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Topic – Indian Art and Culture
1) Discuss the evolution of rock cut architecture in India? Examine why cave no 16 of Ellora Caves is considered as the epitome of rock cut architecture in India?(250 words)
Why this question
Rock cut architecture forms an important part of architectural history of India and is an important topic in art and culture section of GS1.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to explain in brief the various stages of rock cut architecture in India with special emphasis on Kailasa temple of Ellora.
Discuss – In your discussion, the various stages of rock cut architecture, their religious (or otherwise) significance, evolution of their design, purpose for which they were used etc are to be mentioned.
Examine – In this part, you have to discuss why Kailasa temple of Ellora is considered as one of the greatest specimen of rock cut architecture in India.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Mention that rock cut architecture occupies a very important place in the history of Indian Architecture. The rock-cut architecture differs from traditional buildings in many ways. The rock-cut art is more similar to sculpture than architecture as structures were produced by cutting out solid rocks
Body – Discuss the evolution of rock cut architecture from early caves like Bhimbetka, Mauryan era rock cut architecture such as Barabar caves. Emphasize on the fact that during Mauryan rule such caves spoke volumes of the policy of religious tolerance undertaken by emperors who were otherwise Buddhists. Discuss about the cave temples, chaityas and viharas such as those found in Ajanta and Ellora. Discuss the dynasties under which they flourished and how they evolved over time, especially in the case of temple architecture where rock cut architecture formed the first stage of temple construction in both Dravida and Nagara style of temple building.
Examine the reason why Kailasa temple is considered as the epitome of rock cut architecture. Mention that it was constructed during Rashtrakuta period and examine architectural brilliance of the cave no 16. Kailash temple shaped as a chariot is regarded as one of the most magnificent cave temples in India. Construction of this megalith is attributed to the 8th century king Krishna I of the Rashtrakuta dynasty in 756-773 CE. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple showcases fine architectural works including relief panels depicting the two main Hindu Epics namely the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Pallava and Chalukya styles of architecture are noticed in this cave temple which is decorated with carved sculptures including that of gods and goddesses from the Hindu Puranas, mystical beings such as divine musicians and nymphs and figures depicting fertility and good fortune.
Conclusion – Mention that these caves form a rich part of our cultural heritage and provides an insight into the architectural brilliance of the era gone by.