaus".
Independence woke us to a changed situation. "Time had moved on. In place of religion or royal concern with architectural immortality, this situation demanded attention to those problems that had so far been ruthlessly neglected. The ordinary man, his environment and needs became the centre of attention. Demand for low cost housing became urgent.

 
Industrialism that was to follow in India, spawned its own problems of townships and civic amenities for workers. Fresh migration from rural areas to existing cities also strained already, meagre housing capacities of existing cities. The very scale of the problem was and still is unnerving. 8,37,00,000 dwelling units needed throughout the country and the demand rises annually at the rate of 17,000 dwelling units, not to mention rural housing. To face staggering problems of such magnitude, twenty-five years ago, there were few Indian architects in the country and practically no planners. There was only one school of architecture in Bombay. But there was the will to build, with the limited resources and technological know-how at our disposal.
We marched ahead and built an impressive number of houses and other buildings of utilisation nature. In the process we made mistakes and learnt from them. Each fresh attempt was a step closer to building of forms more suitable for the Indian climate and socio-economic conditions. In this process, architects also became aware of the need for a certain amount of research work in new ways of building and planning if we were to face the problem squarely as they say. Since government was the agency with the largest resource, it had to carry the heaviest responsibility for construction. Need for various kinds of organisation on the national and regional level was felt. Following is the list of governmental bodies that we have today, which in some way or the other are responsible for building industry in India.
(1) CENTRAL PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT (C.P.W.D.)
This is a national organisation with affiliated bodies at state level called Public Works Department (P.W.D.). It looks after all the construction of government office buildings, residential accommodation for government employees, institutional buildings like the I.I.T., hospitals, public auditoriums, conference halls like Vigyan Bhavan, and hotels such as "The Janpath" and "The Ranjeet". etc. A number of other buildings, like Libraries, research institutes, airports, radio and T.V. Centres, Telecommunication building, factories and workshops are also looked after by the C.P.W.D.
Activities of the C.P.W.D. are not restricted to building construction alone. The department also looks after engineering, construction of granaries, warehouses, bridges and canals that have helped the country in its fight against food shortage.
The Horticultural wing of the department has involved itself with the creation of environmental comforts, like Parks such as Buddha Jayanti Park and Mughal Gardens.
Activities of the department at present have extended beyond the borders of the country. The Sonali-Pokhra road project in Nepal has been completed and a hospital for children in Kabul had just been completed and the department had been appointed as consultant for work of the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Institute at Mauritius.
Rashtrapati Bhawan, Delhi

Connaught Place, Delhi
(2) TOWN COUNTRY PLANNING ORGANISATION
A planning organisation is responsible for physical and land-use planning on a national scale and then detailed land-use planning on regional scale. In other words this organisation is responsible for earmarking National land for various uses, such as Towns, cities, industry etc., considering factors like economy, ecology, communication etc. thereby ensuring balanced and planned physical growth of the whole nation. Apart from this the organisation is engaged in preparing development plans for existing cities such as Delhi to ensure controlled growth of these cities.
(3) HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION :
HUDCO was set as a fInance operating body to deal with a revolving fund of 200 crores.
Its main objectives are :­

(a) To finance Urban Housing.
(b) To undertake setting up of new or satellite towns.
(4) CENTRAL BUILDING RESEARCH INSTITUTE
C.B.R.I. conducts research into various methods of economical construction and various other aspects of the building industry. It is a research oriented organisation.
(5) NATIONAL BUILDING ORGANISATION :
N.B.O. is an organisation which acts as interface between all incoming technological information and practising architects and builders.
(6) HINDUSTAN HOUSING FACTORY :
H.H.F. concerns itself in encouraging the technology of prefabrication throughout the country.
(7) STATE HOUSING BOARDS TO DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITIES :
Apart from all these, are state housing boards in all the mentioned above bodies which are responsible for implementation and designing of the housing needs, and general controlled growth of the existing cities according to drawn up master-plans for development. For financial help they depend on agencies like HUDCO.
Together with the help of all the organisation, by no means an exhaustive list, government performs various roles, from public works to deployment of financial resources, from research to distribution of fundings to building industry. Much has been done, much remains to be done.
On the architectural horizon today find us with a new generation of architects and planners. Today we have nearby fifteen architectural schools throughout the country and certain equipment and knowhow of naturalized building science and technology and a growing experience with new material and methods and large scale planning. All this had not been easy.
However, it was not huge, building institutions, but individuals that have been responsible for evolving a new aesthetics bridging the hiatus between traditionalism and modernism. Painstakingly these individuals have worked, over the years, learning both from abroad and our experiences with traditional architecture, to bring about various schools of thought responsible for the spirit of modern Indian architecture. The emphasis now lies not on awesome monumentality, but factionalism with accompanying virtues of economy, simplicity and utility.
It is relevant here to go into the development of these ideas. As a matter of fact some ideas of modern architecture were not to come to us until 1950, when Le Corbusier at that time was a leading figure in architectural circles created Chandigarh, one of his most ambitious projects.
This had a tremendous impact on the mind of Indian architects, who had so far only seen-either glorious temples or forts of the past or the Imperial British capital of New Delhi in the name of modern architecture. Overwhelmed, they found this expression of modern architecture quite acceptable. It was grand and sensational and at the same time was based on rational basis of climatic analysis and planning freedom. In the years to follow, buildings spring up all over India which had similar expression and the same materials. But ideas of Le Corbusier had to be crystallized before they could be adopted in India. Some realized that concrete and plastic forms were after all not the solution for all Indian architectural problems, howsoever sensational they might be.

 
There was another parallel phenomenon going on at the same time which was to influence the course of modern architecture in India to come. Indian architects were going to Europe and America to seek higher education and cultural inspiration. The Indian architectural community took its inspiration from ideas developed in the western world. During the sixties these architects who received their education in the western countries commanded high positions as professionals as well as teachers. They taught, practiced and experimented with what they had learnt in the west against the harsh realities of India. The process of fermentation of ideas was turned on. There were many realizations that were to form the rational basis for architecture to come.
First of these realizations was that if we have to do anything worthwhile in India for Indians under Indian socio-economic and climatic conditions, the west was no place to look for inspirations or solutions. We will have to evolve our own patterns of development and physical growth, our own methods and materials of construction and our own expression of foregoing. This realisation created a sense of vaccum and because of the poignancy of the feeling of vaccum, the search began, and architects started looking in different directions for various answers. In each direction partial perception of truth was declared as the total truth. The fact however, remains that in each direction we have moved closer to rational basis of modern architecture. One of the first places where Indian architects looked for inspiration for expression of total architecture of India, is our own village and folk architecture. Architects studied with keen interest the way people solved problems long before western influence was felt in India. From desert settlements of Jaisalmer, to village developments of hills, plains and sea-coasts, all became the focus of study. Complex planning were analysed and looked into for inspirations. There are some daring architects who have gone as far as to study the human settlements in the heavily populated areas of existing metropolitan cities, built without the help of architects, looking for solutions of high density, low rise economical housing; a challenging problem for India. It is the contention of these farsighted architects, with a hard nosed realism, that in such kinds of dense developments, with simple methods of construction and conventional low cost materials, when laid out in a planned manner, that we will find the answer urban housing for our really poor masses. While some of these architects were busy looking for answers in what we already have in our traditional settlements, others were exploring how industry can be made use of in solving the aspect of building problems. Prefabrication has potential in large scale housing, large span structures and industrial buildings on anywhere were repetitive units can be employed. But so far in India, industrialization of the building industry has not made great headway for lack of technological infrastructures to support it, therefore its influence is only limited to fascination of imagery. However, one aspect of technology that can be successfully applied in architecture is invention and manufacture of new building materials from industrial waste to replace the traditional building materials like steel and cement of which there are tremendous shortages.
Supreme Court, Delhi

 
There is the growing realization among architects that just to build visually beautiful buildings will be useless, unless it is backed by infrastructure of services, such as water supply, electrical supply and communication system of rapid mass transit, etc. In other words it is not an individual building but the total environment that matters. All this calls for serious attention on patterns of physical growth that will take care of layouts of all these services in an organised manner.

...क्या आप पांचवी पास से तेज़ हैं?

हमने बनाये ईश्वर, ईश्वर के दूत... हमने बनाये ‪#‎आसाराम‬... और उन्हें दे दिया हमने हमें ईश्वर तक पहुंचाने का ठेका.
फिर उनके ‪#‎कुकर्मों‬ पे कुछ सिर पीटते रह गए कुछ कुकर्म ढांपते.
कुल जमा दो साल में आठ में से कुल छ: गवाह मार दिए गए... आज एक पे हमला हुआ... क्या तुम बताओगे बाकि बचे दो को ईश्वर तक पहुँचाने में कितना वक़्त लगेगा? ये गणित तो प्राइमरी का लड़का भी लगा सकता है... क्या आप पांचवी पास से तेज़ हैं?

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तुमने जगनमोहन पैलेस देखा है? #मैसूर आने वाले लोग अक्सर वहां नहीं जाते, बस मैन पैलेस देख के चले जाते हैं. आर्ट गैलरी है जगनमोहन, और 'ड्यूड' और 'कूल' लोग आर्ट गैलरी और म्यूजियम नहीं देखते. मैंने कई-कई दिन, कई-कई घंटे वहां बिताये हैं. चुगताई की आँखे ले उसकी पेंटिंग्स देखी हैं. राजा रवि वर्मा से एक दफे पूछा भी था कि सिर्फ देवता ही क्यों, और ये खूबसूरत अर्धनग्न देवियाँ...?
उसने कहा था कि उस वक़्त यही चलता था. धार्मिक पुनरुत्थान का वक़्त था वो.. सबको देवता चाहिए थे... देसी देवता. लेकिन सबको अपनी स्त्रियां चाहिए थीं मेमों से ज्यादा सुन्दर. रजवाड़ों को चाहिए थीं मेमें हरम में सजाने. मैंने पहले देश घुमा फिर ये चित्र बनाये.

बेवकूफी लगा था उसका ये कहना. लेकिन अब लगता है वो सही था. देखो मैं भी तो वही लिखता हूँ जो तुम्हें पसंद है... और जब किताबें लिखूंगा तो अवाम की पसंद की.

कला पे खुद कलाकार का हक़ कब रहा है...?

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इन सड़कों पे चलके कभी आने-अकबरी लिखी गई होगी, तब ताज न होगा यहां और शायद न रहा हो लाल-किला. यमुना रही होगी दौड़ती भागती, लेकिन इतनी गन्दी न रही हो शायद.. और आगरा #आगरा न रहा हो. पेठा खा के तुम सा गोलू होना चाहता हूँ और अगली ट्रैन पकड़ गोल गुम्बद तुम्हारे संग देखना चाहता हूँ. ख्वाहिशें बहुत हैं, शहर कई... बस सेंटर में तुम हो हर जगह. मेरा फोकस है कि किसी भी शहर तुम्हें खोज लेता है. फिर वो शहर अपना बना लेता है, तुम्हारी तरह.

छोड़ो, तुम नहीं समझोगे... हर अक्स में इश्क़ का होना.

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जो वर्षों बाद भी अतीत में हों और उनका भविष्य अनसर्टेन... उनके साथ ‪#‎ख्वाब‬ नहीं सजोंये जाते... आपकी ख़ामोशी में ढेर सारे लफ्ज़ होते हैं जो कानों में गूंज जाते हैं... जिनके मतलब मैं जानना नहीं चाहता. बस कभी-कभी कहते-कहते आपका खामोश होना अच्छा लगता है. जैसे आप नदी हो कोई, यकायक से हो गई हो शांत और मैं चुप-चुप ही वादियों के बीच धीमी सी कल-कल सुन रहा हूँ... गुपचुप-गुपचुप.
मैं सागर हूँ, किसी दिन मिलना ही है नदी को... शायद किसी और नदी के रस्ते... यमुना का गंगा से हो सागर तक पहुंचना या झेलम का सिंधु के रस्ते.. लेकिन नदी को मिलना ही है सागर से. फिर भी, जो वर्षों बाद भी अतीत में हों और उनका भविष्य अनसर्टेन... उनके साथ के ख्वाब नहीं सजोंये जाते...
‪#‎लप्रेक‬

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मैं शहर हो जाऊंगा, तुम मेट्रो हो जाना. मेरे दिल के एक कोने से दूसरे कोने तक अपनी ख्वाहिशें पहुंचाना और कहीं किसी जंक्शन पे मिले ख्वाहिशें हरी-पीली-लाल सी और मेरा दिल मचल जाये तो क़ुतुब सा आकाश चूम एक #घर बसा लेंगे हम. जिसके एक से दुसरे कोने तक पहुँचने मेट्रो की ज़रूरत न पड़ेगी.

छोटा सा घर, बड़े से #अरमान लिए.

Temple Architecture



The Mauryas were famous for their art and architecture Evidence of the earliest known structural temples has been recovered through excavations. A circular brick and timber shrine of the Mauryan period of 3rd century B.C., was excavated at Bairat District of Jaipur, Rajasthan. The shrine measures 23 meters in diameter and was made of lime-plastered brick work, alternating with 26 octagonal pillars, of wood. It was entered from the east through a small portico, supported by two wooden pillars and was surrounded by a seven feet wide ambulatory. A second example of a Maurya temple uncovered by excavations, Temple 40' at Sanchi, has a similar plan, it was a stone temple on an apsidal plan enclosed by an ambulatory, and raised on a high, rectangular scale, approached by two flights of steps from diagonally opposite sides. The super-structure was possibly built of wood, and has disappeared. In the following centuries the temple underwent a series of changes making it difficult to recognise from the original plan.

Temple 18 at Sanchi also was an apsidal stone temple probably with a timber superstructure, originally dating from the 2nd century B.C. The present remains of the apsidal temple with its stately pillars and pilaster dates from about the 7th century A.D. though the temple remained in use till the medieval period.

Perhaps the earliest structural temple still standing in its original condition is the one constructed at Aihole in Karnataka. This is a little structure built of huge almost boulder-like blocks of stones. The temple consists of a simple square cell the garbhagriha or sanctum sanctorum, in front of which there is a coveredverandah, a portico, which consists of four heavy pillars supporting a stone roof. The pillars as well as the entire structure is as simple as can be, except for a small frieze-like motif on the small parapet that runs on two sides of the ground length of the portico.


Temple 18 at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh
It is interesting to observe that the architect who built this edifice had not yet discovered that the two pillars nearest the cell need not have been built standing clear away from the wall but that they could easily have been pilasters, half pillars, half jutting out of the back wall of the verandah. Nor had he taken the climate into consideration and did not provide gargoyles to allow the rain water to run off the roof. The entire structure is heavy, bulky and clumsy. Probably, this was constructed near about 300 to 350 A.D.



Temple No. 17, at Sanchi is a small temple built about 400 A.D. and everything attempted earlier, is done much better here. The stones are smaller and laid out in regular neat rows; the roof has been separated so that the portico has a slightly less prominent height - the Sanctum-Sanctorum being the main house of the God. Gargoyles have been thoughtfully provided to drain off rain water and the four back pillars are more slender and beautifully carved. This temple truly belongs to the Classical Period and is marked by elegance, harmony, balance and dignity. Decoration is minimal and is only used where one structural form joins another.
An inverted lotus is placed where the top of the shaft joins. The capital and little lions, seated back to back, act as support where the roof rests on top of the pillar. The entire structure is simple, with no complication. However, in the course of time the extremely plain and simple temple architecture becomes increasingly complicated, from a simple quadrangle it evolves into salient and re-entering angles, protrusions are added, making the outline more and more involved, till eventually it becomes almost like a star with more than a hundred little corners on the ground level.
Temple 17 at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh


Lad Khan Temple, Aihole, Karnataka
The Ladkhan temple of Aihole belongs to about 5th century A.D. Here the architect has tried to give attention to the circumambulation path which is enclosed by means of a wall allowing devotees to havepradakshana or cirumambulatory of the holy of holies. Obviously when a large number of people would be going round in a dark gallery the consideration of light and ventilation would naturally arise and for that purpose the architect has provided perforated jallies. The entrance portico is in this particular case kept relatively small and not too much stress is laid on it. After all, it is only the entrance gateway. The structure still reminds us of a wooden prototype with stone walls, supporting a slanting roof made of large boulders of stone slabs. Cleverly enough the roof has been given a slant and provided with gargoyles to allow rain water to run off and on the sanctum sanctorum proper the roof is a little higher, and very rightly so, for that is the, abode of the God. On the top of the structure is the very first attempt to raise a turret, a precursor to the future loftier spire, the Shikhara. The idea behind it must have been that, a temple being the home of the God must be seen from far and near, from different parts of the village or town so it must be tall and higher than the surrounding buildings.


The Durga temple at Aihole is an apsidal temple of about 550 A.D. in which the architect has made immense improvements upon his previous attempts. This temple is provided with a high pedestal, an open pillared verandah serving as pradakshanapatha, in place of a dark, ambulatory passage as in the case of the Ladkhan temple. Instead of perforated jallies is a pillared verandah running round the shrine, open, well ventilated and well lit. There is a high entrance with steps leading up to a tall base; the roof is almost double in height and in this particular case the turret is beginning to take the shape of a little spire, which, during the course of the next centuries; evolved into a towering Shikhara. The pillars would have looked very dull had they not provided an opportunity to the sculptors to carve with beautiful figures. Carving is also done under the row of pillars and for the first time we come across brackets supporting the beam of the roof across the wide opening of the temple. This again reminds us of the practice followed by the architect working in wood, who wanted to make either a house or a shrine by putting up pillars or posts of bamboo or wood on top of which he put horizontal beams so as to hold the roof. To make this construction doubly strong, he hit upon the 'idea of making brackets, an essential element in Hindu and Buddhist architecture in India and used much earlier in China; a slanting piece of stone emerging as it were from the pillars or posts, reaching out like an arm to hold the lintel or beam steadily. This kind of construction is known by the architectural term, trabeate, as distinct from accurate which was later made use of by the Muslims.
Apart from structural temples the other variety of temples are rock cut, found at Mahabalipuram, about 38 miles down south of Madras on the sea shore, datable to the 5th century A.D. In local parlance they are known as Ratha or chariots and are named after the five Pandava brothers and Draupadi but they neither have anything to do with chariots nor probably with the Pandavas and these associations are purely of a local character. The great Pallava rulers of Kanchipuram, were great builders and the Pallava craftsmen, seized upon the long outcrop or rocks and boulders available on the sea shore, carved them and gave to them the shape of temples (monolithic) as well as colossal statues of lions, elephants and bulls, etc. carved out of smaller boulders.
One of these rock cut temples is known as the Draupadi Ratha.  It is a rock ­cut imitation of a mud hut, supported by wooden posts, crowned by an imitation of a thatched roof. The Draupadi Ratha consists of a square cell, with not even a portico, surmounted by a. hanging roof suggestive in its shape of a Bengali hut. There is every reason to believe that this, like so many other forms of structural Indian architecture is an imitation of a proto-type construction of bamboo and thatch. Two lovely girls adorn the entrance, each carved in a small niche provided for the purpose on either side of the entrance. A floral decoration runs along the edge of the roof which, according to some, is nothing but a rock cut representation of the original brass or copper edging over the thatching to keep it in position.
Durga Temple, Aihole, Karnataka


Draupadi and Arjuna Ratha, Stone, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
In shape and appearance the rest of the rathas seems to have evolved out of a building composed of cells arranged round a square courtyard. As the community of monks occupying the monastery increased another storey was added, and then another and still another, the whole structure eventually being topped with a domical roof. These are square in plan and are surmounted by a pyramidal tower such as Arjuna's ratha and the Dharmaraja ratha.
There is another type of the Ratha which has a longitudinal and barrel vaulted roof, i.e., they have a roof of the so called elephant-back type (Gajapristhakara). The Durga temple at Aihole, and the Vaital deul at Bhubaneswar are examples. The roof, in the case of the square shrines consists of a simple multiplication of hut roofs, very much the way we can see them in Buddhist monuments and other little huts. Though these are carved in rock they show a so-called Buddhist chaitya window with a little Buddha head. In the case of Arjuna's ratha and Dharmaraja ratha, their wonderful proportions, magnificent disposition of mass of light and shade reveal their classic character. The simple upright posts imitations, of wooden pillars support brackets and the pilasters have small animal bases. Whereas earlier at Sanchi the animals were used for the capital, here they are used as a base.


A temple, named after the twin heroes, Nakula and Sahadeva, is an apsidal one, with ornamental features as in the Dharmaraja, Arjuna and other rathas. There is a slight forward extension of the roof to form a porch supported by two lion pillars. There are no figure-carvings on this temple. Close to this is a monolithic elephant suggesting theGajapristhakara (elephant back) shape of the apsidal temple.
The Ganesh-rath is one of the finest monolithic temples at Mahabalipuram. Though three-­storeyed and of better workmanship, it resembles the Bhima-ratha in roof form. The gable-ends of the wagon-roof have a finial showing a human head decorated by a trident shaped head-gear, the slide prongs suggesting the usual horns in the dvarpala-figures and the central one long and narrow crown. This motif is repeated in the finials of the decorative gables along the wagon-roof. There is, as usual, the pavilion and Kudu ornamentation. The elaborately worked roof has nine vase-shaped finials and is the precursor of the later gopuram. A row of pilasters decorates the sides and the back, while the main opening is to the west. Between the dvarapalas at either end are two lion pillars in the centre and two pilasters.
Nakula and Sahadev Temple, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu


Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
The Shore temple at Mahabalipuram datable to late 7th century is specially known because of its location on the sea-shore. This temple though very similar stylistically to the Dharmaraja ratha, differs from it in an important respect that it is a structural temple and not a rock-cut one. It is about 3 to 4 times the size of the Dharmaraja ratha and is made a triple structure by adding a shrine at the back and slightly jutting out in the front. There are two spires, much loftier than in the case of the previous temples, the higher spire has more storeys than the Dharmaraja ratha and the pinnacle is higher and pointed. It is much more complicated, enlarged and enriched. The shrine is enclosed by a massive wall, having the typical Pallava rampart lion pilasters at regular intervals. On its outer side, the wall is surmounted by seated bull figures.
The Kailasanath temple at Kanchipuram was built by Raja Simha shortly after the Shore temple in the 8th century A.D., and compared to the latter, is larger in dimensions and more majestic in appearance. The Kailashnath temple is situated in a rectangular courtyard surrounded by a peristyle composed of a continuous series of cells resembling rathas. But there the Pallava style is further evolved and more elaborate. It consists of the sanctum (garbha griha), a pillared hall (mandapa), the ambulatory, the vestibule in the shape of a hall. The flat roofed pillared mandapa, which was a separate building originally, was connected with the sanctum by a vestibule.


An interesting feature of this temple is that on the three sides of the garbha griha, there are nine shrines. The pyramidal tower, having graceful contours, is a storeyed elevation, each having heavy cornices and stupikas. The shikhara is well-proportioned, substantial, yet at the same time rhythmic in its mass and elegant in its outlines.


The Dhamekh stupa at Sarnath is an imposing cylindrical structure (ht. 43.5 m., dia at base 28.3 m.) of the Gupta age, partly built of stone and partly of brick. Its stone basement has eight projecting faces with large niches for statuary and is further adorned with delicately-carved floral and geometrical patterns. Making the holy spot of the enlightenment of the Master, this site is looked upon with, greatest sanctity and became a flourishing Buddhist establishment with numerous temples, stupas and monasteries. According to tradition a large number of shrines and memorials were created at the site to commemorate the incidents before and after enlightenment.
The main brick built shrine known as the Mahabodhi temple which appears to have been originally erected in circa 2nd century A.D. is encumbered with heavy renovation, the four corner-towers being an arbitrary addition of circa 14th century A.D. Its central tower, standing on a high plinth, is about 55m. high and is a straight-edged pyramid of seven storeys, by pilasters and chaitya niches.


Dhamekh Stupa at Sarnath,
Utter Pradesh


Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya, Bihar
According to literary tradition, Nalanda, 10 kilometres north of Rajgir and a suburb of the ancient city, was visited by Buddha and Mahavira. Ashoka is said to have worshipped at the chaitya-niches of Sariputra, Buddha's disciple, and erected a temple. By the time of Harsha  A.D. 606-648, Nalanda had become the principal centre of Mahayana learning and a famed University town with numerous shrines and monasteries which attracted scholars from far and near. The Chinese Pilgrims Huien Tsang and Fa-hien studied at Nalanda and have left account of the settlement and its life.
Temple 3 was more than 31 m. high and consisted of seven successive accumulations of which the two latest belonged to the 11th and 12th centuries and the fifth one, dating from circa 6th century, was notable for its sculptural wealth. The monasteries were imposing rectangular buildings, each with an open courtyard, enclosed by a covered verandah which leads into cells, arranged on the four sides. The cell facing the entrance served as a shrine. Nalanda was an important centre of Pala sculptures and bronzes and has also yielded seals and sealings of great historical significance.



Let us now turn to a region where the north Indian style of temple architecture developed in an interesting direction.
Till about the 6th century A.D., the style of temple architecture was similar both in the north as well as in the south. It is only after this date that each began to evolve in its own different direction. For the present let it be understood clearly that the two areas where temple architecture developed most markedly were the Deccan and Orissa and in both these areas the northern and southern style temples can be found side by side. The Vimana, the temple tower over the main shrine in Orissa is one of the most glorious inventions of architecture in India and is functionally a much finer conception than the south Indian Gopuram, where the barrel-shaped tower does not crown the sanctum sanctorum or thegarbha-griha but is a glorified entrance gate. We had suggested in our introduction that the architect wanted to impart to the temple more importance, prominence than the other buildings in the neighbourhood, because here lived his God in the garbha griha or the womb-house. The Orissan spire does precisely this, proclaiming the presence of God far and wide, from its lofty and imposing structure as at the Jagannath temple at Puri or the Lingaraja at Bhubaneswar; driving awe and respect into the hearts of the faithful and impressing all who approach it. The temple tower or the vimana, as it is called in Orissa, is thus, a mighty expression of the religious faith of people. It is interesting to study the temple projected here which is the Vaitala Deul at Bhubaneswar, a barrel­ roofed shrine of the Sakti cult, datable to the 8th century A.D. The facade or outer side of the temple is divided by ribbon like elements that run down the base from under the barrel roof. These ribbons project slightly and contain niches with sculptures, while the actual barrel shaped roof is resting on a number of regularly diminishing highly decorated mouldings, one on top of the other. The barrel roof itself is an imitation in stone of a thatched roof of an ancient hut, going back to very early times and still found over bullock carts in Bengal and other regions of the east.
Jagannatha Temple, Puri, Orissa


Shikhara, Vaital Deul Temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa
It is interesting here to remember that there is a definite pattern in the elaboration, complication and ornamental decoration evolving out of the dignified simplicity and harmony of the classic period such as seen in the Sanchi temple, gradually giving place to every increasing ornamentation and decoration.
We have already seen that in India the sculptor and the architect were often one and the same person and it would be highly misleading to treat sculpture and architecture separately. As a matter of fact, sculpture was introduced as a decorative element over the facade on outer walls of a temple. To recapitulate let us look back at the great Sanchi temple of about the 5th century and .see how very simple the structure is and how bare and undecorated the walls are. Then you might have observed that on the walls of the Ladkhan temple, by providing a variety of perforated screen windows, some variation was introduced by about the middle of the 5th century and about a 100 years later in the Durga temple at Aihole, sculpture were added at the base of the pillar round theverandah and gradually in the Vaitala Deul, datable to about the beginning of the 7th century, the sculptor has made rich use of the niches in the ribbon like projections to embellish and decorate the temple.
By about the year 1000 A.D. the temple was treated with decorative elements. The Raja Rani temple of Bhubaneswar, is superbly decorated, showing sensuous and graceful figures of Yakshis and Vrikshikas standing amidst luxurious natural surroundings.


The early Indian temple was provided with a flat roof and there was a problem of letting out accumulated rain water. In the Aihole temples of Ladkhan and Durga, the roof slabs have been given a slant and these slabs of large stones which were used in the early Orissan temples datable to about the mid 7th century, namely the Parasurameshvara temple at Bhubaneswar. In this case there are two roofs of slanting slabs, one above the other, providing in between, small skylights allowing light to penetrate inside the shrine. Gradually these slanting slab-roofs begin to increase from one to two and from two to three and gradually by multiplying these roofs, a pyramidal roof results over the shrine, called Jagamohana in Orissa, which precedes the main shrine.
A masterpiece of Indian architecture is the Rajarani temple of Bhubaneswar, a work of exquisite grace in which the masses of the Jagamohana and the Vimana are admirably combined to express perfection. There is a very lovely beehive shaped tower rising from the ground with a gentle curvature over the sanctum sanctorum. Shikhara onShikhara, miniature temple towers, one on top of the other, mount higher and higher to ever loftier heights like the great Mount Everest surrounded by smaller crags. It is possible that the architect conceived the idea of the ever rising succession of these miniature Shikharas and was inspired by the great mountain range and the highest peak in the Himalayas which is surrounded by lesser peaks and might well symbolise the aspirations of the human soul to reach up till it merges and mixes with the Eternal and the Almighty Spirit. The Orissan temple stands as a great monument to the infinite patience and loving care and perseverance that moves these architects and the kings who carved ornaments and distinct from the severely simple pyramidal roof of modest height over Jagamohana or themandapa. The multiplication of the slanting slabs has been carried to 13 horizontal elements, diminishing as they reach towards the pinnacle on the top of the pyramid. But even this pinnacle is dwarfed by the importance of the lovely round stone, the amlaka, the chhatra or the crown on top of the spire or tower. The Jagamohana and theVimana are connected by means of miniature spires emerging from the pyramidal roof of the Jagmohana towards theShikhara of the sanctum sanctorum, making a transition a kind of step that leads the eye towards the height of the tower.
Parasurameswara Temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa


Surya, Vital Deul Temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa
We have seen that the evolution of temple architecture in Orissa is towards the greater elaboration of the plan and pronounced ornamentation over the outside of the walls, with decorative elements, including human figures, gods and goddesses, flora and fauna. Early temples of modest size and somewhat smallershikharas such as the Parasurameswara temple at Bhubaneswar datable to the middle of the 7th century, with a squat and heavy shikhara over the sanctum sanctorum and a low flat roofed mandapa, embellished with a relief of dancers and musicians of great charm, gradually matures into an elaborate structure of towering height, embellished with sculptural decorations.
Then comes the Vaitala Deul which is known for its sculpture grace and exuberance of decoration, with a rectangular sanctum with wagon-vault roof similar to that of the Parasurameswara temple, and is datable on the basis of its decorative motifs and designs, which are mature, expressive and dynamic, to the close of the 8th century.
Then comes the Mukateswara temple regarded as a gem of Orissan architecture.
The Brahmesvara temple is a panchyatana temple securely dated by an inscription, to about 1060 A.D. This is a temple in which the central shrine is surrounded by four small shrines in the four corners of the compound. Though a very beautiful shrine, the spire or shikhara appears to be curving rather abruptly under the amlaka, unlike the spire of the Rajarani which is perfect and admirable for its style and decoration. The Jagamohana has a rather top heavy pyramidal roof, unlike the Rajarani which is of modest height and much simpler.


The Lingaraja temple, datable to about 1000 A.D., is perhaps the most marvellous temple ever erected in this century, the grandest and the loftiest (above 36.50 m. high) marking the culmination of the architectural activities at Bhubaneswar. This temple consists of the sanctum sanctorum, a closed hall, a dancing hall and a hall of offerings, the last two being later additions. The Lingaraja is surrounded by a large number of additional shrines which clutters up the entire compound. The enormous height of the spire, 5 times the height of the Rajarani, dominates the entire surroundings by its soaring loftiness and volume, emphasised by the deeply incised vertical lines of the rathas, a pair of which flanking the central ratha, carry four diminishing replicas of the spire itself as a decorative pattern. The Jagamohana and the spire match each other splendidly and both express the greatness of the Lord. The nine lower roof and seven upper roofs of the Jagamohana are exquisitely adorned with friezes representing a procession of infantry, cavalry, elephants and miscellaneous other scenes that break the monotony of the rising pyramid and a great shikhara surface too is elegantly varied by the introduction of corner miniatureshikharas and flying lions. The elegant and lovely female figures, loving couples in embrace, and other gods and goddesses decorating the surface are all carved with sensuous charm, beauty and delight in fine form. The mature planning of the whole structure, the proportionate distribution of its part, the graceful curve of its shikhara and its elegant architectural and plastic decoration, together with its impressive dimensions make the Lingaraja, at Bhubaneswar, one of the greatest creations of Indian architecture. Technically speaking it is a marvellous architectural feat to build a tower and a shrine of such enormous size, of the fashioned stone.
It may be mentioned at this juncture, that in the later temples of Orissa, including the Lingaraja, there are two additional shrines attached along one axis - in front of the Jagamohana, natamandapa, or a hall of dance and music, and a bhogmandapa, a hall of offerings. As a matter of fact, the temple was a total work of art in which we have not only sculptures and painting, but music, dancing and theatrical performance, making it a true civic centre for artistic and cultural activities, somewhat like the modern community halls, which are places for social and cultural gatherings. In the olden days the temple performed this task and was truly the hub around which all civic and religious life of the community revolved.
Lingaraja Temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa


Surya Mandir, Konarak, Orissa
Among the later shrines of Bhubaneswar the Ananta Vasudeva temple, founded in 1278, is remarkable in more ways then one. It is the only temple dedicated to Vaishnava worship at this predominantly Shiva site and stands on an ornate platform terrace. It continues with the developed plan and decorative scheme of Lingaraja, but the grouping of the roofs over the four compartments in a gradual ascent is more spectacular here. Further, the walls of the sanctum and the Jagamohana display images of the Regents as well as those of their consorts.
The last great temple, the grandest achievement of the artistic and architectural genius of Orissa is the Sun temple at Konark which was constructed by the eastern Ganga ruler Narasimha Varmana, about 1250 A.D. It is a vast and wonderful structure, magnificently conceived as a gigantic chariot with 12 pairs of ornamental wheels, pulled by seven rearing horses. The colossal temple originally consisted of a sanctum sanctorum, with a lofty curvilinear shikhara, Jagamohana and a dancing hall, built on the same axis, and an extensive compound wall with three entrance gateways. The sanctum sanctorum and the dancing hall have lost their roofs and it is only the Jagamohana which has remained intact with its roof. The sanctum sanctorum and the Jagamohana together stand on a lofty platform, richly ornamented by friezes of elephants, decorative ornaments interspersed with figures sculptures, often of a highly sensuous character. Over the stupendous roof of the Jagamohana consisting of horizontal tiers, grouped in three stages, stand life size female sculptures of great charm, dancers, cymbal players and others adorning each stage. The whole structure of the Jagamohana unparalleled for its grandeur and structural propriety, is surmounted by an effective contrast of light and shade.


Udaipur, about 40 miles from Bhilsa in Madhya Pradesh, is yet another ancient and remarkable site. The finest and best preserved temple is the Nilakantha or Udayesvara at Udaipur, built by Udayaditya Paramara between 1059 and 1080. It has a covered porch, a pyramidal roof and a tower or Shikhara ornamented by four narrow flat bands running from base to summit, the intervening spaces being occupied with repeated ornaments consisting of reduplication in miniature of the main tower. The whole is carved with particular precision and delicacy, and both tower and mandapa are in perfect preservation, the former surmounted by an amalasila or a vase.
The most important of the temples at Pattadakal date from the first half of the 8th century and show the strongest possible evidences of Pallava influence. The great Virupaksha temple, dedicated to Siva as Lokesavara, by the queen of Vikramaditya II datable to 740 A.D., was most likely built by workmen brought from Kanchipuram, and in direct imitation of the Kailasanath at Kanchipuram.
The main shrine is distinct from the Mandapam, but has a pradakshana passage, the pillared mandapamhas solid walls, with pierced stone windows. The square shikhara consists of clearly defined storeys each of considerable elevation. Chaitya window motifs are much used and there are many sculptured lintels, slabs and monolithic pillars. It is built of very large, closely-jointed blocks of stone without mortar, in keeping with early Dravidian temple building practices. One of the noblest structures in India, this is the only ancient temple at Pattadakal still in use.
Virupaksha Temple, Pattadakal, Karnataka


Brihadeshvara Temple, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
Let us turn our attention once again towards the South of India, where the Dravidian style of temple architecture flourished roughly from the 8th century to about the 13-14 century A.D. Unlike the North, the South is literally dotted with thousands of temples, having been relatively free from repeated foreign invasions to which the North was subject. Behind the architectural achievements of the country, lay the urge of the Hindu mind to give vent to its religious and spiritual hopes and aspirations, and the construction and maintenance of a temple became an act of merit or Dharma both here and in the hereafter for all - Kings, nobles and laymen alike. It was the centre of all cultural and social life, the hub around which all activities revolved. Its influence extended beyond the purely religious and spiritual realms and made the temple an important centre. The temple was a leading landowner, thanks to the frequent donations from kings, nobles and lay-devotees. The construction of a temple usually took many years and it gave employment to hundreds of artists and engineers. The finest craftsmen from neighbouring provinces found employment and a whole generation of talented sculptors were trained by them during its construction. The daily routine gave assured employment to a large number of people, priests, musicians, dancing girls, teachers, florist, tailors, etc. In course of time the simple unostentatious temple became a vast conglomeration of structures, consisting of subsidiary shrines, Natamandaps and Bhogamandapas, or a dance hall and hall of offerings. Poet pavillions, confectioners and others were allowed to become part of temple complex. In other words the temple almost embraced and enveloped the town or the town embraced and enveloped the temple. With the increase in all these additional structures, more compounds were added to the original temple compound, one inside the other, like Chinese boxes.


The present South Indian temple, therefore, consists of walls, quadrangles, one within the other. The inner most wall in the area contains the temple proper, a much smaller and unpretentious structure than the other larger gateways which now began to attract the attention of architects, sculptors and carvers. The Brihadesvara temple which was erected about 1000 A.D. is a contemporary of the Rajarani temple of Bhubaneswar. The temple is a magnificent and dignified edifice consisting of a pyramidal spire, made up of ever diminishing tiers, regularly tapering towards the top surmounted by a domica1 pinnacle. In many respects this shrine resembles the Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram. The domica1 pinnacle, however, is different in conception and execution from the amlaka of the Orissan Shrine. The highestshikhara rises straight over the garbha griha from the sanctum sanctorum. The structure is adorned with beautiful sculpture and paintings; inside as well as outside. The Brihadesvara Temple, dedicated to Shiva, stands in a courtyard 500 ft. by 200 ft. and consists of the sanctum sanctorum, large hall a pillared hall and a Nandimandapa arranged on the same axis. The pyramidal vimana is about 190 ft. high consisting of 13 zones in diminishing order and has been so conceived that at no time during the day does the shadow of its pinnacle fall anywhere outside the temple base.
The famous Kailasa temple at Ellora is in a class by itself because it is a rock-cut temple complex, which in many respects resembles the various rathas at Mahabalipuram. This temple was constructed during the reign of the Rashtrakuta King Krishna and belongs to the middle of the 8th century A.D. The carvers at Ellora cut three trenches down into the rock and then began to carve the rock from the top downwards. Even though it is carved on the model of a structural temple, the Kailashnath temple is a rock-cut shrine within a rectangular court. The different parts of the temple are the entrance portico, the vimana and the mandapa as well as a pillared shrine for Shiva's bull, Nandi. Both inside as well as outside the temple, there are beautiful, graceful and dignified sculptural decorations, largely pertaining to the theme of Shiva and Parvati, Sita's abduction and Ravana shaking the mountain.
Kailash Temple, Ellora, Maharashtra


Temple Complex, Madurai,
Tamil Nadu
The gopuram, is the tower, an oblong quadrangle, sometimes a square, with a passage through the centre and is situated on the entrance gateway unlike in the north, or even at the Brihadesvara temple in Tanjore, where the tower-like structure was on the top of the sanctum sanctorum or garbha-griha. In many ways the gopuram could have descended from the Buddhist gateway such as we have already seen at Sanchi and Bharhut, etc. It is crowned by a barrel-vault roof over which a large number of pinnacles rise which remind us once again of a barrel roof on a longitudinal hut which used to be made of timber. As stated earlier these gopurams are towering structures, some having 9 storeys, others even 11. The gopuramprovided an excellent opportunity to the sculptor to practice his craft and contain some of the finest sculptures produced in the country. The gopuram at Chidambaram has a series of sculptures showing dance poses of Bharatanatyam. At night time, lights used to be lit in each storey of the gopuram tower and these acted as a sure guide to the nocturnal traveller, acting like a light house or beacon. As a rule the highest gopuram tower was the latest, the earliest being the least high size as in the gopuram of the Meenakshi temple at Madurai. Visitors can climb into these towers to appreciate the carvings at close quarters and incidentally get a marvellous view of the temple complex. South Indian temples of this period are remarkable for the great size of their structures, mandapas and gopurams. In addition elaboratemandapas of hundred pillared type are also constructed during the period of late Vijaynagar and the period of the Nayakas in the 16th century A.D. This is an interesting departure from the evolution of the temple from early times. These pillared halls now become more and more elaborate with pillars showing donor couples, kings, queen, mythical animals with fantastic shapes and size. The paintings over these as well as over the pillars and ceiling are very colourful.
In some temples there are tanks surrounded by elegant pillared halls which are functionally and architecturally admirable structures. The temples built in the 12-13th centuries under the patronage of the Hoysalas of Mysore, are at Somnathpur, Belur and Halebid. The well-known Kesava temple at Somnathpur, and the Hoysala temple at Halebid and Belur are veritable treasure houses of ornamental and decorative elements, carved in niches, and intricate vegetal and floral carvings. The vimana is of a star shaped plan with salients and reentering angles with mouldings, multiplication and over-decoration. Not an inch of space is left uncarved and there are animals and other denizens of the forest shown on the lower most three or four mouldings, interspersed with floral and creeper designs and, above them all, in more than life size, are shown huge sculptural representations of gods and goddesses, completely covered with by lavish decorations and rich ornaments.


Khajuraho, twenty five miles North of Panna and twenty seven miles of Chhatarpur in Madhya Pradesh is an important place because of the exquisite temples built there by the Chandellas.
The Khajuraho temples are cruciform in plan with the long axis from East to West. Built of buff sandstone from the quarries of Panna, these temples have a soft texture and a most pleasing colour. The temples have usually been made on high terraces. Almost all the temples have an inner shrine an assembly hall or mandapa, and an entrance portico. The temples at Khajuraho have a circumambulatory passage also. Some of the temples at Khajuraho are a cluster of five shrines - the main temple surrounded by four others at each corner. In architecture, these types of temples are known as Panchayatana - a temple that has a central shrine surrounded by four other shrines.
The Kandariya Temple, the Mahadeva Temple, the Devi Jagadamba Temple, the Chitragupta Temple, the Vishwanatha Temple, the Parvati Temple, the Lakshamana or Chaturbhuja Temple; the Varaha Temple; the Chaunsat Yogini Temple (the only temple made entirely of granite and dedicated to sixty fouryoginis) are some of the very famous and worth studying from the art and architectural point of view.
These temples were built between tenth to late twelfth centuries. The South-East of Khajuraho is famous for Jain Temples. The Parsvanatha Temple is most important one whereas the Ghantai Temple is named because of the bell and chain ornaments at its pillars.
 
Vishwanath temple, Khajuraho,
Madhya Pradesh


PALA AND SENA KINGS
From the eighth to twelfth centuries, the eastern portion of India was host to a florescence of artistic activity. Under the Pala dynasty, which ruled large portions of Eastern-South Asia for nearly four hundred years span, many centres of Buddhism and Hinduism flourished.
The Pala dynasty came to power around 750 A.D. The Pala school of art first flourished in the Magadha region of Southern Bihar, the homeland of Buddhist religion. Not surprisingly, the majority of early Pala-period remains are Buddhist. Due to intense religious activity during Pala­ Sena period, many religious structures were built or renovated. Most of these buildings have vanished leaving no extant architecture from this period and making it very difficult to reconstruct a systematic overview of the architectural development. Inspite of non-availability of any building, a huge corpus of sculpture and a few paintings survive from this period.
During the Pala-period, a number of monasteries and religious sites that had been founded in earlier periods grew into prominence. The large cruciform stupa at Paharpur (ancient Somapura) in Bengal (now Bangladesh), for example, measures more than one hundred meters from North to South. It was built around the late eighth or early ninth century. The walls of the courtyard contain 177 individual cells that served as shrines.
Although the first two hundred or so years of Pala-period art were dominated by Buddhist art, the Hindu remains also exist in some quantities in that phase and clearly dominate in the last two hundred years of the Pala-period.
The remains, though damaged, suggest that Bengali architecture styles in particular shared many features with other northern schools especially that of Orissa. The surviving examples from Bengal later than Pala-Sena period especially from the sixteenth century and later show greater Islamic influence. Thus, for an understanding of the Hindu artistic development from the eighth to twelfth centuries, the greater attention must be placed on the surviving sculptures.

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