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Postgraduate Research

Ananya Gandotra obtained her Architecture degree with the Gold Medal for the Best Outgoing Student Award from Manipal Institute of Technology, Karnataka, in 1993. She did an M'Des in Industrial Design at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. After her doctorate Ananya worked as Assistant Professor of Architecture at Vastu Kala Academy, New Delhi. She now leads the team of architects and engineers which comprise the Technical Services Group for the Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL). She is instrumental in the implementation of the Technical Services Agreement for all Management Contract projects for the Taj Hotels across India and International. In her next architectural research work she is keen to explore the relationship between India and China through a study of geometry and proportions of ancient structures, bridging space and time.

An Analysis of the North Indian Style Temple Architecture Using Computers

Abstract of the Thesis (completed March 2007)

The study introduces computer to the study of Indian temple architecture for the first time, as an effective tool to test, analyse and interpret complex temple forms. It provides original, detailed computer drawings and models, which can serve as prototypes for further research in this field. The work addresses the need for the scholarship to analyse the development and transformation in Indian temple architecture in terms of its three-dimensional form, rather than in terms either of plan or of elevation. Commonly held notions that the vastupurushmandala is the key to temple design and planning are challenged.

Underlying geometrical principles are shown to have had widespread application in temple design, irrespective of its date, style and regional variation. The geometrical principle of nested squares and circles – termed ‘Square-Circle-Sequence’ – is used to analyse plans and elevations independently, and a relation between the two is subsequently shown. This leads to an explanation of the derivation of the curvature of the north Indian temple’s principal spire and smaller spirelets, and of means by which measurements and proportions in the temple plan could be transferred onto the elevation. The ‘Square-Circle-Sequence’ is seen to have been a tool for designing and executing complex designs in very precise way. The study addresses the geometrical and proportional relationships between the temple deity, sanctum, vestibule, adjoining halls, entrance porch and in larger temple complexes, subsidiary shrines and peripheral walls. Possible uses of ancient diagrams or ‘yantras’ for locating key elements in temple design are also explored.

The north Indian Shekhari temple type is analysed, showing roof plans, and presenting three-dimensional studies of two well-known temples at the central Indian temple site of Khajuraho: the Lakshmana temple (ca. A.D. 954) and Kandhariya Mahadeva temple (ca. A.D. 1030).