(Video) Indian Art & Culture in English : Gupta Age : Art and Architecture

Indian Art and Culture in English Medium

(Video) Indian Art & Culture in English : Gupta Age : Art and Architecture

The Gupta dynasty holds an important place in the Indian history. This dynasty’s renowned ruler was Chandragupta 1, although the founder was Sri Gupta. The dynasty flourished from 4th century CE to 6TH Century CE, ruling mostly the North Central India. The Gupta period is well known as the Golden Age. During their reign- art, culture, architecture, literature, flourished marking some great accomplishments.

The Gupta’s have left behind a marvellous history of their glorious reign. To validate their achievements, here are some names of famous scholars of the Gupta period who made advancements in academic field- Kalidasa, Aryabhatta, Varhamihira and Vatsyayana to name a few. The Gupta’s were great patrons of art, education and philosophy.

Developments in architecture were also seen during this period. A lot of construction and enhancements in the temple designs were carried out during their rule. They are considered to be the first of architects to build Hindu temples that developed from the earlier rock cut shrines.

The Gupta’s had a great command and precision in all the fields but specifically they excelled in sculpting, architecture, painting and some other art forms. Their period witnessed and reached the zenith of new style, technique in art, architecture. The form of architecture during this period was very diverse in aspects of style, design and feature. Gupta Architecture was a true physical representation of Indian Philosophies.

Talking about the art and architecture of the Gupta period, some of the magnificent architectural work seen in the present times belong to the Gupta period. The influence of Gupta architecture has been witnessed in the later art and architectural work that took place in India. Magnificent temples, palaces, paintings, sculptures and art work were created during those times. The Gupta’s major works can be categorized into 3 groups – Caves, Stupas and temples.

Firstly, in this part we will talk about the caves.

We all have heard about Ajanta caves. These caves are situated in the state of Maharashtra. Ajanta caves is a group of 29 caves carved on a perpendicular cliff. These caves have 25 viharas and 4 Chaityas. These caves are said to be made in 2 different phases. They date back from 2nd Century BCE to 650 CE Most of the caves are dedicated to the life of Buddha. These caves have some beautiful sculpture, wall murals and ceiling paintings. The walls of Ajanta cave have Fresco paintings. These paintings reflect different phases of Indian culture. The paintings inside the caves are inspired from the Jataka tale which are the narratives associated to the incarnations of Buddha. The paintings here are inspired from Buddhism and influence of both- Hinayana and Mahayana faith and can be easily seen. All three art forms can be seen here.

The next cave is Ellora. This cave is located in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. These caves depict three different religions- Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Ellora caves is a group of 34 monasteries and temples creating an example of religious harmony during that period. These caves comprise of 12 Buddhist caves, 17 Hindu caves and 5 Jain caves. Unlike the Ajanta caves, the caves of Ellora are carves on the sloping side of the hill. Most of the temples in these caves have courtyards. The cave 10 is known as the Vishwakarma cave and it has carvings of Hindu and Buddhist figures.

Junagadh caves are located in Gujarat. These are dedicated to Buddhism. These caves are distinguished by the pattern of their construction. The oldest among these is the Khapra Kodiya Cave which has a L shaped design, it’s very basic and plain.

Montperir caves. These caves are located in Mumbai. This cave is dedicated to Shiva. This cave comprises of mostly sculptures. An elaborate structure describing the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvathi can be seen here.
Bagh caves are situated in the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is a group of 9 Buddhist caves comprising the paintings on the walls and ceilings.

Nashik caves are a group of 25 caves, these belong to Hinayana Buddhism. Most of the caves here are Viharas expect the cave 18 which is a Chaitya.

Now we will talk about Stupas.

These are basically round shaped structure generally used to hold Relics of Buddha. Apart from the temples, construction of two Buddhist stupas during the Gupta period have taken place. These stupas are – Dhamekh Stupa of Sarnath and Jarasangha meeting at Rajgriha.

Dhamekh stupa is, located at Sarnath. It marks the place where Buddha gave his first sermon. The stupa is cylindrical in shape. The lower portion of the stupa is covered with carved stone. The borders of the stupa are carved in geometrical and floral design. The base of the stupa is made with stone. The carvings on the walls is in Brahmi script. The height of this stupa is 43.6 m and the diameter is 28 m.