Indian Architecture has always been inquisitive due to its magnanimity and the arty creations. Our country has a plethora of monuments, baroque and modernistic buildings which echo the tales of their era. Did you know that among the 830 World Heritage Sites listed by UNESCO, 26 belong to the Indian soil?
India has seen a number of architectural styles which developed the course of history. In this article, we are trying to take an overview of 9 such amazing Indian architectural styles!
1. Temple Architecture
Temple architecture has deep roots in India. It has developed in almost all the regions in the country. Although the origins of the style are the same, we can see a substantial differentiation and variety of architectural styles in temple construction. This variety is mainly caused due to the geographical, climatic, racial, ethnic, linguistic, and historical diversities in India.
Primarily, the Indian temple architecture has been classified into three broad types, namely; Nagara or the northern style, Vesara or mixed style, and the Dravida which is the southern style. All these styles carry their unique regional influences and lineages.
2. Mughal Architecture
The Mughal architectural style has emerged out of a unique blend of Islamic, Persian and Indian architectural styles. This style found its roots from the 16th century and continued to have a prominence till the beginning of 18th century.
During this era, India was ruled by the Mughal emperors and thanks to this architectural style; today the country has some of the most beautiful structures like the Humayun’s Tomb, Akbar’s Tomb, Fatehpur Sikri, Red Fort at Delhi, Jami Masjid Delhi and the Taj Mahal at Agra.
3. Indo-Saracenic Revival Architecture
Indo Saracenic Revival architectural style is a beautiful fusion of Indian architecture and Indo-Islamic architecture. It is also famous as the Indo-Gothic, Mughal-Gothic, Hindu-Gothic, and Neo-Mughal architectural style. This style of architecture inherits exotic elements of the Indian architecture and the Islamic architecture and blends it with the neo-classical and Gothic revival styles from the British Victorian era.
4. Dravidian Architecture
The Dravidian architectural style emerged in the southern region of the Indian subcontinent thousands of years ago. The structures built by the native Dravidian people, which were primarily called as Kovils are epic instances of Dravidian architecture. These Kovils are dependent on complex carved stone. Such materials are the key to create step kind of designs which contain many statues of kings, deities, dancers, and warriors.
5. Kalinga Architecture
The Kalinga architecture flourished in the ancient region of Kalinga. This architectural style can still be seen in the eastern Indian state of Odisha and the northern parts of Andhra Pradesh.
Most prominently, the Kalinga architectural style consists of three different types of temples, i.e., Rekha Deula, Khakhara Deula, and Pidha Deula. The diverse characteristics of the famous Kalinga architecture are; architectural stipulations, historical connotations, and iconography, which honours the custom, traditions, and legends which are associated with the structures.
6. Sikh Architecture
Sikh architecture has gained immense popularity across the globe. Sikh architecture is identified with brilliant intricacy, progressiveness, incredible beauty, and amazing flowing lines. This is a particular architectural form which has contributed to the evolution of modernism and progressive style in Indian architecture. The wonderful Sikh architecture is all about attractive curves and straight lines; which makes it look outstanding and different from other architectural styles
7. Vesara Architecture
Vesara style of architecture has found its roots in the state of Karnataka during the medieval period. This style is a combination of both Dravida and the Nagara architectural styles. In this style, the heights of the individual tiers are reduced without affecting their actual numbers. This reduces the total height of the temple architecture.
8. Cave Architecture
The cave architecture in India began in the third century BC. The Jain monks and the Buddhist used these structures as their homes and places to worship. Some instances of this architectural styles are Chaityas and Viharas of Buddhists. Caves have been reflected in three different religions; Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
9. Rock-Cut Architecture
The Rock-cut structures in India project the most impressive pieces of ancient Indian art. The Rock-cut architecture is an art of creating a structure through carving it out of one single, solid and natural rock. Most of the rock-cut structures in India are related to various different religious communities. India has more than 1,500 renowned rock-cut structures, and a number of these structures are artworks which have gained global importance, decorated with wonderful stone carvings.
Isn’t it surprising to know that a single country inherits so many architectural styles? Well, even this is not it! We have much more to share…stay tuned for future articles or share the styles you know in the comments below!