Pillars [stambha]– the supportive elements of hindu temples

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Author: 
Ar.Meenal Kumar
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

Aeon the experience of Indian Shilpis in making of pillars has been profound be it stone, timber or brick. Pillars (Stambha) forms an innate part of the Hindu Temple Architecture, thousand years back when these temples were built there were established design principals, testing methods, though no software, calculators and spreadsheets etc were available, still the end results exhibited by these temples are fabulous and are ‘Structural Engineering Marvels’. These pillars played a very prominent and pleasing part in the temple architecture of the time. Tall, slender, free-standing, beam supporting pillars, and pilasters, but these elements are not well defined as in the western classic architecture, and hence it becomes difficult to classify them as they have multifold relations which they have carried from one period to another transforming into new types with minute changes, this can be seen as a result of craftsmanship prevailing at the time at a particular place also the social needs and ruling power were the factors in evolution of the pillars. They were expressions of strength, support, celestial connection and manifestation of arts prevailing at that era. Although they evolved from Sastraic Mathematical proportions, they displayed greater freedom of design which the Indian wrought in his own imaginative way, these pillars still stand today as a source of inspiration, promoting diverse studies for designing of pillar in contemporary temples. This paper analyses the Pillars (Stambha) as vital element of the Hindu temple and provides more explanation of ancient literature study on pillars, also the rules and regulations which govern the construction of these marvelous element of temple architecture. Further the paper discusses the Yali [Vyala] Pillars with respect to elements of space making in temples of Vijaynagar era, and how these Yali Pillars when treated with extraordinary ornamentations enhanced, beautified and lender unique character to the structure and identified the temples given impression of strength, stability and reliability. The volume of distinct spaces, movements and visual impact created by these pillars in temples gives an idea of the distinct identity of architecture to create a sense of group identities between those who built and those who inhabited or used these structures, such elements embody not just the earth or stone from which they were built, but the people and experiences involved in their construction, holding special place in human memory giving distinct identity to structures of architecture.

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