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Day 23 – Q 1.Rock cut architecture find an important place in ancient Indian history. Comment.

1. Rock cut architecture find an important place in ancient Indian history. Comment. 

प्राचीन भारतीय इतिहास में रॉक कट आर्किटेक्चर का एक महत्वपूर्ण स्थान है। टिप्पणी करें।


Rock-cut architecture is the practice of creating a structure, by carving out of the solid natural rock. It differs from ‘structural architecture’ in many different ways. Firstly, the art form is more of sculptural than architectural in the sense, a solid body of material (rock) is taken, the final product visualized and cutting/carving starts. The rock that is not part of the structure, (as in Kailashanath Temple, Ellora) is removed until the only rock left is the architectural elements of the excavated exterior. Secondly, the mason is not overtly concerned with spans, forces, beams, columns, and all other architectural features – these can be carved, but are seldom playing any structural role. Indian rock cut architecture is found across length and breadth and exampling Indian culture through ages –  


The significance of Rock Cut architecture:

1)Religious: They depict religious values  Buddhist: Chaitra and Viharas Bhaja and Karle caves at western Ghats, Ajanta caves

Hindu: Kailasanath  temple at Ellora,Shore temples. Mahabalipuram

Jainism:Udaygiri and Khandavgiri caves , Ellora caves

Ajivika Sect : Barabara caves

Art and cultural significance: A period of intense building activities at Ajanta  site occurred under the Vakataka King Harisena between 460-478 CE (Caves other than 9, 10, 12 and 13). A profuse variety of decorative sculpture, intricately carved columns, and carved reliefs are found, including exquisitely carved cornices and pilaster. Skilled artisans constructed living rock, imitating timber texture, grain, and structure.

A rock-cut temple is carved from a large rock, and excavated and cut to imitate a wooden or masonry temple, with wall decorations, and works of art. The finest example of this type is the Kailashanāth Temple at Ellora. The Kailashanāth Temple, or Cave 16 as it is known at Ellora Caves, is located at Maharashtra on the Deccan Plateau, is a huge monolithic temple dedicated to Lord Siva. It is famous for the fact that, it was excavated from the top down, rather than by the usual practice of carving into the scarp of a hillside. The Temple was created through a single, huge top-down excavation 100 feet down into volcanic basaltic cliff rock.

Society: The earliest caves employed by humans were natural caves used by local inhabitant for a variety of purposes, such as shrines and shelters. The early caves included overhanging rock decorated with rock-cut art, and the use of natural caves during the Mesolithic period (6,000 BCE). The rock-shelters of Bhimbetka, World Heritage Site, are on the Deccan Plateau, where deep erosion has left huge sandstone outcrops. The many caves found there contain primitive tools and decorative rock paintings that reflect the ancient tradition of human interaction with their environment, an interaction that continues to this day.

Mandapeshwar, it is a small cave because of the rock structure and its entrance shows equality of gender in the form of sculptures of donor couples.

Economic:.Bhaja and Karle were at famous trade routes in western Ghats which used to connect sea port to interiors.

Political: Caves were patronized by kings across country Barbara caves by Ashoka, Ellora caves by Rashtrakutas ,Badami by Chalukyas

Education center: Kanheri caves were biggest education center in Western India. Environment Conservation: Water resources are prevalent at Kanheri which shows water harvesting was practiced at caves


Thus rock cut architecture across India providing information about life and times of ancient Indian people and help us understand their society through their lens. It helps us to trace the life in India and its Evolution through socio political perspective & how it changed  the Indian way of life.

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