Temple Architecture in South India

Four styles developed:

  • Dravidian
  • Vesara
  • Nayaka
  • Vijayanagara

In pallav school, temple architecture developed
Stage I – Mahendra group

  • Rock-cut architecture
  • Word Mandap is used instead of temple

Stage II – Narsimha group

  • Decoration in rock cut caves
  • Mandap now became rathas. The biggest rath was called as Dharmaraj Rath and small called Draupadi Rath
  • Dharmaraj rath was a precursor of Dravidian style

Stage III- Rajsimha group

Development of real structural temple. Ex. Shore temple at Mahabalipuram TN, Kailashnath temple at Kanchipuram.

Stage IV- Nandivarman Group

  • Development of small temple
  • Dravidian style continued

Dravidian Style of Architecture

Oldest Style of Architecture
Dravidian Style of Architecture

Shikhara is a crowning element at the top of the temple. It is shaped like an octagonal cupola. It is equivalent to ‘Amalak’ and Kalash of Nagara style of Architecture

Shikhar of Dravidian Temple

Entrance of the temple’s garbha griha has sculptures of Dwarpals gaurding the temple ( Whereas in Nagara style there are images of Mithun and river goddess Ganga and Yamuna are seen at entrance of Garbha Griha

There is only one Vimana in Dravidian (Unlike Nagara where there are multiple Shikhars ie also in subsiduary shrines).

Crucified ground plan and unraised platform is another feature

Brihadeshwara Temple - Tanjore

Ex. Brihadeshwara Temple at Tanjore, TN. It was built in 1011. Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple

Dravidian started during pallavas but flourished during the rule of Cholas

Functions of Temples

      Administrative centres
      Controlling vast areas of land in terms of revenue collection
      Centre of education

Chola Sculpture – Nataraj
Nataraja Sculpture

  • Upper right hand – holding drum: The drum represents sound, great sound from which all creations spring
  • Upper left hand– Eternal Fire: Represents destruction which is inevitable counterpart of creation – First destruction and then creation not vice verse
  • Lower right hand Raised in gesture of benediction (Abhaya Mudra) which reassures the devotee not to be afraid
  • Lower left hand points towards his upraised foot as the path of salvation
  • He dances on a small dwarf which represents ignorance and the individual ego
  • Mattled Locks indicate river Ganga which flows down to irrigate the earth
  • One ear has a male ring and another ring a female, symbolizing ardhanarishwar ( Fusion of male and female)
  • A snake is twisted around his arm representing Kundalini power. Kundalini power reaches in the human spine and when aroused represents consciousness
  • The Nataraj is surrounded by nimbus if light symbolising vast unending cycles of time

Nayaka Style

Famous example – Meenakshi temple @ Madurai. All the features of Dravidian style are present here along with an additional prominent feature called PRAKARMS .Prakarms are huge corridors alongwith roofed ambulatory passageways. Intricate carvings are seen all across the temple walls.
Meenakhsi temple constructed with initiative of Tirumalai Nayak in mid 17th century, hence called Nayak style

Vesara Style/ Chalukya style/ Karnataka Style

This style has features of both Nagara and Dravidian style. It consists of two principle components – 1. Vamana and 2. Mandapa
both joined by Antarala. It did not have covered ambulatory around sanctum. The pillars, door frames and ceilings are intricately carved.
Ex. Dodda Bassapa Temple at Dambal. Temples at Badami.
Developed in Mid 17th century

VijayaNagar Art

Some variations from Dravidian style in temple architecture:

  • gopuram now enlarged
  • High enclosure walls
  • More decorations
  • Sculpture of motif of supernatural horse frequently
  • The concept of secular buildings was also introduced by the Vijayanagar Empire – Ex Lotus Mahal

Pala School of art

  • Pala ruled in Bihar-Bengal region
  • Developed under Pata and Sen rulers
  • Eighth to twelveth century
  • Influence of Hindu and Buddhist
  • Focut on architecture and culture
  • The Architecture were fine finished
  • Figures were much decorated and well polished
  • Both stone and metal sculptures have been found
  • Even the stone sculptures appear as metal due to high polishing.

Rashtrakuta Art

    • Around eighth century
    • Successors of Chalukyas
    • Elephanta caves
      • Built in second half of 8th century
      • They are cave temples on island of Elephanta near Mumbai dedicated to Lord Shiva
      • Sculpture of trimurati representing 3 faces

Kailash Temple at Ellora

  • Kailasha Temple at Ellora

Hoysala Art

    • Developed in southern region in Karnatka esp Mysore
    • Period 1050Ad-1300AD
    • Multpile shrines are ground arond central pillared hall and laid out in shape of intricately designed store. Thus the ground plan is know as stellate plan

Hoysala Art - Ground plan

  • The temples are made up of soft soap stone – a good material for intricate carving
  • Both interior and exterior of the temple has intricate carving( Particularly in the jewelleries of God in temple walls)
  • Shikhara on each inner chamber, and radically modified by an arrangement of horizontal lines and molding which resolve the tower into an orderly succession of tiers
  • Temples were built upon an upraised platform of about a meter called Jagati. Jagati follows a star shaped design, and the walls of the temple follow zig-zag design

Nagar Style of Temple Architecture


Nagar School of Architecture

Skeleton of Nagara School Temple

    • Successor of third stage, so has all features of it.
        Pillared approach

      • Assembly hall
      • Covered ambulatory passageway
      • Shikhar
      • Garbha-grih – Sanctum Sanctorum
      • Upraised platform
      • Panchayatan Style
      • Square temples
      • Crucified ground
    • Absence of tanks in the temple ( Unlike Dravidian style)
    • Division of each wall into 3 vertical planes called rathas
    • Sculptures made in these three planes. All three as a whole are called Trirathas
    • Later Pancharatha, Saptaratha and even navratha planes originated
    • Prominent in Northern and Central part of India except peninsular India
    • Three sub-schools developed under Nagar Style – 1. Odisha school, 2. Khajuraho school, 3. Solanki School

Odisha School

      • Ex. Konark Temple in 13th century also called black Pagado -> gate of black sandstone.
      • Believe that during sunrise, first rays enter these pagoda
      • Jagannath Temple – Puri, Lingaraja Temple (1100AD)

Unique features of Odisha School:

      • Exterior walls are lavishly decorated through intricate cravings but interior walls are plain
      • No use of pillars- Instead of pillars, iron gridders were used, to support roof.
      • Shikhara is called Deul and is almost vertical till the top when it suddenly curves sharply inwards

Shikhar of a Nagara School Temple

Khajuraho School/ Chandel School

Developed by Chandel Rulers. – 10th -11th Century

      • Both interior and exterior is lavishly decorated with intricate carving
      • Sculptures based on erotic themes on the walls of temple – is. based on Kamasutra
      • Do not have boundary walls
      • Have 3 elements :
        • Garbha Griha
        • Assembly hall
        • Portico – Veranda surrounded by Pillars
      • Shikharas also present in the subsidiary shrines( Gives impression of a mountain range)
      • Platform relatively high

Kandariya Mahadeva

      • Ex. Kandariya Mahadeva temple

Solanki School

Modhera Sun Temple

Modhera Sun Temple

In Gujarat by Solanki Rulers – ex. Modhera Sun Temple. Solanki were branches of Chalukya rulers

      • Massive rectangular stepped tank. On steps there are small temples
      • The walls of the central shrine are devoid of carving and are left plain as the temple faces east, and every year at the time of equinoxes, the sun shines directly into this central shrine

Delwata Temple - Nagar School

    • Ex. Dilwara temple in Mt Abu – Highest Jain pilgrimage

Golden Age of Indian Architecture – Gupta Age

  • Beginning of temple architecture and also reached its climax in the gupta age
  • Greatest development in caves were mural paintings
  • Guptas were Bramhanical by religion but they also showed their exemplary tolerance for both Buddhism and Jainism
  • Early Gupta period shows emphasis on Hindu art and later also Buddhist and Jaina Art, Buddhist Art reached its climax during this stage.
  • Under Hinduism, 3 deities were worshiped->
    • Vishnu -> Vaishnavas (Northern and central part)
    • Shiva – Shaivas (Southern part)
    • Shakti – In southern Malabar region and eastern India

Development in cave architecture took the form of cave paintings

Ajanta caves-

  • Near Auragnabad in Maharashtra
  • 29 caves discovered in 19th century(1829)
  • Period of development 200BC to 650 AD
  • Out of 29, 4 chaityas and 25 Vihars
  • They are carved on a perpendiculat cliff(unlike ellora which is on sloping side). As they are on perpendicular side, there are no countryyards
  • All three forms of art are combined in these caves – Architecture, sculpture and paintings – Mural painting

Techniques involved in preparing painting –

  • First step: A layer of clay mixed with cow dung and rice husks was first spread on the rough surface of the rock
  • Second step: A coating of lime plaster is done
  • Third step: Surface was kept moist until the color was applied. ( Hence they are called Fresco paintings)
  • Outlines are drawn in red color and then all colors are used except blue as it cant be obtained from the hills.

Theme : Inspired by Jataka stories

  • Chinese Buddhist traveler Fa-Hien and Hiuen Tsang refer to Ajanta in account of their travel to India
  • Out of 29 caves, 5 belong to Hinayana period and rest 24 belong to Mahayana period.
  • Cave number 16 is the most elegant architecturally

Famous Fresco paintings of Ajanta:

  • Dying princess
  • Flying apsara
  • Preaching Buddha

Ellora Caves

  • Has 34 caves
  • These caves are associated with all three religion unlike Ajanta
  • 17 caves – Hinduism Dominant , 12 – Buddhism and 5 – Jainism
  • excavated or craved out on sloping side of hill, hence most temples have courtyard
  • Cave no 10 is a chaiyta dedicated to lord Vishwakarma, indicating its dedication to patrons saint of craftsman
  • Cave 14 – Ravan ki Khai
  • Cave no 15, Dashavtaram cave
  • Cave 16 – Kailash Temple is architectural wonder as it is craved out of monolith (Kailash leni)
  • Ellora has even triple storied caves – Ajanta has only double storied

Jain caves

  • Indra Sabha
  • Jagannath Sabha( smaller than Indra Sabha. Same techniques of painting used that is mural and fresco painting

Bagh cave

  • Near Bagh river in MP, there is 9 Buddhist caves dated around 6th century AD similar to Ajanta caves.

Junagadh Caves

  • In Gujarat
  • Main feature – UparKot that is citadel.
  • Uparkots are 30 to 50 feet high. Artificial platform connected by staircase to the hall

Nasik caves

  • 25 Buddhist caves belonging to Hinayan perion dated around 1st century AD called as Pandav Leni . Spiritual presence of Buddha denoted by thorn and footprints.

Mandapeshawar caves

  • Dated to 8th century AD
  • Only Brahmanical cave converted into a christian cave


  • One new school was added that is Sarnath school
  • As name suggest – developed at Sarnath
  • Use of cream color sand stones
  • Nakedness was lacking- more dress and properly covered
  • Halo is more decorative
  • Even metal sculptures were developed during this age – eg. Sultanganj Buddha (7.5 ft in height)


  • less number of stupas constructed
  • Best example – Dhamekh – Stupa near Sarnath

Temple Architecture

  • Temple architecture began and also reached at its climax during Gupta age
  • Development occurred in 5 stages

First Stage:

  • Flat roof temples
  • Square Temples
  • Shallow Pillared approach at the front
  • On low platforms
  • eg – Temple number 17 in Sanchi

Second Stage:

  • Continues – Flat roof, square, pillared approach – not shallow
  • Now on high or upraised platforms
  • Covered ambulatory around the sanctum sanctorum
  • Even instances of 2 storids temples are found
  • Ex. Prabhavati Temple in MP

Third Stage:

  • Continued – square temple, pillared approach, High platform or covered ambulatory
  • Flat roofs not seen
  • Low and square Shikhars(curve-linear tower
  • Introduction of panchayatan style of temple making
  • Ex. Dashavatara temple at Deogarh(UP), Durga temple at Aihole, Karnataka
  • Nagar style is successor of Third stage of temple making

Fourth Stage:

  • Rectangular temples
  • Rest all features continued
  • temple at Solapur

Fifth Stage:

  • Circular Temples with shallow rectangular projects
  • Rest all features continued
  • Ex. Maniyar Math at Rajgir

Post Mauryan Art

  • Caves, stupas, sculptures continued
  • Sculpture making reached its climax during this stage

Now 2 kinds of caves originated – 1. Chaitya 2. Vihar


  • Prayer hall for monks
  • Karla Chaitya in Mahrashtra


  • Residence / rest places of Monk
  • Nashik Vihar, Ajanta caves (29 caves – 4 chaitya and 24 vihars)


  • Now more enlarged stupas were built
  • Gateways or Toranas were now beautifully carved

In this phase – 3 schools developed with regard to sculpture making

  • Gandhara
  • Mathura
  • Amravati
Basis Gandhara Mathura Amaravati
Outside Influence Greek influence. Also called Indo Greek Art No outside influence – indigenous indigenous
Type of Sandstone Grey Sandstone/Bluish grey sandstone Spotted Red Sandstone White marbles
Religious influence Mainly Biddhist All 3- Hinduism, Jain, Buddhist Mainly Buddhist
Promoted by Kushana Dynasty Kushana Dynasty Satvahanas and Icchavakus
Areas Northwest Frontier Mathura, Sonkh, Kankalitila (Mostly Jain) Krishna Godavari lower valley
Features of sculptures
  • Spiritual Buddha(sad buddha) represents calmness
  • Bearded Buddha, Moustache
  • Wearing Less ornaments
  • Having wavy hair
  • Large forehead
  • Buddha is seated in position of Yogi
  • Having large ears
  • Protuberance on his head

Two Schools:

  • Early – Bluish – grey sandstone
  • Later – Use of mud and lime plaster
  • Delighted Buddha ie not spiritual
  • Head and face shaven
  • Muscularity
  • Dress is tight, energetic body
  • Buddha face reflects grace
  • seated in Padmasana
  • Right hand in Abhaya Mudra raised above shoulders.
  • Left hand on thigh
  • Buddha surrounded by two Bodhisattavas – 1. Padmapani – Holding lotus 2. Vajrapani – Holding vajra
  • Halo around the head of Buddha decorated with geometrical motifs
  • Images of Vaishnava (mainly vishnu and his various forms)
  • Shiva represented through ling and Mukhaling
  • Jain:Sculpture of Mahavira
  • Protuberance on head
  • Reflects narrative
  • Theme based on life of Buddha as Jataka stories
  • Stories of previous birth of Buddha both in human as well as animal form

Indian Architecture – From notes of Nitin Singhania (AIR 53)

Ancient India

  • Harappan Architecture
  • Mauryan Architecture
  • Post Mauryan Architecture
  • Gupta Age
  • Development of Architecture in South India

Medieval India

  • Delhi Sultunate (1206-1526)
    • Imperial Style (Developed By Empire – a state initiative)
      • Slave Dynasty 1206-1290
      • Khilji 1290- 1320
      • Tughlaq 1320 –
      • Lodhi
    • Provincial Style (Other than Empire)
      • Jaunpur
      • Malwa
      • Bijapur
  • Mughals (1526-18th century)
    • Babur
    • Humayun
    • Akbar
    • Sahjahan
    • Aurangjeb

Modern India

  • Indo- Gothic Style
  • Neo Roman Style

Sculpture vs Architecture

Architecture refers to designing and construction of building whereas Sculpture is 3-D work of Art.

In Architecture, various types of materials are used ie stones, wood, glass, metal etc. Whereas sculpture is made of single piece of material.
Architecture involves study of engineering and engineering mathematics and depends on measurement whereas sculpture involves creativity and imagination, may not depend on measurement.

 Harappan Civilization


  • Seals are square, rectangular, circular or triangular piece of material – mainly stones. with an average size of 2’X2′ . Dominantly square seals were found on them, we find picto-graphic scripts along with animal impressions which are yet to be deciphered.
  • Seals are made up of steatite(a river soft stone). Evidences of copper, gold and ivory seal has also been found in some instances.
  • 5 signs or symbols on an average are present on seals.
  • Direction of writing is from right to left.
  • eg . Pashupati seal, Unicorn Seal
  • Seals are decorated with animals motifs such as unicorn, bull, rhinoceros, tiger, elephants, bison, goat, buffalo except cow etc.
  • Inscriptions or human figures are present on both sides of seals. Even in some cases, these are present on all three sides.

Significance and Purpose of seals

  • Mainly used as a unit of trade and commerce
  • Also used as an educational tools
  • Used as amuletes(for protective and spiritual purpose). Found with dead bodies and had a hole for wearing.

Terracotta Figures(Sculpture)

  • Fired/ Baked clay
  • These figures are hand made using pinching method
  • Mother goddess, toy carts with wheels, bird and animal figures

Bronze sculptures

  • Bronze casting was practised on wide scale under harappan art.
  • The technique used for casting is known as lost-wax technique
  • Under this technique, at first wax figures are covered with a coating of clay and allowed to dry. Then it is heated and molten wax is allowed to drain out through a tiny hole at the bottom of clay cover. The hallow mould is then filled with bronze or any other metal. Once the metal is cooled, the clay is removed.
  • Excavations where it was prevalent- Kalibangan, Daimabad, Harappa.
  • eg. Bronze dancing girl => It is naked girl wearing only ornaments which include bangles, armlets, necklace, amulets. The left hand is on the hip. It is made using lost wax technique.

Other stone sculpture

  • Bearded Priest
  • Male torso (Red sandstone>

Red and black pottery ( Painted pottery)

  • It consists of mainly, wheel-made. Very few are handmade.
  • The more common is plain pottery
  • Under red and black pottery, red color was used to paint the backgraound and black color to draw design of trees, birds, animals, human figures and other geomatrical patterns.

Use of pottery

  • For household purposes – storage of water, foodgrains etc.
  • For decoration – miniature vessels were used for decoration(Less than half inch)
  • Used as perforated pottery (Large hole at the bottom and small holes all over the wall and was probably used for straining liquor)


    • They are made of large variety of materials ranging from preceious metals, gemstones, bones and even baked clay
    • Necklaces, armlets and finger rings were common and worn by both males and females, While women wore ear-rings and anklets.
    • evidences of dead bodies buried along with ornaments have also been found
    • Harappans were also conscious of fashions as different hair styles, wearing of beard etc has been found
    • Cinnabar was used as cosmetic lipstick, face paint and even eye liner were all known to them
    • Spinning of cotton and wool were most common among harappans.

Extensive Town Planning

    • Houses were built of baked bricks, of fixed sizes
    • Use of stones and wood in building have also been found
    • the concept of 2 storied house was also present
    • Public bath was common feature. eg – Great bath at Mohan jodaro. It has galleries and rooms on all sides.
    • Granaries was another important creation which used to be located in citadels.
    • Drainage System of harappa was note worthy. There was temporary cover of drains, underground.
    • Roads used to cut at right angle

Mauryan Art

Mauryan Art is divided into 2 =>

  • Court Art – with state initiative eg. Pillars, stupas etc.
  • Popular art – With individual Initiatives eg. Caves, Sculptures and pottery


Mauryan Pillars

  • Mauryans Pillars have outside influence (Perisan or Iranian or Achaemenian influence) – Bell shaped capitals have been taken from Persian.
  • Mauryan Pillars were made up of Chunar sandstones
  • Uniformity can be seens in the pillars
  • Edicts are inscribed on pillars
  • Animals were bulls, galloping horses, lions , elephants etc.

Achaemanian Pillars versus Mauryan Pillars

  • Shaft monoliths in mauryan whereas in achaemanian pillars were made up of various pieces of sandstones.
  • Achaemanians pillara not independently erected, found in buildings
  • High polishing can be seen in both

Purpose of Pillars

  • as a symbol of the state
  • To commemorate victory – eg- Lauria Nandangarh – Champaran in Bihar, Sarnath Pillars near Varanasi.


Mauryan Stupa Structure

  • It is conventional representation of funeral cunrulus, in which ashes of the dead are buried
  • It is a Buddhist monument which is hemi-spherical dome with Buddha’s relics and ashes inside
  • However the concept of stupas started in the vedic period
  • In Buddhist tradition, originally 9 stupas were built after the death of Buddha, 8 of them over his relics and ashes and 9th over the vessel in which the relics were originally deposited.
  • Core of stupas were made of unburnt bricks and outer surface with burnt brick covered with a thick layer of a plaster.
  • CHHATRAS represents TRIRATNAS(Buddha-enlightened, Dham – Doctrine, Sangha – Order) of Buddhism – They are umbrella shaped.
  • Sculpture can be seen on Torana and Medhi
  • Maximum number of stupas were constructed by King Ashoka – 84000
  • Examples of Stupas are – Sanchi Stupas built by Ashoka, Barhud Stupa By Shunga Dynasty, Oldest Stupa – Paprahawa in UP

Popular Art

  • Caves
  • Sculpture
  • Pottery


    • The beginning of rock cut architecture. Two features were added by Mauryans-
        Polishing inside the cave
        Development of artistic Gateway
    • Examples = Barabar Cave(4) and Nagrajuni cave(near gaya)(3) – called 7 sisters

Uses of Caves
Caves were used as viharas in Mauryan Age. The viharas were given to Jain Monks – Ajeevikas.


  • Yaksh and Yakshini – Objects of worship in folk religion
  • Yaksh has been found at Parbham in UP and also Pawaya in Gwaliar
  • Yakshini found at Didarganj in Bihar
  • These figures are associated with all 3 religions – Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism.
  • In Buddhism, figures found on stupas
  • In Jainism – all 24 Jain Thirthankaras are associated with a Yakshini.
  • In Hinduism – A Tamil text ‘Shilpodiganam’ also mentions about Yakshini.


Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW)

  • Black color was used
  • Highly lusturous Polish
  • It is a luxury ware showing maturity
  • Highest level of pottery making

Dance – IGNOU notes – Bharatnatyam – Kathak – Kathakali-techniques

Following topics are covered in following pdf

  • Historical evidences of dance in Ancient India
  • Techniques in Indian dance – Natya, Nritta, Nritya
  • Bharatnatyam
  • Kathak
  • Kathakali
  • Archaeological, literary evidences of dance

Music In India

From Ignou notes and spectrum book:

Definition of Music:

Music in India has found clear description in Sanskrit Texts:

Geetam, Vadyam, Nrityam tryam Sangeetam Muchayate i.e. The music is composed of the vocal, the instrument and dance. Since sound is feature of all, it is generally understood music comprises all the three.

Marg and Desi Music:

It is an interesting fact that Indian music, since very beginning develuped along two parallel
streams. One  stream used music abundantly in the religious ceremonies while the other
equally rich tradition is that of recourse to music during popular festivals or on occasions for
public entertainment. The former is known as marg music and the latter is called Desi.

Since relgious ceremonies gradually became the monopoly of
a specialized group, the marg stream in some ways distanced itself from the multitudes of
people and later came to be designated as classical. Unlike this the other stream viz. desi
remaincd in the domain of people and gained great popularity in a variety of forms in all
regions of India.

To further clarify the difference we would like to equate marg music with the rather quiet
soulful flow of the water of a river like Ganga or Godavari. In today’s context the musical
styles such as Dhrupad and Khayal will be known as marg music. Unlike this the desi genre
is like the free flowing, sonorous streams in the hills. The only controlling features in this
kind of music are the regulations of popular taste. One of the significant markings on desi
music is the variety of sounds that it incorporates. Modern singing of Ghazals and Thumaris
may be classified as falling under desi music.

The ragas and raginis, related musical instruments and even the other elements of fine arts such as dance are all generous contributions of the evergreen popular musical forms. We must remember that for classical forms to grow and reach greater heights it is absolutely essential that they keep a livewire contact with the popular forms and tastes and also occasionally mould their contours accordingly. any laxity on this count is always at the risk of becoming static and soulless. Some of the known classical forms of Indian music owe their genesis to specific regional styles that were in vogue is not so a distant part now. Thus, for instance, the Khayal style, during the era of Dhrupad music was rated as a form semi-classical or even non-classical in character. Gradually, and with the inclusion of newer elements, as also under great popular pressure, Khayal got elevated to the status of a full-fledged classical musical form.

 Even desi music cannot remain aloof from an unaffected by the developments in the marg style. This give – and – take is much more intense than what we would have thought about. In many ways the popular musical forms today may be seen to borrow the elements of classical music so as to sustain and enliven the interest of the populace in general.

Hindustani and Classical Styles:

Apart from above distinction based on content, in Indian music, we find another stylistic classification- Hindustanti(North Indian) and Carnatic styles. The main distinguishing feature is the predominance of local colours in each. Both styles orginate from same source.

A quick glance on the development of music over a long period of history reveals that atleast from the seventh century A.D. several regional variations begin to seep in. The mainstream music,if at all there wonld have been any, was now influenced in a large measure by these new local or regional developments. Between seventh and thirteenth century A.D. the Indian music also came in contact with muscial styles of other countries. This was an important period, especially from the point of view of the enrichment of Indian musical tration. One particular influence, and the one that probably resulted in the further growth of North Indian and Carnatic as distinct styles, needs to be mentioned – this was the contact of Irani music and related treatises with Indian musical tradition. 

Differences between Hindustani and Carnetic style:

  • In Hindustani style the main forms of music are Dhrupad, Khayal, Thumri, and Tarana etc.Carnatic style is dominated by Kirtanam, Kruti, Jawali and Tillana.Moreover in Carnatic style the performer gives equal importance to Swara and Shabd while the Hindustani style gives precedence to Swara over Shabd. 
  • Carnatic style follows purity of swaras as the principal determining element in compositions of ragas. Hindustani style on the other hand practices the merger of raagas as the central element in such compositions. 
  • Another noticeable difference is the purity of Srutis in Carnatic style unlike the North Indian music where the Srutis tend to merge into each other at the time of rendering a raag. By the purity of Srutis is meant the rendering of the minutest sound related with a certain swara in its pure form.
  • Hindustani Style began to strictly observe a time theory of ragas and related ragas with specific mood and feelings. Six primary ragas in North Indian style are Hindola, Kaushik, Megh, Bhairav, Dipak and Sriraga. Bhairav is suitable for performance at dawn and associated with feeling of awe and fear. Megh(peace and calm) in morning, Dipak and Sriraga in afternoon(love), Hindola(love) and Kaushik(joy and laughter) in night.  In Carnetic style, though there are indicatiosn in regard to time, this rigour is not strictly adhered to.
  • In Karnatak music there are no purely instrumental compositions but in Hindustani system there is a form called gut derived from the plucked stringed instrumental technique and another called dhum apparently derived from folk tunes.

Essential Elements of Music:

A composition becomes or qualifies to belong to the category of musical composition when
it rests on the following three cornerstones: viz.(These three are fundamental constituents of music.)
a) Swara or sound

It is that sound that has some meaning and poses a distinct identity. Music be it Indian or western, is based on Swaras. It is composed of different configuration of Swaras.The basic Swara in lndian music is called Shadaj. It is also known as the basic swara. Since the literal meaning of the word shadaj is six, it can be easily understood that this basic swara is always related to six other swaras. The spectrum of swaras in Indian music is thus composed of seven bands also known as saptak.  In Indian music swaras are not related with fixed pitch unlike in western music. It is the musician here who defines the pitch of shadaj and accordingly other sixswaras get located on the musical spectrum. Western music, however, has the concept of an “absolute pitch”. This means specific pitch for different swaras. Likewise the musical instruments are created according to fixed pitches.A shruti is a microtone which creates a swra by adhering to a particular pitch. It is necessary for a shruti to have the following two characteristics to become a swara:it should be audible;it should have an echo. There are countless shrutis in the Indian musical system, but it is a maxim to have only 22 of these in any saptak.
b) Taal/Lay or beat/tune

Taal is a process through which rhythm gets depicted in musical composition.  The taal is further measured in terms of the numerical content of the pulses in each composition. Innumerable combinations of these pulse counts provide such a tremendous variety in Indian music. The taals are generally played through persussion instruments such as jhanjh, manjira, mridang, pakhavaj, tabla etc.
c) Raag or melody

Raag is characteristic feature of Indian music. Whereas Western music is known for its harmony, The Indian music is famous for its melody. Interestingly melody is not confined to India. but is the main element of the musical traditions in such countries as Iran, Arabia, Afghanistan, China.

The central manifestation of a raag is delightfulness. It is still possible to have a composition
of sound which may not delight – we shall not call it raag. There are, in addition to the quality
of delightfulness, ten other features that make a raag. The various permutations and
combinations of these features give birth to the whole repertoire of raag music. It will not be out of place here to tell you that the famous Raagmala series of paintings in India are in fact based on this element as they depict the various moods of raag and raagini in their pictorial representation.

Development and Genesis of Indian Music:


We know very little about the form of music that might have been practised during the earliest
phase of Indian civilization, i.e., the Harappa culture. Contrary to this the Vedic culture
abounds in references pertaining to music. All the three forms – the vocal, the instrumental,
and the dance music – were prevalent in a fairly developed shape during the Vedic period.
The recitation of Vedic hymns was essentially a musical exercise. There are references in Rigveda of musical instruments like Veena, Dundhubi, Venu, Karkati, Ping and variety of songs like gayan, gaatu, Gaatha,geeti etc.

In the period following the Vedic
period, we find a continuously ascending graph of the growth of music. Musical traditions
had now come to be firmly established in the society. As a consequence of an unleasing
refinement and hence change in the presentation of music a classical tradition had now come
into being. There is famous gold coin from the Gupta period  that has, on one side, embossed
a figure of Samudra Gupta playing Veena. We are also fortunate in having an extensive
musical treatise from around the same period – the Natyashastra prepared by the sage Bharat.

Another significant feature of the music of this period is that it made a deep impact on the
cultures of the other regions of Asia e.g. eastern and Central Asia. The Indonesian ballet
depicting Ramayana is clearly influenced by Indian musical traditions.



The earliest known treatise on music in the medieval period is Sangeet Ratnakar. The text
has not been lost and is referred to by the practitioners of musiceveri today. It was composed
by Sharangdevsometime between 1210-47at the court of the Yadavruler of Devagiri. Besides
being a treatise on music – vocal as well as instrument – Sangeet Ratnakar also delves into
the details of the contemporary dance forms. It describes as many as 264 ragas classified into
major and minor categories, though the basic of this classification remains obscure. The
chief merit of this text lies in its being the first systematic exposition of the various elements
of music. In the 15th century we come across one interesting musical treatises from Gujarat called Sangeet Sudhakar, and is attributed to Haripal Dev, the ruler of Saurashtra. It is here for the first time that the Indian musical form is divided into the Hindustani and the Karnatak styles. 

In the 15th century, we come across a text called Raag Tarangini ascribed popularly to
Lochan Kavi. It contains illustrations from both Jaidev (of Geet Govind) and Vidyapati, and
may thus be safely placedin the 15th century. Raag Tarangini is important for having initiated
an alternative system of the division of rags – the that – system. AU the various forms of music
described here are practiced today.

We have noted earlier that the court at Vijaynagar had become a centre off music under its
more prominent rulers. The most significant treatise on the South Indian style is the Swarmel
Kalanidhi, written by Ramamatya, the foremost of the exponents of the South Indian style.
It is considered as the most authentic treatise of its kind and is frequently referred to by the
music lovers today.
It is evident from the description given above that music in the 13th-15th centuries had grown
even if its development seemed located in specific places and was not indicative of any
coordinated attempt to bring all the various forms at one place. The development of music
had attained the take-off stage when Mughals intervened and gave it greater heights.

Centres of musical study and practice, as stated above, were located in regional kingdoms.
In the South, a system of parent and derivative modes, i.e., Janaka and Janya ragas. existed
around the middle of the 16th century. The earliest treatise which deals with this system is
titled Swaramela Kalanidhi. it was written by Ramarnatya of Kondavidu (Andhra Pradesh)
in 1550. It describes 20 janak and 64 janya ragas. Later, in 1609, one Somanatha wrote
Ragavibodha in which he incorporated some concepts of the North Indian style. It was
sometimes in the middle of the 17th century that a famous treatise on music, called
Caturdandi-pradasika was composed by Venkatamakhin in Thanjavur (c.1650). The system
propounded in the text has come to form the bedrock of the Carnatic system of music.

The development of music in North India was largely inspired and sustained by the bhakti
movement. The compositions of the 16th and 17th century saint poets were invariably set to
music. In Vrindavan, Swami Haridas promoted music in a big way. He is also considered to
be the teacher of Tansen the famous musician of Akbar’s court. Tansen himself is considered
one of the great exponents of North Indian system of music. He is given credit for introducing
some famous raagas viz., Miyan ki Malhar, Miyan ki Todi and Darbari. Raja Mansingh of
Gwaliar (1486-1517) played a distinguished part in the growth and perfection of Dhrupad, a
variant style of the North Indian music.

In the 18th ccntury, music in North Indian style received great encouragement at the court
of the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah. Sadaranga and Adaranga were two great
composers of khayal gayaki at his court. Several new forms of music such as Tarana, Dadra
and Ghazal also came into existence at this time. Moreover, some folk forms of music were
also incorporated in the courtly music. In this category mention may be made of Thumri,
employing folk scales, and to Tappa developed from the songs of camel drivers of Punjab.
In passing, it should be noted that while in the South the texts of music enforced a stricter
science, in the North the absence of texts permitted greater liberty. There were thus several
experiments in mixing the raagas carried out in the North. A loose code of North Indian style
of music is a feature that has continued to the present day.


It was around the closing years of the 19th century and the early years of 20th century that
a resurgence of Indian music, especially classical music, took place. The credit for this
stupendous task goes to Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar and Pandit Vishnu Narayan
Bhatkhande. The Indian classical music is today flourishing under the patronage of different
traditional families called gharana.

India in the Eighteenth Century – Short Notes

Bahadur Shah 1 (1707-12)

  • Muzam succeeded Aurungzeb after latter’s death in 1707
  • He acquired the title of Bahadur Shah.
  • Though he was quite old (65) and his rule quite short there are many significant achievements he made
  •  He reversed the narrow minded and antagonistic policies of Aurungzeb
  •  Made agreements with Rajput states
  •  Granted sardeshmukhi tMarathas but not Chauth
  • Released Shahuji (son of Sambhaji) from prison (who later fought with Tarabai)
  • Tried to make peace with Guru Gobind Sahib by giving him a high Mansab.
  • After Guru’s death, Sikhs again revolted under the leadership of Banda Bahadur. This led to a prolonged war with the Sikhs.
  • Made peace with Chhatarsal, the Bundela chief and Churaman, the Jat chief.
  •  State finances deteriorated

Jahandar Shah (1712-13)

  • Death of Bahadur Shah plunged the empire into a civil war
  • A noted feature of this time was the prominence of the nobles
  • Jahandar Shah, son of Bahadur Shah, ascended the throne in 1712 with help from Zulfikar Khan
  • Was a weak ruler devoted only to pleasures
  • Zulfikar Khan, his wazir, was virtually the head of the administration
  • ZK abolished jizyah
  • Peace with Rajputs: Jai Singh of Amber was made the Governor of Malwa. Ajit
  • Singh of Marwar was made the Governor of Gujarat.
  • Chauth and Sardeshmukh granted to Marathas. However, Mughals were to collect it and then hand it over to the Marathas.
  •  Continued the policy of suppression towards Banda Bahadur and Sikhs
  • Ijarah: (revenue farming) the government began tcontract with revenue farmers and middlemen to pay the government a fixed amount of money while they were left free to collect whatever they could from the peasants
  • Jahandhar Shah defeated in January 1713 by his nephew Farrukh Siyar at Agra

Farrukh Siyar (1713-19)

  • Owed his victory to Saiyid Brothers: Hussain Ali Khan Barahow and Abdullah Khan
  • Abdullah Khan: Wazir, Hussain Ali: Mir Bakshi
  • FS was an incapable ruler. Saiyid brothers were the real rulers.
  • Saiyid Brothers
    1. Known the Indian History as King Makers
    2. adopted the policy of religious tolerance. Abolished jizyah (again?).
    3. Pilgrim tax was abolished from a number of places
    4. Marathas: Granted Shahuji swarajya and the right to collect chauth and sardeshmukhi of the six provinces of the Deccan
    5. They failed in their effort to contain rebellion because they were faced
    6. with constant political rivalry, quarrels and conspiracies at the court.
    7. Nobles headed by Nizam-ul-Mulk and Muhammad Amin Khan began to conspire against them
    8. In 1719, the Saiyid Brothers killed and overthrew FS.
    9. This was followed by placing, in quick succession, of twyoung princes who died of consumption
    10. Murder of the emperor created a wave of revulsion against the SB.
    11. They were looked down as ‘namak haram’
    12. Now, they placed 18 year old Muhammad Shah as the emperor of India
    13. In 1720, the nobles assassinated Hussain Ali Khan, the younger of the SB.
    14. Abdullah Khan was also defeated at Agra


Muhammad Shah ‘Rangeela’ (1719-1748)

  • Weak-minded, frivolous and over-fond of a life of ease
  • Neglected the affairs of the state
  • Intrigued against his own ministers
  • Naizam ul Mulk Qin Qulik Khan, the wazir, relinquished his office and founded the state of Hyderabad in 1724
    • “His departure was symbolic of the flight of loyalty and virtue from the Empire”
  • Heriditary nawabs arose in Bengal, Hyderabad, Awadh and Punjab
  • Marathas conquered Malwa, Gujarat and Bundelkhand
  • 1738: Invasion of Nadir Shah
  • Nadir Shah’s Invasion (1738)
    • Attracted to India by its fabulous wealth. Continual campaigns had made Persia bankrupt
    • Also, the Mughal empire was weak.
    • Didn’t meet any resistance as the defense of the north-west frontier had been neglected for years
    • The twarmies met at Karnal on 13th Feb 1739. Mughal army was summarily defeated. MS taken prisoner
    • Massacre in Delhi in response to the killing of some of his soldiers
    • Plunder of about 70 crore rupees. Carried away the Peacock throne and Koh-inoor
    • MS ceded thim all the provinces of the Empire west of the river Indus
    • Significance: Nadir Shah’s invasion exposed the hidden weakness of the empire to the Maratha sardars and the foreign trading companies
  • Ahmed Shah Abdali
    • One of the generals of Nadir Shah
    • Repeatedly invaded and plundered India right down to Delhi and Mathura between 1748 and 1761. He invaded India five times.
    • 1761: Third battle of Panipat. Defeat of Marathas.
    • As a result of invasions of Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah, the Mughal empire ceased to be an all-India empire. By 1761 it was reduced merely to the Kingdom of Delhi

Shah Alam II (1759-

  • Ahmed Bahadur (1748-54) succeeded Muhammad Shah
  • Ahmed Bahadur was succeeded by Alamgir II (1754-59)
    • 1756: Abdali plundered Mathura
  • Alamgir II was succeeded by Shah Jahan III
  • Shah Jahan III succeeded by Shah Alam II in 1759
  • Shah Alam spent initial years wandering for he lived under the fear of his wazir
  • In 1764, he joined forces with Mir Qasim of Bengal and Shuja-ud-Daula of Awadh in declaring a war upon the British East India company. This resulted in the Battle of Buxar
  • Pensioned at Allahabad
  • Returned to Delhi in 1772 under the protection of Marathas

Decline of the Mughal Empire

  • After 1759, Mughal empire ceased to be a military power.
  • It continued from 1759 till 1857 only due to the powerful hold that the Mughal dynasty had on the minds of the people of India as a symbol of the political unity of the country
  • In 1803, the British occupied Delhi
  • From 1803 to 1857, the Mughal emperors merely served as a political front of the British.
  • The most important consequence of the fall of the Mughal empire was that it paved way for the British to conquer India as there was no other Indian power strong enough to unite and hold India.

Succession States

  • These states arose as a result of the assertion of autonomy by governors of Mughal provinces with the decay of the central power
  • Bengal, Awadh, Hyderabad

Hyderabad and the Carnatic

  • Founded by Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah in 1724
  • Tolerant policy towards Hindus
    • A Hindu, Puran Chand, was his Dewan.
  • Established an orderly administration in Deccan on the basis of the jagirdari system on the Mughal pattern
  • He died in 1748
  • Nawab of Carnatic freed himself of the control of the Viceroy of the Deccan and made his office hereditary
    • Saadutullah Khan of Carnatic made his nephew Dost Ali his successor


  • 1700: Murshid Quli Khan made the Dewan of Bengal
  • Freed himself of the central control
  • Freed Bengal of major uprisings
  • Three major uprisings during his time: Sitaram Ray, Udai Narayan and Ghulam Muhammad, and then by Shujat Khan, and finally by Najat Khan
  • Carried out fresh revenue settlement. Introduced the system of revenue farming.
  • Revenue farming led tthe increased distress of the farmers
  • Laid the foundations of the new landed aristocracy in Bengal
  • MQK died in 1727. Succeeded by Shuja-ud-din.
  • 1739: Alivardi Khan killed and deposed Shuja-ud-din’s son, Sarfaraz Khan, and made himself the Nawab
  • All three Nawabs encouraged merchants, both Indian and foreign.
  • Safety of roads and rivers. Thanas and Chowkies at regular intervals.
  • Maintained strict control over the foreign trading companies
  • They, however, did not firmly put down the increasing tendency of the English East India Company tuse military force, or to threaten its use, to get its demands accepted.
  • They also neglected to build a strong army


  • 1722: Saadat Khan Burhan-ul-Mulk
  • Suppressed rebellions and disciplined the Zamindars
  • Fresh revenue settlement in 1723
  • Did not discriminate between Hindus and Muslims. The highest post in his government was held by a Hindu, Maharaja Nawab Rai
  • Died in 1739. Succeeded by Safdar Jung.
  • SJ’s reign was an era of peace made an alliance with the Maratha sardars
  • Carried out warfare against Rohelas and Bangash Pathans
  • Organized an equitable system of justice
  • Distinct culture of Lucknow developed during his period


  • Haidar Ali, in 1761, overthrew Nanjaraj and established his own authority over Mysore
  • 1755: Established a modern arsenal at Dindigal with the help of French experts
  • Conquered Bidnur, Sunda, Sera, Canara and Malabar
  • He conquered Malabar because he wanted access tthe Indian Ocean
  • First and Second Anglo-Mysore War
  • 1782: Succeeded by Tipu Sultan
  • TS was an innovator. Introduced a new calendar, a new system of coinage and new scales of weights and measures.
  • Keen interest in French Revolution
    • Planted a ‘tree of liberty’ at Srirangapatnam and became a member of the Jacobin Club
  • Made efforts to build a modern navy
  • Mysore flourished economically under Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan
  • Sent missions to France, Turkey, Iran and Pegu Myanmar to develop foreign trade
  • Some historians say that Tipu was a religious fanatic. But facts don’t support this assertion.


  • Divided into large number of feudal chiefs in the 18th century
  • Four important states
    • Calicut (under Zamorin), Chirakkal, Cochin and Travancore
  • In 1729, Travancore rose to prominence under King Martanda Varma
  • Conquered Quilon and Elayadam, and defeated the Dutch
  • From 1766 Haidar Ali invaded Kerala and annexed northern Kerala up to Cochin
  • Revival of Malyalam literature
    • Trivandram became a famous centre of Sanskrit scholarship

Rajput States

  • Rajputana states continued to be divided as before
  • Raja Sawai Jai Singh of Amber was the most outstanding ruler of the era
    • Founded the city of Jaipur
    • Made Jaipur a great seat of science and art
    • Astronomer. Erected observatories at Jaipur, Ujjain, Varanasi, and Mathura
    • Drew up a set of tables, entitled Zij Muhammadshahi, tenable people tmake astronomical observations
    • Translated Euclid’s “Elements of Geometry” into Sanskrit
    • Social reformers. Reduce lavish marriage expenditures.


  • Jat peasants revolted in 1669 and 1688
  • Jat state of Bharatpur set up by Churaman and Badan Singh
  • Reached its highest glory under Suraj Mal, whruled from 1756 to 1763


  • Sikhsim transformed into a militant religion during Guru Hargobind (1606-45), the sixth guru.
  • Guru Gobind Singh waged constant war against the armies of Aurangzeb and the hill rajas
  • After Guru Gobind Singh’s death (1708), leadership passed to Banda Singh
  • (Banda Bahadur)
    • He struggled with the Mughal army for 8 years
    • Put to death in 1715
    • Banda Bahadur failed because
      • Mughal centre was still strong
      • Upper classes and castes of Punjab joined forces against him
      • He could not integrate all the anti-Mughal forces because of his religious bigotry
  • After the withdrawal of Abdali from Punjab, Sikhs were again resurgent
  • Between 1765 and 1800 they brought the Punjab and Jammu under their control
  • They were organized into 12 misls
  • Ranjit Singh
    • Chief of the Sukerchakia Misl
    • Captured Lahore (1799) and Amritsar (1802)
    • Conquered Kashmir, Peshawar and Multan
    • Possessed the second best army in Asia
    • Tolerant and liberal
    • Fakir Azizuddin and Dewan Dina Nath were his important ministers
    • “known to step down from his throne to wipe the dust off the feet of Muslim mendicants with his long grey beard”
    • Negative point: He did not remove the threat of British. He only left it over this successors. And so, after his death, when his kingdom was torn by intense internal struggle, English conquered it.


  • Maratha Families
    • Peshwa – Pune
    • Gaekwad – Baroda
    • Bhosle – Nagpur
    • Holkar – Indore
    • Scindia – Gwalior
  • The most powerful of the succession states
  • Could not fill the political vacuum because
    • Maratha Sardars lacked unity
    • Lacked the outlook and programme which were necessary for founding an all-India empire
  • Shahuji
    • Son of Sambhaji
    • Imprisoned by Aurungzeb
    • Released in 1707
    • Civil war between Shahu and his aunt Tarabai whruled in the name of her infant son Shivaji II
    • The conflict gave rise to a new era of Maratha leadership, the era of Peshwa leadership
  • Balaji Vishwnath
    • 1713: Peshwa of King Shahu
    • Induced Zulfikar Khan to grant the chauth and sardeshmukhi of the Deccan
    • Helped the Saiyid brothers in overthrowing Farukh Siyar
    • Maratha sardars were becoming individually strong but collectively weak
    • Died in 1720. Succeeded by his son Baji RaI
  • Baji Rao I
    • the greatest extent of guerrilla tactics after Shivaji
    • Vast areas ceded by the Mughals
    • Marathas won control over Malwa, Gujarat and parts of Bundelkhand
    • Rivalry with Nizam ul Mulk
    • Compelled the Nizam tgrant chauth and sardeshmukhi of the Deccan provinces
    • 1733: Campaign against Sidis of Janjira and the Portuguese (Salsette and Bassein)
    • Died in 1740
    • Captured territories but failed tlay the foundations of an empire
    • Succeeded by Balaji Baji Rao(Nana Saheb)
  • Balaji Baji Rao(1740-61)
    • Shahu died in 1749. Peshwas became the de facto rulers
    • Shifted the capital to Poona
    • Captured Orissa
    • Mysore forced to pay tributes
    • In 1752, helped Imad-ul-Mulk tbecome the wazir
    • Brought Punjab under their control and expelled the agent of Ahmad Shah Abdali
      • This led AS Abdali to come to India to settle accounts with
  • Marathas in the Third Battle of Panipat
    • Third Battle of Panipat
      • ASA formed an alliance with Najib-ud-daulah of Rohilkhand and Shuja-ud-daulah of Awadh.




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