Buddhist Architecture

  • The types of structure are associated with the religious architecture of early Buddhism are as follows:
    • Chaityas (Shrines or prayer halls): Chaityas were prayers halls in Buddhist tradition. Chaityas were built near viharas for congregational worship.
    • Viharas (Monasteries): Viharas were primarily the place of residence of Buddhist monks which came into being from the time of Buddha himself.
    • Stupas (Places to venerate relics): It is a mound-like or hemispherical structure containing relics (typically the remains of Buddhist monks or nuns) that is used as a place of meditation.
    • Rock cut architecture: Buddhist rock-cut temples and monasteries were often located near trade routes, and these spaces became stopovers and lodging houses for traders
    • Sculpture: During the 2nd to 1st century BCE, sculptures became more explicit, representing episodes of the Buddha’s life and teachings. 
      • Gandhara Style: Gandharan Buddhist sculpture displays Hellenistic artistic influence in the forms of human figures and ornament. It was patronized by Kushan and Sakas rulers.
      • Mathura Style: The art of Mathura tends to be based on an Indian tradition, exemplified by the anthropomorphic representation of divinities such as the Yaksas, although in a style rather archaic compared to the later representations of the Buddha. It was patronized by Kushana rulers.
      • Amaravati Style: These sculpture are part of narrative art and thus there is less emphasis on the individual features of Buddha. It was patronized by the Satavahanas and later by the Ikshavaku
      • Gupta Style: The era of Gupta can be characterized as classic due to the exceptional level of excellence it attained.
      • Pala Style: During this period art reached technical perfection. This style is marked by slim and graceful figures, elaborate jewellery and conventional decorations.
Free UPSC MasterClass
This is default text for notification bar