Architecture from IndiaSurendra Singh
The term ‘Indian’ has been too diverse for a dominant architectural image to cover its 2,000 years of building legacy. Invaded for eons, the settlers’ influences have themselves passed through Indianisation and layers of history. Regional diversity further led to these pluralities. Among the oldest architecture are the settlements at Mohenjo-Daro, Lothal, etc. Later eras show the prowess of cave architecture as at Ajanta, Ellora and Karla, while a shift from rock cut to stone masonry is noticeable at Mamallapuram. During the Gupta Period, temple architecture flourished in North and Central India. And in South India too, the various rulers have each enhanced the culture. The evolution of the Indo-Aryan style is seen In orissa, from Mukteshwar to the more elaborate Sun Temple’ From the Mughal Reign in the 12th century, North Indian architecture flourished, from the masculine Humayun’s Tomb to the feminine Taj. By the 17th century, the Indo-Islamic style was seen in Rajput and Maratha Forts. Elsewhere, in small, occupied territories like Kochi, Pondicherry and Goa, the Dutch, French and Portuguese left their stamps; and the English made a mark in the hill stations and metros. While the previous periods’ influences were seen largely on public edifices, European effects were felt in homes. Ethnic styles include stone-wood buildings in the North East and aangans in Central India. So usually, while a learned settler designed, Indians constructed, adding a familiar aesthetic and concessions for local conditions. So one sees the verandah and chajja intersperse Western bungalow designs to protect from the sun. Pre-independence architecture in easy-to-access India was a crossbreed. Multiple-family dwellings were added, like the apartments with Art Deco facades at Marine Drive in Mumbai. RCC has shaped most modern architecture. Globalization, liberalization and privatization now lead to a universal architectural expression. If architecture is indeed the printing press of its time, the Surviving markers of its history are our, real heritage.