Last Updated: May 2023 (Graphene)


This article deals with ‘Graphene.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Graphene is a form of carbon consisting of planar sheets (2D structure), which are one atom thick, with the atoms arranged in a honeycomb-shaped lattice. 



  • Heat conductivity is 10 times better than Copper
  • 200 times stronger than steel 
  • 1000 times electrical conductivity than Copper wire 
  • Highly flexible and can flex 20% without damage. 
  • Transparency is 97% (hence, it can be used to make flexible & unbreakable screens).
  • It has a high absorption capacity for Electromagnetic Waves
  • It has anti-bacterial properties.
  • It is biocompatible, i.e., it can hook up with biological cells.
Properties of Graphene


  • Making Flexible Screens
  • Thermal management applications.
  • Solar cells of high efficiency
  • To recreate bones as they mimic the environment of the bone.  
  • Desalination: It can be used as a sheet in the process of reverse osmosis. With Graphene, the energy used in reverse osmosis is 45% less than ordinary process & the process is twice as fast (Note that cost of energy is the most expensive component in the whole process).

But the issue with graphene is it is challenging to make. Presently, large scale studies and experiments are going on to devise a method to make it at a large scale cheaply and out of laboratory conditions.



This article deals with ‘Nanotechnology.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


  • Nanometre literally means 10^-9 (one billionth of matter). At this level, the material starts to display unique physical & biological properties.
  • Nanoscale operates at the scale of 1 to 100 nanometres.  
  • Nanotechnology is the manipulation of materials at the Nanoscale (1-100 nm) to exploit properties that differ significantly from those on a larger scale.

What happens at Nano-scale?

  • Very High Surface Area to Volume Ratio.
  • Particles start to follow Quantum Physics (instead of Newtonian Physics).


  • The concept was given by Nobel laureate physicist Richard P Feynman in 1959. He said two things 
    • Encyclopedia of the whole world can be shown on the tip of a needle.
    • There is a lot of space at the bottom.
  • The human body inspired his whole research. He observed that whole information about the human body is stored in DNA, RBCs that transport oxygen is of nano size, etc. Hence, he held that nanoproducts, if made, will be more efficient.
  • Norio Taniguchi presented large information about Nanotechnology in 1974. He made the first nano-objects and told the world about the real uses of nanotechnology.

How it is better than traditional techniques?

  • The problem of Size: Objects made with the Traditional Approach are large and hence wasteful.
  • Impact on the environment: Traditional Approach impacts the environment and body negatively. E.g., Global Warming after Industrialization & adverse effects of medicines on body. 
  • Problem of Efficiency: Energy that can be utilised from traditional objects has an efficiency of just 10%. In Nanotechnology, efficiency can go up to 100%.
  • Expensive: Due to the large size of traditional objects, they are expensive. 

Nanotechnology addresses all the above problems.

Stages of Nano-Technology

Till 2005 
Till 2010 
Till 2015 

Four Stages of

First Stage

  • The first phase is also known as the Inactive Nanotechnology Stage 
  • Nano Products made during this stage don’t play an active role.
  • E.g., Nanogel, Nano polymer, Nano metals etc., were produced in this stage. 
  • This stage was operational till 2005.

Nano metals show properties that are entirely different from traditional metallic objects of the same metal. E.g., Nano-Aluminium (aluminium particles broken to Nanoscale) can be used as fuel, which is not possible with ordinary Aluminium.

Second Stage

  • The second phase is also known as the Active Nanotechnology Stage.
  • Nanoproducts made in this stage play an active role.
  • E.g., Targeted Nano-medicines, transistors etc.
  • This stage was operational till 2010.

Third Stage

  • Nanoproducts made in this stage were 3 Dimensional 
  • E.g., Nanomachines, Nanobots etc.
  • This stage was operational till 2015.

Fourth Stage

  • The fourth stage is also known as Molecular Nanotechnology Stage.
  • Nanoproducts made during this stage are molecules important for human use. 
  • E.g., DNA, RNA, Proteins, Enzymes etc.
    • Artificial Gene was made in this stage. 
    • The enzyme was made, which can transform nitrogen into nitrate. If commercially developed, it will end the use of Urea as this enzyme can convert nitrogen in air and field to nitrate.

We are living in the fourth stage of nanotechnology

Two Approaches of Nanotechnology

Nanoproducts can be made in two ways

1. Top to Down Approach

  • In this technique, large particles are converted to nanoparticles by dividing them again and again till we reach Nano-Levels. 
  • First and Second Stage nanoproducts can be made with this approach. 

2. Bottom Up Approach

  • Particles at the Quantum level are manipulated to convert them to Nanoproducts like Nanorobot, Nanomedicines etc. 
  • Nanoproducts of 3rd and 4th generations are made in this.

Applications of Nanotechnology

1. Graphene

  • Graphene is the nanoproduct of Carbon.
  • Dealt in detail in other article (CLICK HERE).

2. Fullerene

  • Fullerene is considered the third form of Carbon. Most popular Fullerene is C-60 or Buckminster Fullerene.
  • They have a football shape.
  • Main use 
    • Lubricant to reduce friction in machines. 
    • Act as an antioxidant in the human body by neutralising free radicals.
    • They help in neutralising the pollutants that damage the Ozone layer.

3. Medicine

3.1 Quantum Dots

  • he quantum dots are nanoparticles that tightly confine electrons (or holes) in all three spatial dimensions, which can be activated by radiation. 
  • Special features of Quantum dots based therapy are 
    • Targeted tissue damage: They can be used to target specified locations by attaching proteins or other polymers.  
    • Activated by Light: When they reach their location, they can be activated by light activating tightly confined electrons.

Applications of Quantum Dots

  • Target-based therapy: It doesn’t damage nearby healthy tissues & cells.
  • Quantum Dots can even kill superbugs that have become resistant to antibiotics.   
  • It can be used in the treatment of cancer by destroying tumour cells. 
Quantum Dots

But extensive clinical trials are required to begin using quantum dots in routine treatment procedures.

3.2 Other Applications

  • Therapy techniques where nanosponges freely flow in the bloodstream and attract toxins to themselves. 
  • Nanobots can be used the target-based therapy.
  • Dabur has made Nanogel which can destroy cancerous cells.
  • Gene Sequencing: Nanodevices such as gold nanoparticles can be used to sequence DNA.

But most of the technology is still in the testing phase. As a result, we need more understanding before actually deploying nanomedicine on a commercial scale.

4. Military

  • Military Nanobots: Military Nanobots can perform works such as nano-drones, NextGen uniforms etc., for the military.
  • Smart dust may be employed for stealth monitoring of hostile environments. E.g., verification of the enemy’s whereabouts from their movements. 

5. Water Treatment

  • Nanomembranes for water purification, desalination, and detoxification. 
  • Nano-sensors for the detection of contaminants and pathogens.

6. Environment

  • Combating Carbon Emission: The researchers have developed a nanoCO2 harvester that can suck CO2 from the atmosphere and convert it into methanol.
  • Swarms of nanorobots shall sweep oceans disassembling pollutants to protect the marine environment. 
  • Cleaning Water & Combating water pollution: Magnetically charged nanoparticles can adsorb heavy metals and dyes from the water bodies. 

7. Textiles

  • Clothes that clean themselves: Being developed by a group of researchers at Monash University, Australia.  
  • Fluorescent nanoparticles used to provide a range of visible colours in a single dye.

8. Computer

  • Nanotechnology will enable the creation of a new generation of computer components capable of storing trillions of bytes of information in the size of a sugar cube.
  • Help develop compact robots which can perform delicate human functions. 

9. Automobiles

  • Toyota has been using nanocomposites in bumpers that are less heavy & twice the resistant to scratching. 
  • Due to high surface area, they have been used in automotive catalytic converters.

10. Nanorobotics

  • Nanotechnology is the technology of creating robots or nanomachines at a microscopic scale or at least very close to that.  

11. Agriculture

  • Nano pesticides: Nano pesticides are pheromones that lure insects to either trap or destroy them. Even a small amount is very effective.
  • Nanosensors: Nanosensors are used to detect pathogens & take proper remedial measures. 

Side Topic: Nano-Fertiliser

  • India’s first Nano-Fertiliser has been made by Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), Jodhpur.
  • Dr Tarafdar has developed the technology.
  • It is an enzyme that can convert atmospheric nitrogen to nitrate. 
  • If it is commercialised, it can reduce Indian dependence on the import of fertilisers from outside and reduce the cost of production of farmers. It can also help in ending eutrophication and water pollution done by fertilisers. 


Nanotoxicology is the study of the toxicity of nanomaterials.

Toxicological Issues with Nano Materials

  • Because of quantum size effects & large surface area to volume ratio, nanomaterials are highly active even when made of inert elements like gold.
  • It may be hazardous because of its size as it can float in the air & might easily penetrate animal & plant cells.
  • Most human-made nanoparticles don’t appear in nature & living organisms may not have appropriate means to deal with them.

Nanotoxicological studies are intended to determine whether & to what extent these properties may pose a threat to the environment & human beings.

Guidelines for Safe Handling of Nano Materials has been issued by the Government giving standard operating procedure (SOP) for handling nanomaterials 

Issues with Nanotechnology

1. Toxicity

  • Dealt Above

2. Ethical Issues

The ethical question is where to mark the boundary to the use of Nanotechnology because  

  • Nanotechnology may be used in warfare
  • Nanotechnology may invade people’s privacy

3. Governance Issue

  • Nanotechnology is an interdisciplinary field. Hence, regulating such a sector is a problem. 

4. Nano-Divide

  • Nanotechnology will bring a ‘technological tsunami‘ that would exacerbate the division between rich and poor known as Nano-Divide. 

5. Relationship between developed & underdeveloped Countries

  • Properties at the Nanoscale may be used to imitate the properties of rare minerals, thus affecting the export rates of their main producers. 

6. Human Resource Issues

  • A developing country such as India may struggle to find quality human resources, especially in an emerging field that requires cutting-edge research.

Nanotechnology & India

CNR Rao is known as the Father of Nanotech in India.

11th FYB & Nano Mission

  • In the 11th Five Year Plan (FYP), under the leadership of CNR RAO, Nano Mission was started in India, and ₹1000 crore were allocated for this mission. 
  • Nano Mission of India has the following targets
    • Promotion of basic research in Nanotechnology 
    • Developing laboratories for Nanotechnology
    • Training and Developing human resources in Nanotechnology
    • International Collaboration in Nanotechnology 
  • As a result of this Mission, India in 2013-14 became the country from where 3rd largest number of research papers were published. Research papers were published in diverse fields like Nanomedicine, Nanogold, Nano filter papers, Nanosilver sheet etc.

12th FYP

  • 12th FYP considered Nanotechnology to be an expensive technique and reduced the funding in this
  • Rs. 650 crores were earmarked for Nano Technology.  
  • The government has specifically asked for application-oriented R&D in nanotechnology (instead of merely going for research papers).

Nano Mission is still active as part of the IMPRINT II program. 

Other Steps

1. Laboratories

  • 7 Centres for Nano Technology in IITs and other institutes have been opened.

2. International Collaborations

India has signed MoUs with various countries to develop nanotechology. These include

  • US: On projects in Carbon Nanotubes
  • Germany: On Nano-composites used in Automobiles

Role of Family Society and Educational Institutions in Inculcating Values

Last Updated: June 2023 (Role of Family Society and Educational Institutions in Inculcating Values)

Role of Family Society and Educational Institutions in Inculcating Values

This article deals with the topic titled ‘Role of Family Society and Educational Institutions in Inculcating Values .’ This is part of our series on ‘Ethics’. For more articles, you can click here.

Concept of Socialization

To set the context for the article, we will first deal with the concept of socialization.


What is Socialization?

  • Socialization is the process by which a person develops values to live in society as a productive and participative member. 
  • It is a lifelong process (from coming out of the womb to going to the tomb) of shaping an individual’s social tendencies so that he becomes and remains a useful and productive member of his society. 
  • It is a process by which a nascent biological infant becomes a sharing and participating member of his society. 
  • It is a process by which culture is transmitted from one generation to the next.
  • But why are we reading this? The answer is – If a question comes about how you will develop this value/attitude, this is the way out.

Agencies of Socialization

Values are developed by the following agencies 

Agencies of Socialization

Mechanisms of Socialization

Mechanisms of Socialization
  • Observational Learning: The process of learning by watching others is known as Observational Learning. It occurs through social role models like parents, teachers, friends, siblings etc.
  • Conditioning: It is a deliberate effort to socialize individuals by attaching rewards and punishment to encourage and discourage the behaviour.
  • Role Playing: It is the process of imagining and visualizing oneself as someone else and acting like him. While playing such roles, the individual is able to get a feel of others and suitably modifies his response. 
  • Trial and Error: It is based on self-learning and experiences. 

Important Points

  • Socialization is the story of involving these agencies and mechanisms to develop certain individuals’ values. (by extension: if a person is showing those values/attitudes which are making him a liability to society, we can use this process to mould his values/attitudes accordingly) 
  • Implicit in the idea of socialization is individual will have some discretion about which values he wants to imbibe and which he doesn’t want to imbibe. 
  • Also, when an individual imbibes values, it is upon his discretion in which way he will behave to show that value. E.g. individual has imbibed the value of patriotism but now how he will show that value in his behaviour is upon his discretion.  

Role of Family in the Socialization of Children

  • It is the informal agency of socialization. 
  • Family is a network of relationships marked by cooperationcontinuity and emotionality not duplicated in any other system.

How Parents help in the formation of values?

There is close contact between the parents and children. Parents are more accessible to the child than other members of the family. The minds of children develop in a major way through the process of non-formal education at home. Home is often said to be the first school, and parents are the first teachers.

How Parents help in the formation of values? 

As far as Value development is concerned, the family is one of the agencies in forming values. The same mechanisms are at play here, i.e. Observational Learning, Conditioning, Role Modelling and other family-specific things.

  • Observations: The child develops values by observing people who are significant to him. Since a child spends maximum time around their parents, it is natural that they observe them keenly and start to inculcate values shown by their parents.  
  • Conditioning: Those values which are rewarded by the parents become strong, and which are punished become weak. Hence, parents, via this, help in the formation of values in children. 
  • Role of Customs and Traditions: Customs and traditions taught by the family help the children to be disciplined and organized. But at the same time, if the female members of the family do not have freedom or if they are not allowed to work outside, children would develop the same patriarchal mindset.
  • Ensures smooth integration into society: Family inculcates the values which conform to societal norms and thus ensures value consensus to integrate the child into society. 
  • Emotional Experience: If children grow among secure individuals, they start to trust people around them & their thinking becomes positive.
  • Democratic decision-making: The family should allow the child to participate in decision-making and let children put their views and thereafter take decisions. It helps in inculcating democratic values. 
  • Helping children with good reading: Parents must encourage children to read good books and learn from them. Additionally, telling stories about the life of great persons can also help in this regard. 

Further, we will discuss the ‘role of the family in socialization’ under 3 headings.

Role of Family in the Socialization of Children

1. Styles of Parenting

  • It is the behaviour displayed by parents to discipline their children and inculcate values in them.
  • Parents translate their love and affection for their children into different styles of parenting. 

Depending upon the style of parenting, it can be classified into three types.

1.1. Authoritarian

  • They believe in restricting the autonomy of their children. 
  • They impose their value system on their children. Hence children of Authoritarian parents are generally. 
    • Either over-compliant or hostile  
    • Less cooperative 
    • More Self Centric 
    • Less Compassionate 
    • Less Empathetic 
    • Biased or partial 
  • In India, most children receive Authoritarian Parenting. The reason for this is the huge power difference between different family members. There is a clear hierarchy of power enjoyed by parents and children.

1.2. Democratic

  • They deal with their children in a rational & issue-oriented manner.
  • Unlike authoritarian parents who rely on physical punishment to discipline their children, democratic parents use the threat of withdrawal of love as a principle mechanism to discipline their children. 
  • Democratic parenting requires two outstanding qualities, i.e. (1) Patience and (2) Tolerance. People are very low on these qualities even if educated. It is the reason why democratic parenting is rare, even in the case of educated parents.
  • If they make use of physical punishment, they explain to their children why they were given physical punishment. 
  • They also provide positive re-enforcement on the display of desired behaviour. 
  • Democratic parenting will develop the following values
    • Objectiveness 
    • Impartiality
    • Cooperativeness
    • Tolerance
    • Patience
    • Empathy 
    • Compassion

1.3. Permissive

  • Permissive parents provide their children with as much freedom as is consistent with the child’s physical survival.
  • Their parenting will be characterized by neglect, apathy and non-involvement.
  • Parents have indifferent behaviour towards their children, and as a result, children will develop the following values. 
    • Avoidance
    • Non Involvement
    • Indifference 
  • There is a tendency among children that they will identify themselves with negative role models and develop negative values. The reason for this is that parents have the least watch over their children due to complete indifference towards their children.

2. The role played by Mother

  • There is an emotional bond between the child and his caretakers. This bond is significant because it provides security to the child to explore his environment & becomes the basis for a future inter-personal relationship. 
  • By the time they are one year old, all babies get attached to the mother. But the nature and quality of attachment differ. Based on the demandingness and rewardingness of the mother, attachment can either be secure or insecure. 
    • Secure attachment is characterised by
      • A warm relationship between the mother and child 
      • When mothering is consistent, and the mother presents herself as a rational role model to the child, then the mother-child relationship is characterised by trust and mutuality. 
    • Insecure Attachment: When a mother is
      • Impervious to the needs of a child 
      • Places unreasonable demands from the child 
      • The mother-child relationship is characterised by neglect or indulgence, or excessive indulgence. 
  • Secure attachment is important because 
    • It will produce a value of empathy, tolerance, patience, impartiality, cooperation etc., in the children.  
  • The insecure attachment will result in the following things in children.
    • Absence of bold and confident behaviour
    • Lack of trust, self-belief and cooperation
    • Poor achievement orientation & high dependency orientation
    • Avoidance of responsibility assumption

Hence, Insecure attachment provides none of the values demanded from civil servants like trust, transparency etc.

In most cases in India, the relationship is of an insecure type. The reason for this is that due to the patriarchal setup of society and the dependence of the mother on the males for resources, the mother herself is very insecure.

3. Role of Fathers

  • Like the mother, the father also influences the child’s value development through Observational Learning & Conditioning (reward and punishment).
  • Boys, through their identification with their fathers, acquire gender-appropriate values and behaviour. 
  • Likewise, girls, through the identification with their fathers, learn to make heterosexual adjustments. 

UPSC (2017): “If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference- the father, the mother and the teacher.” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. Analyse.

Role of School

  • School is the formal agency of socialization.
  • It steps into the life of a child when a child is 4-5 years old. 
  • It helps children in the development of 
    • Cognitive Skills: Through Curricular Activities
    • Social Skills: Through Extracurricular Activities 
    • Interpersonal Skills: Through Extracurricular Activities
    • Psychomotor Skills: Through Curricular Activities 
  • The school acts as a bridge between family and society and prepares the child for adult life.
  • The school helps the child to interact with those who are neither your friends nor your kin.

Agents that are at play in value development at School

1. Teachers

  • Teachers are great role models, and their action greatly impacts children at their impressionable age. 
  • The main mechanisms used by them include
    • Observational Learning 
    • Operant Conditioning (reward & punishment) 
  • Through their unbiased treatment of the class, they help generate Impartiality.  
  • Through their commitment, diligence and timeliness, they generate values of hard work, keeping commitments and observing punctuality. 
  • They help to inculcate the value of rational and objective thinking and scientific temperament.
  • A teacher can help develop learners’ self-attributional patterns through judicious use of reward and punishment. 

2. Curriculum

  • The curriculum should provide culture-specific inputs that facilitate the child’s adjustment to his socio-cultural milieu. 
  • The curriculum should use anecdotes (storytelling) which can inculcate certain values in children. E.g. Stories of Panchatantra or stories of patriotism of freedom fighters etc. 

3. Extracurricular Activities

These are important to inculcate values of

  1. Teambuilding 
  2. Cooperative behaviour 
  3. Responsibility assumption
  4. Commitment  
  5. Tolerance
  6. Patience 

Side Topic: Schools as agents of socialization is failing because 

  • There is a huge divide between text & context. The content is not in sync with the socio-cultural milieu. What is taught at school is challenged at home and vice versa. Hence, when the curriculum is designed, policymakers should be aware of the socio-cultural milieu of the child. Along with that, parents’ reorientation should occur parallel to children.
  • The scheme of evaluation is rotten, with more focus on fact memorization and reproducibility, and not on practical knowledge.
  • There is a lack of scientific temper in the content, which is driven by ideological colourization.

Role of Social Influence and Peer Pressure 

  • Social Influence can be defined as a change in behaviour caused by real and imagined pressure from others (in society). 
  • Peer Pressure involves interaction between coequals (in the above cases, the interaction wasn’t between equals).
  • The importance of peer group is at its peek during adolescence. It is the phase where an individual goes through emotional, physical and cognitive changes. Hence, adequate intervention by family and school is required to prevent any negative socialization.  Peer group influences our life goals, occupational goals, behaviour etc.
  • The most effective social influence attempts to succeed in changing a person’s attitude and behaviour. But changing someone’s attitude is not necessary for social influence to occur; all that is required is behaviour change. 
  • But the thing is, although social influence doesn’t require a person to change his Values and Attitude, he does change that gradually because if he is working against his values, that process will make him pass through Mental turmoil and conflict each time he does that. Gradually, to avoid this, he alters his values and attitude. 

Categories of Social Influence

1. Conformity/Peer Pressure

  • It involves changing one’s behaviour to match the responses of others and to fit in with those around us. 
  • Why person do this 
    • To make a person socially acceptable 
    • Avoid social rejection
    • Fear of being different from the group 

2. Compliance

  • Act of changing one’s behaviour in response to a direct request from friends, neighbours, relatives etc.

3. Obedience

  • A special type of compliance that involves changing one’s behaviour in response to a directive from an authority figure
  • Obedience is a good & easy way of behaviour change because People usually accept their directives without giving much thought to what they are saying. 

Other things related to when a person works in a group

  • Social Loafing: When a person works in a group, he tends to put less effort than he puts when working individually.
  • When a person is part of a mob or group, he loses his individuality), and he is at the mercy of the group, whether good or bad. These things result in mob violence because he dares not speak against what others are saying. 
  • Group Think: The mode of thinking that occurs when the desire for harmony in decision-making in a group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives. 

Role of Media

  • Media is the mode of communication. When this media appeals to the masses, it becomes a case of mass media. Hence, mass media is the entire family of technological devices that makes communication with the masses possible. 
  • It is known as the ‘fourth pillar of democracy’ as it helps in ensuring the transparency and accountability of the government. Moreover, it acts as the linking pin between the government and the people. 

How Media helps in Socialization

  • It helps in shaping the perception by educating the masses.
  • It is also the source of observational learning to inculcate values. 
  • It provides us with topics for discussion. 
  • Media influence our aspirations. The media has increased the aspirations of people for quality of life. 

Problems with using media as a Source of Socialization

It has increased

  1. Commodification
  2. Consumerization
  3. Increased feeling of relative deprivation
  4. Disinhibition of various anti-social behaviours 
  5. Blurred the distinction between illusion and reality 
  6. Aspiration explosion
  7. Paid News: Mass behaviour is not shaped by something neutral but by somebody who is controlling media with money power 
  8. Sensationalising of news may promote communal hatred.
  9. Desensitization to violence 
  10. Advertisements shown on TV sometimes promotes Stereotyping (E.g., Fair and Lovely Ad) & objectification of woman.

Role of Religious Institutions

  • Religion can be defined as the collection of belief systems and world views intending to give meaning to life through various symbols, narratives and sacred histories.  

Significance of Religion

  • Children’s level and type of religious socialization depend upon parental religious participation. It is observed that children raised in religious homes have more religiosity in their life. 
  • It is an integrative social force. Religious rituals like weddings, funeral ceremonies etc., promote group solidarity and cohesion. 
  • Provides us identity: Identity increases the sense of security in a person due to belonging to a collective.
  • Causality: We need religion to explain the causality of things where it is hard to find a scientific explanation of those things. But in cultures where the domain of Supernatural to explain cause is more, there is a low level of education and scientific temper. 
  • Religion also plays a prophetic function. It provides authentic and time-honoured standards upon which institutional norms can be evaluated. 
  • Religion provides society with a positive framework to manage frustration and miseries.  
  • Entertainment: Religion is one of the most important sources of entertainment for people. 
  • Religion helps man to know his creator, thus satisfying man’s intellectual nature. 

Overall, religion plays an important role in social cohesion, keeping the crime under check and upholding the moral fabric of the society.

Role of Workplace

  • Work is important for a person because it provides a person with an identity. Most researchers have concluded that occupational identity is the most critical identity for an individual. 
  • The workplace provides job satisfaction which has an impact on interpersonal & social relationships. 
  • The workplace provides individuals with work culture, i.e. ethos & values, wrt work. If the work culture is compatible with the individual’s socialization, job satisfaction will be higher. E.g., a Boss or Group leader has to provide Paternalistic touch to his team because Indians are socialized to live in such a society. 

Values a person develops from Workplace are

  • Commitment
  • Diligence (persistent work)
  • Excellence
  • Team Spirit
  • Appreciation of  Diversity

How Workplace can develop certain Value in the Employees?

  • Reward: It is a good method to change attitude and behaviour but with three conditions attached 
    • Saliency: Reward must be visible
    • Valiance: Reward must be something which person wants (don’t give chocolate to diabetic person)
    • Contingency: Person must know what he should do to get the reward

Poor work culture in organizations is because of the absence of saliency, valiance & contingency in the reward system.

Human Values

Human Values

This article deals with the topic titled ‘ Human Values .’ This is part of our series on ‘Ethics’. For more articles, you can click here.


  • Although value systems depend upon society, religion, geography etc., certain values are common to all humans. These values are found in all value systems and cherished by all humans. These are known as Human Values.  
  • Freedom, Creativity, Love & Wisdom form the core of human values, and all other values revolve around them.  
  • These are universal; i.e., even if we go to the earliest recorded human societies, we will find their existence. Hence, human values have played an important role in the evolution of human societies. 
  • In simple words, ‘They remain static and never change with time or region.’
Human Values

1. Freedom

  • Freedom is something fundamental in every living being. Every living being who has come on Earth wants to remain free. They always dislike bondage and restrictions. 
  • Our history is full of the quest for freedom of individual & this has been a guiding principle of human civilization. Entire human civilization is based on this constant endeavour for freedom

There are different perspectives on freedom

1.1 Individual Freedom

  • By individual freedom, we mean 5 types of freedoms. 
    1. Personal Freedom of the Individual: Every person wants to live his life in his way.
    2. Societal Freedom: Freedom to do the type of work one wants to do, marriage partner one wants to have, a lifestyle one wants to have etc 
    3. Political Freedom: Every individual has the freedom to think about the political system one wants to live in. One can have his political ideology, political likes and dislikes, and nobody should be compelled to think on a particular line. 
    4. Economic Freedom: Freedom to do the type of business, choose the type of livelihood and job.
    5. Religious Freedom: Freedom to have religious beliefs of his own, including the freedom not to believe in god. 
  • The liberating concept behind individual freedom is the uniqueness of the individual, i.e. every individual is unique.  

1.2 Intellectual Freedom

  • It is the freedom of mind and knowledge, the freedom to question the old ideas and create new ones, the freedom to think unthinkable, the freedom to explore the unexplored, and the freedom to reach unreachable. 
  • Tagore has also written about Intellectual Freedom, i.e., “Where the mind is without fear, where streams of human reason are not lost in the sand of dead habits, in that light my country awakes.”
  • Intellectual Freedom helps the person to question the status quo, thus the road to development. Hence these intellectuals are always thought to be a threat to the rulers. Because of this reason, when the Pakistani army stormed East Pakistan, they targeted first Dhaka University. 
  • Good rulers like Akbar, Chandragupta etc., patronized the scholars and intellectuals. Any society grows with the ideas and philosophies of these intellectuals. 

1.3 Freedom of Will

  • Freedom of will denotes the freedom to choose between alternatives, achieve self-defined goals & bring changes for the betterment of the world. 

1.4 Freedom from & Freedom to

  • Freedom from includes
    • Freedom from Gender discrimination 
    • Freedom from Economic exploitation
    • Freedom from Mechanization of life  
    • Freedom from Environmental pollution etc 
  • Gains of ‘Freedom from’ are immense. Entire human civilization and progress rest upon ‘Freedom from’. It gives a real sense of comfort to human life in various ways, but it is very important to have a second type of freedom as well, i.e.’ Freedom to’. 
  • ‘Freedom to’ gives positive content. It includes the freedom to think, freedom to decide, freedom to be creative, freedom to actualize own potential, and freedom to live a good life. 

Hence, the process which started with ‘Freedom from’ and is accepted now in all countries must be taken to the level of Freedom if we want to achieve real human progress. 

Side Topic: Freedom vs Discipline

  • We always want freedom. In the name of freedom, we want that we should be free to do anything without any condition. 
  • But freedom comes with certain restrictions. Even our constitution agrees with this concept. 
  • Freedom is not absolute and always comes with the cost of discipline. Hindi word for Freedom is Swadheenta which is the combination of two words, i.e. Swa, meaning Self and Adeenta, meaning control. Hence, Freedom is a thing in which a person is under self-control (not in control of others but not absolutely free).
  • Hence, freedom and discipline can be said to be two sides of the same coin. Freedom and discipline are correlated; one can’t exist without the other.

2. Creativity

  • It is important because, through creativity, civilization can grow, and it is the unique endowment of human beings. 
  • Freedom & creativity are interlinked because no creativity can take place without freedom. 

Creativity is of three categories

2.1 Intellectual Creativity

  • It involves the creativity of mind.
  • It is at play when scientists give new theories and axioms.

2.2 Artistic Creativity

  • Artistic creativity is more of creativity of the heart.
  • It is expressed through poetry, drama & other forms of literature and different art forms like painting, sculpture, music and decorative art. 

2.3 Practical Creativity

  • Man has always been in search of creating something useful for humanity that should bring prosperity and comfort to the life of people. 
  • It is expressed when engineers and scientists invent new creations with practical use (like cars, tractors, computers etc.)

The civil servant needs to be creative because the civil servant is expected not only to solve the problem but to anticipate the problem as well. 

3. Love

Human Love is the binding force that unites one individual with another individual or with a group of people.

Categories of Human Love

3.1 Parental Love

  • Usually comes in the form of the mother’s love and the father’s love for the child.
  • A mother’s love for the child is totally unselfish; hence, it is the noblest kind of human love.  

3.2 Love between man & woman

  • In Indian society, love between man and woman can only be legitimized through the union of marriage. 

3.3 Love of God

  • Bhakti saints such as Mira, Surdas, Chaitanya etc., were so filled with the love for God that they left everything to attain their beloved. 
  • This love is based on total devotion & complete surrender 

3.4 Love among Equals

  • It is the basis of friendship and helps establish perfect harmony in society.

3.5 Spiritual Love

  • A spiritual person sees everybody in himself and himself in everybody. 

4. Wisdom

  • It is related to the mind (as love is related to the heart).
  • The full flowering of both wisdom & love is necessary for becoming great. The good life is that which is inspired by love and guided by wisdom. 
  • Wisdom doesn’t come automatically with the accumulation of knowledge. What is required is that there has to be an element of the experience.  
  • The government doesn’t post newly recruited to IAS as head of the department, although he is more energetic. The reason is that a senior person is more experienced and hence wiser than newly recruit. 
  • Wisdom helps us make the right choice when we are faced with two options that can’t be termed wrong, i.e., wisdom helps us make decisions when facing ethical dilemmas.
  • Wise persons have emotional maturity, aren’t overwhelmed by success and are depressed at failure. This is important in civil services because if a civil servant succeeds, he mustn’t be overjoyed. If he fails, he analyses the causes of failure and tries not to repeat the same mistake. 

Ethics in Private and Public Relationships

Last Updated: June 2023 (Ethics in Private and Public Relationships)

Ethics in Private and Public Relationships

This article deals with a topic titled ‘Ethics in Private and Public Relationships  .’ This is part of our series on ‘Ethics’. For more articles, you can click here.

Ethics in Private and Public Relationships

Ethics in Worklife

  • Every employer wants his employees to work efficiently, honestly and at their full capacity. It is a rightful expectation for an employer because he pays a salary to workers & in return, employees must also reciprocate. 
  • The employee must develop loyalty to the organization. Loyalty to the organization means an employee should always work in the organization’s interests over his self-interests. 
  • The organization should also look into the grievance redressal of the employees. Hence, a good organization must have a good grievance redressal mechanism. The grievance can be against salary, work conditions etc.
  • The employee must have a sense of responsibility. When a person is promoted, it means that the person’s responsibility has increased. But the irony of the situation is when a person is promoted, he only looks at the salary & authority and forgets responsibility. 
  • The arrogance of power should be guarded against. Whenever we rise in an organization, various powers and authorities are vested in us. Typically, people develop arrogance of power in this process. Hence, this is the one area that one should look into. 
  • Senior members should also display honesty and integrity because they are the torchbearers of the organization and act as role models for their juniors. 

Worklife also has some minor virtues, which include

  1. One should be cheerful.
  2. One should be polite. 
  3. One should be courteous. 
  4. One should be punctual. 

Ethics in Public Relationships

  • It refers to the moral principles that a person may follow when interacting with others and conducting business in their professional life.
  • Public life has to be in an ethical framework. When somebody enters public life, whether as MLA or MP, i.e. through the election system or as Civil Servant, i.e. through Selection System, he can’t say that they will conduct their life normally. There has to be some special ethics for such persons. Hence, a special ethical framework is prepared for the people in public life. They are supposed to be strictly guided by that ethical framework.

Principles in Public Relationships

  1. Selflessness: Holders of public office should act solely in the public interest. 
  2. Integrity: Holders of public office shouldn’t obligate themselves in any way, whether financially or otherwise, to outside individuals or organizations
  3. Objectivity: Public officials should take decisions based on merit
  4. Accountability: Holders of public office should be accountable for their actions taken by them.
  5. Openness: Holders of public office should be as open as possible
  6. Honesty: Holders of public office must declare any private interests relating to their public duties 
  7. Loyalty to the Organization 
  8. Spirit of Service
  9. Fairness & Justice  

But in previous years, moral erosion of public servants has been observed. Reasons for moral erosion are 

  • Lack of accountability and responsibility: If anything goes well, there is no shortage of people to claim that they are behind that. But if anything goes wrong, nobody is ready to take responsibility. 
  • Sacrificing ethics, values, integrity and spiritualism: These things are sacrificed in comparison to materialism & worldly success. 
  • Social Acceptance: Society as a whole has started to accept corrupt people.  
  • Failure on the part of family, schools, society and institutions to inculcate values
  • Mega Administration, slow methodology and decision-making delay: Each department and institution has grown vertically and horizontally. It has created confusion in the hierarchy leading to delays in decision-making. 
  • Soft Society, tolerant public opinion and politico-business-bureaucracy nexus: The public doesn’t resent wrongdoings. It gives decision-makers more liberty to commit such crimes in future.

Ethics in Private Relationships

  • It refers to the ethical principles that a person adheres to when dealing with other people and situations in daily life. It primarily involves relations with family & friends. 
  • They are informal in nature since they are built on emotional ties rather than any formal procedures that govern them.

Principles in Private Relationships

Although private ethics differ from person to person, some common principles are shared and accepted by society. For example –  

  1. Honesty: Being truthful and transparent in your personal relationships is important.
  2. Respect: Respecting the boundaries, beliefs, and opinions of others is essential in maintaining healthy relationships. 
  3. Fairness: Treating others with fairness is important. 
  4. Confidentiality: Maintaining confidentiality and privacy in personal relationships and not sharing personal information without their consent.
  5. Empathy: Demonstrating empathy and compassion towards others by listening to and understanding their concerns.
  6. Communication: Effective communication is essential in maintaining healthy relationships.
  7. Loyalty: Loyalty to the partner and family members is essential. 

Relation between Private Ethics & Public Ethics

  • The distinction between private and public ethics is dubious because, in public and private lives, a person lives by the same ethical values in general. Moreover, no sharp line can be drawn between where private life starts, and public life ends for a Civil Servant. The very philosophy of Civil Service says that when a person becomes Civil Servant, he loses his individuality and becomes part of larger order.  
  • Furthermore, one cannot expect someone who lacks moral character in public life to be ethical in their private life and vice versa. How a civil servant treats women in his family is reflected in how he handles female co-workers.
  • There should be no conflict between personal and professional ethics as it may lead to frustration, guilt, confusion & dissonance in the mind of some persons.
  • But at the same time, Ethics in public life places a greater responsibility & a person cannot always follow his personal ethics. For example, personally, one may feel abortion is morally wrong, but as a doctor, he needs to do an abortion according to professional ethics. When performing a role in public, one must separate his personal life and strictly follow a professional code of conduct.
  • A person’s private life can act as a motivating factor but many times can be depressing. The environment from which a person comes to the office daily certainly influences his behaviour for the rest of the day. 
  • His personal affiliations, the ideology of his family and his convictions can stop him from taking rational decisions 

How to ensure that both lives remain separate

  • Take decisions rationally and objectively based on facts and merits only. 
  • Go by the code of conduct when faced with dilemmas.
  • Be impartial always and ensure that your actions aren’t only impartial but look to be impartial too.
  • When with family, spend quality time with them and don’t bring your office between you and them. Make them feel that you are not ignoring them, so they are helpful when you are in important public concerns and do not bother you. 

Temple Architecture

Temple Architecture

This article deals with the topic titled ‘Temple Architecture .’ This is part of our series on ‘Culture’. For more articles, you can click here


  • Earlier Hindu temples were rock cut temples . When construction of stupas started , construction of free standing hindu temples also started
  • Basic structure of Hindu temple – Consist of following four parts
Garbhagriha – Garbhagriha literally ‘womb-house’
– Main icon of the presiding deity of temple was placed in it.
– It was a small cubicle with a single entrance in Early Temple . Later, it grew into a larger chamber  
Mandapa Entrance to the temple which may be a portico or colonnaded hall   
Shikhara /Vimana – From the 5th century CE onwards, freestanding temples started to have a mountain- like spire. They are of two types
1. Curving Shikhar in North India
2. Pyramidal tower, called a Vimana, in South India
Vahana – Mount or vehicle of the temple’s main deity
It is placed axially before the sanctum (like Nandi Bull in Brihadeshwar Temple)

And the entry of temples was East-facing

Different styles of Temples

Nagara Style Tower is SHIKHRA : shaped like beehive & made up of layer upon layer (curvilinear)
Dravida style Tower is VIMANA :  progressively smaller storeys of pavillions
Vesara style Has both Nagara & Dravida components

Images in Temples

  • Every region and period produced its own distinct style of images with its regional variations in iconography. The temple is covered with elaborate sculpture and ornament that form a fundamental part of its conception.
  • The placement of an image in a temple is carefully planned: for instance,
    • river goddesses (Ganga and Yamuna) are usually found at the entrance of a garbhagriha in a Nagara temple,
    • dvarapalas (doorkeepers) are usually found on the gateways or gopurams of Dravida temples, similarly, mithunas (erotic images), navagrahas (the nine auspicious planets) and yakshas are also placed at entrances to guard them.
  • Various forms or aspects of the main divinity are to be found on the outer walls of the sanctum.
  • Subsidiary shrines around the main temple are dedicated to the family or incarnations of the main deity.

1 . Nagara School of Architecture

  • Became popular in North India  & central parts (except Peninsular India).
  • The entire temple built on a stone platform with steps leading up to it.
  • Unlike in South India, it does not usually have elaborate boundary walls or gateways.
  • Tower (sikhara) gradually curves inward and  is capped by a spheroid slab with ribs round the edge (Amalaka) ending with Kalasha  give the elevation. This Shikhar was representation of Hill especially Mt Meru .
  • Earliest temples had just one tower, or shikhara, later temples had several. The garbhagriha is always located directly under the tallest tower.
  • Absence of tank in temple (unlike Dravida Style).
  • Raised but no outer wall (southern temples have wall around them)
  • Plan maybe square or rectangular.
Nagara Architecture
Nagara School

3 sub-schools were gradually developed under Nagara Style

  1. Odisha School/ Kalinga School (some consider this as a separate school while others as sub-school of Nagara)
  2. Khajuraho School
  3. Solanki School

and many other minor sub-schools like that which developed in Hills, Assam, Bengal etc.

1.1 Kalinga  School of Architecture

Main features

  • Two main parts
Deul Main Building with Tower
Jagmohan Hall

Both are lavishly sculpted with architectural motifs & figures

  • Deula means shrine in odiya &  there are three  types
Rekha Deula – Tall building + different parts in it are in line(rekha= line)
Eg : Lingaraj Temple
Pidha Deula Square building with pyramid shaped roof
– Mainly Jagmohan of temple are made like this.
Khakra Deula Rectangular building with truncated pyramid shaped roof like gopuras
– Closely resemble with Dravidian Gopuram  style
– Temple of feminine  deities are made like this .
– Eg Gauri temple in Bhubaneswar & Baitala deula in Bhubneshwar dedicated to Chamunda
  • Mostly plan of temple is square except Khakhra Deula where it is Rectangular
  • They have outer boundary
  • Characterised by Kalash

Main temples

Shatrugangeshwara temple Oldest surviving structural temple in Odisha
– Dedicated to Pashupata sect of  Shivaism
– Noted for Bho feature (=temple feature that consist of Chaitya Arch with Kirtimukha above )
Mukteshwar Temple, Bhubneshwar – Built in 10th century
– Represent full development of Kalinga architecture
– Small with deula less than 35 feet ( will keep on getting higher in gradual phases)
– Structure is profusely carved Nagas & naginis can be seen with their long serpent tails (favourite theme of Odiya sculpture )
Rajarani temple, Bhubneshwar – Built around 1000AD
Unique as this temple led to  development of architecture of other temples especially at Khajuraho 
– Called love temple because of erotic carving of maidens & mithuns
– Jagmohan has pidha roof & deul has many clusters of tower built around it
– Entrance of jagmohan has nagas & naginis and Yaksha & Yakshinis
Lingaraj Temple, Bhubneshwar – Built in 12th century
– It represents zenith and deula is 150feet high + balance & proportion of various parts is perfect
Originally presiding deity of Temple was Linga (aniconic form of shiva) & was built by Somavanshi dynasty but when Vaishnavite Ganga Dynasty came, they remodelled it & present deity is Harihara (Hari=Vishnu& Hara=Shiv)
– Built in Rekha Deula style with all components in line ( ie vimana+ Jagmoham+Natamandira(festival hall)+ Bhogamandapa(offering hall) )
Sun Temple,Konark – Made in 13th Century
– Also called Black  Pagoda
World heritage site
– Built  by Narsimhadeva I of Ganga dynasty.
– Very special design . Deul & Jagmohan was designed to be Chariot of Sun & has 24 wheels& 7 horses in front
Main High Deul behind Pidha Deula is already broken now . Earlier it was present. Hence, it is very much similar to other Temples of Kalinga School
– Three types rocks used ie Chlorite+Laterite + Khondalite(all transported here by rafts on water)
Kalinga Architecture

1.2 Solanki School of Architecture

  • Sub-type of Nagara School of Architecture but has certain regional features too. Prominent among regional features was use of white marble because that was easily available in Rajasthan.
  • In Gujarat & bordering districts of Rajasthan
  • Solankis were Branch of Chalukya  Rulers (10th to 14th Century)


  • Massive rectangular stepped tank . On steps there are small temples
  • Influence of the woodcarving tradition of Gujarat is evident in the lavish carving and sculpture work.
  • However,the walls of the central small shrine are devoid of carving and are left plain as the temple faces the east and, each year, at the time of the equinoxes, the sun shines directly into this central shrine
  • Most of these temples are dedicated to Jain Tirthankaras  . Hence, erotism is missing in this school.
  • Eg : Vemela Temple at Mount Abu (11Century) , Somnath Temple in Kathiawar (12th Century)

Examples of temples

1.2.1 Dilwara Temple at Mt Abu (Raj)

  • Five legendary marble temples of Dilwara
  • Sacred pilgrimage place of the Jains.
  • Marble temples have an opulent entrance-way but simplicity in architecture reflecting Jain values like honesty and frugality. 
  • These Jain temples were patronized by two Generals of Chalukyas ie Vastupal & Tejpal

1.2.2 Sun Temple  at Modhera (Guj)

  • Dedicated to Sun God
Solanki School of Architecture

1.3 Khajuraho School of Architecture

  • Subtype of Nagara School
  • Ancient time=  Kings didn’t  directly patronised any temple building
  • Medieval times= Kings started directly building temples to commemorate victory or fulfil order of  deity 
  • Bhundelkhand/Jejabhukti has long history of temple building with Barhut stupa & temples at Deogarh . In Medieval India , two dynasties ruled here –Chandelas & Kalachuris & both were constantly in touch either as friends or foes
  • In 10th & 12th century, there was peace in this region. Hence, art & culture flourished here

Main features

  • Standard type of Khajuraho temple has a shrine room, an assembly hall, and an entrance portico. These entities were treated as a whole, whereas in the Odishan style they were concieved as separate elements joined by vestibules.
  • Shikhara is curved for its whole length, and miniature sikharas emerge from the central tower. The halls and porticos of the temple are also crowned with smaller towers which rise progressively to lead the eye upto the main tower, and give the impression of a mountain range.
  • Both interior & exterior walls were lavishly decorated . Sculptures were based on erotic themes of Kamasutra
  • Most of them follow Panchyatana Style (note – Dashavatara Temple in Deogarh is nearby)

Why so many temples at same place?

  • Almost all temples are strikingly homogeneous & built over small time
  • Speaks of dynasty’s desire to create grand center of worship & learning at Khajuraho

Erotic element

  • Khajuraho’s temples are also known for their extensive erotic sculptures
    • Erotic expression is given equal importance in human experience as spiritual pursuit, and it is seen as part of a larger cosmic whole. Sex was not seen as taboo but as part and parcel of life  in that age
    • These brahmanical religions were trying to survive in that age & avoid people from adopting Brahmacharya and Shrmana traditions. If whole society would have become monk by giving up peasures of life, it would have brought end to the social structure. Hence, kings were very much concerned to bring people back to fold of life (we can observe that such eroticism was absent in Buddhist & Jaina monastries because they wanted people to give up everything and become monk in search of truth)

It is also worth noting that only 10% of the carvings contain sexual themes and rest depict every day life of common persons

Main temples

1 . Chausath (64) Yogini temple

  • Built by Harshvardhana(not Chandelas) & first temple to be built here in Khajuraho
  • Dedicated to Goddess Durga & she is attended by 64 yoginis 
  • Associated with the rise of Tantric worship
  • Lava stone used & plundered by Muslim invaders

2. Lakshman Temple

  • Dedicated to Vishnu Chaturmurti & Built by Dhanga in 930 to 950
  • Grandest of all.
  • Panchayatan style
  • Apsaras & Nayikas have won universal admiration for their grace & charm

3. Kandariya Mahadev Temple

  • Largest & most ornate temple of Khajuraho
  • 1017 to 1029 AD & dedicated to Shiva
  • Towering Shikara (which is almost 100feet high) & its subsidiary replicas present grand analogy to Mt.Kailasha(shivas abode)
  • Panchayatana style & layout similar to Kalinga 

4. Chaturbhuja Temple

  • Situated 5 kms from Khajuraho
  • Modest platform with mandapa & paridakhshinapatha & has only sanctum
  • In this temple, Lord Vishnu is depicted like earlier statues of Buddha
Khajuraho School of Architecture

1.4 Other Schools in Nagara Style

1.4.1 Ahom Style

  • Ahom Style developed in and around Guwahati.
  • Kamakhya temple, a Shakti Peeth, is dedicated to Goddess Kamakhya and was built in the seventeenth century is good example of this architecture
  • Main characters
    • Main material used is terracotta
    • Shikhara has influence of buddhist Pagoda in them
    • Roofs adapted for heavy rainfall

1.4.2 Hilly Areas

  • Brahmin pundits and Buddhist monks frequently travelled there and as a result, Buddhist and Hindu traditions began to intermingle and spread in the hills.
  • The hills also had their own tradition of wooden buildings with pitched roofs. At several places in the hills, therefore, you will find that while the main garbhagriha and shikhara are made in Nagara style but mandapa is of an older form of wooden architecture. Sometimes, the temple itself takes on a pagoda shape.

2. Vesara Style /Chalukya Style

  • Developed under the patronage of Chalukya dynasty during 7-8th Century CE  around Aihole, Badami & Pattadakal .
  • Vesara /Hybrid/Karnataka Style  of Temple architecture combines the Nagara & Dravida styles .
  • In this , both styles competed with each other for influence to make new type in each temple but at the same time,  none overpowers other . In every temple, level of influence of both schools is in different proportion . Hence, each temple is unique in itself as far as architecture is concerned.
  • Found in Deccan region
  • Attained its ripest expression under the Hoysalas of Dwarasamudra (Halebid) . During Hoysala Period star shaped plans were executed on platforms.
  • Time Period – 8th to 14th Century
  • Stones were perfectly joined without the use of mortar
  • Several cave temples related to Jains , Buddhists & Hinduism were constructed
  • Vesara Style passed through three  phases
    • First Phase at Aihole and Badami by Chalukyas
    • Second phase at Pattadkal
    • Third Phase under Western Chalukyas & Hoysala Dynasty

2.1 1st Period- Famous Temples

Temples at Aihole

Aihole is often called City of Temples

Ladkhan temple, Aihole – Earliest temple built in 5th century
– Not knowing how to built a temple, mason made it in Panchayat hall kind of design with large hall & 12 pillars
– It has inclined roof to allow water runoff & is imitation of wooden frame structure 
– Dedicated to Durga & Shiva linga also present
– Lad khan is the name of Muslim Prince who later converted this into his residence   
Ravana Phadi Cave – In Aihole & built around 550 AD
– Dedicated to Shiva Earliest rock cut temple in Aihole (later 70 more built )
Durga Temple – Dated to 6th Century CE & Influenced by Buddhist Chaitya style
– Not dedicated to Durga but Durga word denote FORT. It was in vicinity of fort and hence called Durga Temple .
– Dedicated to Vishnu
– Standing on high platform with Shikhara which is broken now  .
– It is the most elaborately decorated temple in Aihole.        
Hacimali Gudi Similar to Durga Temple but smaller than that
Meguti Temple Unfinished Jain temple
Temples at Aihole

Temples at Badami

  • Built by carving red sandstone cliffs present there
  • Total of 4 temples present there
    • 3 Brahmanical Temples
    • 1 Jain Temple

2.2 2nd Phase – Pattadakal

Due to frequent raids by Pallavas as a result of ongoing feud, Chalukyan capital was shifted to Pattadakal from Aihole.

  • 10 temples are present here out of which  4 are in predominantly Nagara Style and 6 in predominantly Dravidian Style
Papanatha Temple – Started in Nagara Style but later changed to more balanced Dravidian Style
– Sculptures speak of scenes of Mahabharata & Ramayana
– This temple has many similarities with Navabrahma temples in Alampur built by same dynasty
Virupaksha Temple – Dravidian Style Built by Queen Lokamahadevi in 745 AD to commemorate her husband’s victory (Vikramaditya II) over Pallavas of Kanchi . It resembles the Kailashnatha temple in Kanchi (made what victors saw there)
– Rich in sculptures like those of Lingobhava , Nataraja , Ravanugraha & Ugranarsimha
– Has wonderful Nandi porch in front  
Sangameshwar Temple Dravidian Style

2.3 3rd Phase – Western Chalukyas and Hoysalas

2.3.1 Western Chalukyas

  • Their buildings are wide spread unlike earlier Chalukyas of Badami
  • Mixture of both Nagara & Dravidian architecture (ie Vesara or Central Indian style)
  • Most temples dedicated to Shiva & some to Vishnu & Jain tirathankars
  • Ornate columns present ( called Gadag style as most commonly found in temples of Gadag )
  • Temples were either Ekakuta or Dvikuta
Ekakuta One Mandapa of one shrine
Dvikuta One Mandala(common of two shrines)
  • Earlier Grabagrihas were simple square shaped but this period saw departure & more complex star shaped came to existence(zenith during Hoysala time) like 6 edged ,12 edged & most complex 24 edged were also found

Important Temples

Truketshwara Temple, Gadag – Recognised by ornate columns 
– Ornate columns style is known as GADAG STYLE because such temples are found in Gadag
– Dedicated to Shiva & three lingas on one stone is present here
Kasivisvesvara Temple – One of the most ornate temple
Dvikutta Temple
– Initially built by western Chalukya but later additions by Hoysalas
Mahadeva Temple ,Itagi Fine example of Dravida articulation in Nagara style
Doddabasappa temple , Dambal Difference from previous that previous that it is 24 interrupted star shaped temple (earlier 6 or 12 only)

2.3.2 Hoysala Dynasty

  • Star shaped platforms became prominent
  • The temples have highly ornamental porches , additional open Mandapa , very artificially carved doorways , scenes on panel shown densely carved images of gods, animals & demons.
  • Shikharas aren’t very high
  • Minute carvings are well integrated into architecture
  • Examples – temples at Somnathpur, Belur & Halebid.

Important Temple : Hoysaleshwar temple, Halebid

  • Built by Vishnuvardhana
  • Halebid = Capital of Hoysalas
  • Ornate style & Dvikuta temple
Hoysaleshwar temple, Halebid

3. Dravida School of Architecture

  • It is the oldest school of architecture
  • This style developed under Pallava Patronage and continued to flourish under Imperial Cholas .
  • Plan include a small sanctum sanctorium within a square enclosure serving as Pradakshina . Other features include pillared halls, corridors & majestic gopurams (later additions)
  • The shape of the main temple tower known as vimana in Tamil Nadu is like a stepped pyramid that rises up geometrically rather than the curving shikhara of North India. In the later period , Vimana became so compressed that they almost appear hidden under the preceding one.
  • In the South Indian temple, the word ‘shikhara’ is used only for the crowning element at the top of the temple which is usually shaped like a small stupika or an octagonal cupola— this is equivalent to the amlakha and kalasha of North Indian temples.
  • Shikhar is crowning element at the top of temple . It is shaped like an octagonal cupola (Vimana de uppar jehda gola a , oh Nagara Style de Gole to alag a, observe below ) . It is equivalent to Amalak & Kalash of Nagara style
  • Entrance of temple‘s Garbhagriha has sculpture of Dwarapalas guarding the temple (whereas in Nagara style there are images of Mithunas & river Goddess Ganga & Yamuna)
  • There is only one Vimana in Dravidian School ( whereas in Nagara School there are multiple Shikharas  also on subsidiary shrines )
  • Gopurams (entrance gate) are the principal features in the quadrangular enclosures that surround the more notable temples.
  • Pillared halls  used for various purposes

Plan of Dravida Temple (taking example of Brihadeshwar Temple)

3.1 Pallava Architecture

  • Dravida style developed under the royal patronage of Pallava kings and continued to flourish under Imperial Cholas
  • There are 4 stages of its early development

Stage 1 : Mahendra Group

  • Built under patronage of Mahendravarman I (600-625 AD)
  • Influenced by  Cave style architecture
  • But Pallava caves and shrines are less complex and smaller than those at Ajanta & Ellora & relatively plain 
  • The cave façade is generally plain with Dvarapalas usually marking the ends
  • Example :Mandagapattu temple Villupuram,TN
    • Rock cut temple & built by Mahendravarman
    • Built by cutting single rock & no metal or wood is used
    • First to have icons of Dwarapalas which later became tradition in south indian temples

Stage 2 : Narsimha Group

  • Narsimhavarman I (625 – 670 AD) / Mahamalla
  • Several Rathas or small monolithic temples & more elaborate caves were carved out
  • More elaborate Pallava caves are located in Mamalapuram (aka Mahabalipuram) named after Pallava king Narsimhavarman I aka Mahamalla (the great hero)
  • Some caves like Adi varaha caves are preceded by Tanks
  • Rockcut caves at Mahabalipuram have many mythological scenes carved in relief including Vishnu rescuing the earth , Vishnu taking three strides , Gajalakshmi and Durga , Mahishasuramardini in Durga cave and Krishna lifting Govardhana Mountain (Pancha Pandava Cave)
  • The main figures are slender, delicate and elegant . Their headdress and crowns are quite plain and they wear little or no jewellery

Panchratha Temples

  • At Mahabalipuram , there are 9 rock cut temples of which 5 are clustered together . The name of great Pallava builder king Mamalla was in later time misunderstood as referring to 5 Pandava heroes and these temples came to be associated with 5 Pandavas and Draupadi.
  • They have no religious significance either, as they remained unfinished and unconsecrated; the uncut rock parts at the base and top of the rathas are still visible. 
  • Work on these five rathas was discontinued following the death of Narasimha Varman .The purpose of their construction is not known as the structures were not completed

Stage 3 : Rajsimha Group

  • Narsimhavarman II Rajasimha (700-728 AD)
  • Development of real structural temples (rockcut replaced by structural temples)

Shore Temple , Mahabalipuram

  • Assigned to reign of Rajsimha but additions may have been made in later times too
  • This has three shrine areas containing a stone Shiva Linga , Somaskanda (Shiva with Uma & Skanda , a popular theme in the Pallava period) and Vishnu
  • The relief sculpture of the temple are very eroded due to the effects of the sea breeze and sand

Kailashanatha Temple at Kanchipuram

  • Within a large rectangular enclosure is a complex consisting of a square sanctum enshrining a linga
  • The Shikhara is in the typical southern style .
  • The enclosure walls of the complex are heavily ornamented with sculptures 
  • Has large number of Lion sculptures (lion was the insignia of Pallavas)

Stage 4 : Nandivarman Group

  • Development of small temples
  • Dravidian style continued

3.2 Chola Architecture

  • Dravidian style got fully developed during Chola period
  • Early chola temples were made on banks of Kaveri river which are smaller & brick made while Imperial Cholas had colossus buildings (post 850 AD)
  • Ganas among temples are most memorable figures

Brihadeshwara Temple, Tanjore

  • Magnificent Shiva temple of Thanjavur, called the Rajarajeswara or Brihadiswara temple, was completed around 1009 by Rajaraja Chola, and is the largest and tallest of all Indian temples.
  • Biggest of all Dravida Temples
    • Multistoreyed Vimana 200 ft tall
    • Monolithic Shikhara
    • Two large gopurams at entrance (first temple to have Gopurams)
    • Huge Lingam in two storeyed Sanctum
    • Nandi is carved out of single rock is placed in Nandi Mandapam
  • Was dedicated to Lord Shiva by Rajraja Chola I ,when he triumphed ILAM(Sri Lanka)Island
  • Wonder is that the vimana has withstood six recorded earthquakes – in 1807, 1816, 1866, 1823, 1864 and 1900

3.3 Vijayanagara Architecture

  • Last bastion of Hindu Empire after Sultanate attacked India.
  • Rulers built magnificent cities & beautified them with temples & splendid houses ,grand palaces, public offices, irrigation works. This was testimony of wealth & prosperity of the times
  • Numerous temples built which stand as testimony to general conscious of rulers as custodians of Hindu religion & culture
  • Temples were also the institutions through which significant political control was established & played important role in legitimising & sustaining kingship
  • Temple enclosure became more spacious
    • Temple walls had painted relief panels from Mahabharata & Ramayana
    • Puranic themes were used for decorating the Gopurams
    • Gopurams grew in size and number both
    • Major elements  of the temples included impressive Gopurams , Kalyanamandapas , Garbagrihas & Amman Shrine
Kalyanmandapam – Ornate pillared pavilion with an elevated platform in the centre , used for placing the image of diety & his consort for ritual purposes on ceremonial occasions .
– In this, deity moved from garbagriha to this place and worshiped .
– Marriage also take place here
Garbagriha Sanctum Sanatorium
Amman Shrine Subsidiary temple for the consort of deity of Garbagriha
Gopuram – Vijayanagar rulers  are famous for Gopurams(Colossal Towers) formed at the entrance to temple .
– It added to picturesque grandeur of temple . 
– Most  famous gopuram is of Ekambarantha Temple (188 feet high & 10 storeys with exquisite sculpture on it)  
Monoliths – Huge monoliths of Hanuman & Narsimha are architectural marvel
– Resembles Nandi bull of Cholas    
  • Use of Pillars increases
  • Horse is the most popular animal to be depicted  (because of extensive horse trade happening here)
  • Secular buildings have Indo-Islamic features like the use of dome which was present on every elephant stable.
  • Example – Ruins at Hampi having
    • Hazaraswamy Temple
    • Krishnaswamy Temple
    • Vitthalswamy Temple
    • Parvati Temple at Chidambaram
    • Talkanteshwar Temple at Vellore
    • Vardaraja & Ekambarnath temple at Kanchipuram
  • Krishnadeva Raya built temple city of Nagalpura in the honour of his mother Nagamba

Important Temples

Virupaksha Temple – Oldest & principle temple of Hampi
– Three towers & eastern tower reaches to height of 160feet & is 9 tired
Dates back to 15th century & was renovated in 16th century by Krisna Deva Raya
– Principle Deity is Shiva also called Virupaksheshwara
– Gopuram is massive   
Vittalaswami temple – Fine example of magnificence in floral sculpture
– Patronised by Vijayanagar court
– Resembles Konark temple on small scale
Hazara Rama Temple – Its walls & pillars illustrates main events from Ramayana
Elephant Stable – Most noticeable part is dome over it
– Islamic architecture started to mix due to Sultanate impact  
Vijayanagara Temples

About City Of Vijayanagar

  • Studded with number of grand palaces , public offices & irrigation works
  • Royal palace  according to Paes (travellor)  was even greater than Palace of Lisbon
  • Lotus Mahal –  example of Indo Saracenic Temple
  • Krishna deva raya built huge tank for water supply to city & irrigation
  • Unfortunately most of city was destroyed in acts that followed after Battle of Talikota . Today city of Hampi which is also a UNESCO world heritage site remains merely a vast open museum

Gupta Architecture

Gupta Architecture

This article deals with topic titled ‘Gupta Architecture .’ This is part of our series on ‘Culture’  . For more articles , you can click here


  • In Gupta age ,  Rock cut architecture was at its  zenith &  also marks the starting of free standing temples.
  • Many art historians prefer to call Gupta period Art as Religious Art
    • Utilitarian Art during Harappan Civilization
    • Court Art during Mauryan Period
    • Religious Art during Gupta Period.
  • Art and architecture becomes complex. The earlier designs displaying simple pleasures of life gave way to contemplative & spiritual vision.
  • Large scale temple construction took place.
  • For the first time , a clear & distinctive development between Sculpture, Architecture & Painting can be seen.
  • Major centers of Gupta art were
    • Sarnath
    • Mathura
    • Nalanda

Free Standing Temples

1 . Dashawatara temple

  • Location : Deograh near Jhansi of UP
  • Discovered by Captain Charles Strahan & named by Sir  Alexander Cunningham
  • Made of sandstone.
  • Panchayatana style ie main shrine built on rectangular plinth with four smaller subsidiary shrines at four corners
    • Panch = 5
    • Yatana = Square
  • Temple depicts Vishnu in various forms and named so because of this
  • Due to this, it is assumed that four subsidiary shrines must have housed Vishnu’s avatars but not known to whom four shrines were originally dedicated
  • Temple is west facing (all other modern temples east facing)
Dashawatara Temple

Sculpture at Dashawatara temple

There are three main reliefs of Vishnu on the temple walls: Sheshnag on the south, Nara- Narayan on the east and Gajendramoksha on the west.

Sheshnag   Vishnu – Headgear, ornamentation of Vishnu are important to notice  
Nara Narayana Vishnu – Shows the discussion between the human soul and the eternal divine.  
Gajendramoksha – Is the story of achieving moksha, symbolically communicated by Vishnu’s suppression of an asura who had taken the form of an elephant  

2. Bhitargaon temple

  • Situated in Kanpur, UP
  • One of the Oldest remaining Hindu temple & built by Guptas

Stupa Architecture

  • Although they favoured Brahmanism with Vishnu as their principle deity, but they continued to patronage Buddhism as well.
  • Three famous stupas of their age were
    • Sarnath (UP)
    • Ratnagiri (Odisha)
    • Mirpur Khas (Sind)
  • Older idea of hemi spherical shape changed to new shapes
  • Large use of brick and less use of stone (bricks are not in Harappan posture and smaller than Harappan Period)

1 . Dhamekh Stupa

  • Location Sarnarth at Deer Park where Budha gave first sermon
  • Inscription dated 1026 says its older name is Dhammachakra Stupa
  • Beneath this another stupa having Mauryan bricks is found
  • Dhamek Stupa was built in 500 CE to  replace an earlier structure commissioned by the great Mauryan king Ashoka in 249 BCE

2. Ratnagiri Stupa

  • In Odisha
  • Is in ruins
  • Large number of votive stupas in stone are also found here from where shape of main stupa can be easily judged
  • Shape of Gateway was also different than those of Sanchi
  • Several Giant head structures of Buddha are also found here

Mauryan Architecture

Mauryan  Architecture

This article deals with topic titled ‘Mauryan Architecture .’ This is part of our series on ‘Culture’  . For more articles , you can click here


  • Major architectural input of Mauryan Art was  wood. Hence,remains are very scant
  • Reminiscent of Persian Achaemenid Architecture.
  • Ananda Coomaraswamy has divided Mauryan Art in following way

Mauryan Palace

  • Remains are scanty because timber was the main material
  • Pillar fragment was discovered in Kumrahar (place in Patna) in 1903 .  72 pillars found in 1903 were arranged in neat chessboard pattern & 8 pillars were discovered later . Pillars were made of buff colored Chunar sandstone & smooth polished surface
  • Although they were made of same stone as free standing Ashokan pillars but they were thinner & shorter. All have hole on the top clearly for metal dowels that connected shaft to capital which in turn supported roof.
  • Some marks were found on their bases including crescent on hill (insignia of Mauryas) .
  • Discovery of large quantity of ash & pieces of burnt wood indicated that floor & roof were made of wood & structure was subjected to fire
  • There were no traces of walls & hall seems to be open on all sides
  • Spooner was struck by similarity between pillared hall at Kumrahar  & Darius’s hall of Public audience at Persepolis in Iran but Maurya structure is less elaborate than persian palace . Along with that, precise function of 80 pillared Mauryan hall is unknown
Darius Hall at Persepolis
Darius Hall at Persepolis


  • Stupas were known before the time of Ashoka too but Ashoka divided the existing body relics of Buddha & erected Stupas to enshrine them . Hence, Stupa became object of cult worship
  • In Buddhist Tradition, originally 9 stupas were erected – 8 over relics of Buddha & 9th on vessel in which relics were originally kept at Rajagriha, Vaishali, Kapilvastu, Allakapa, Ramagrama, Vethadipa, Pava, Kushinagar and Pippalvina.
  • Material used in initial Stupas
Core of Stupa Made up of Unburnt Bricks
Outer Face Made of Burnt Bricks & covered with thick layer of plaster
  • In subsequent century, stupas were elaborately built with certain additions like the enclosing of the circumambulatory path with railings, gateways & sculptural decoration. Thus, with the elaborations in stupa architecture, there was ample space for the architects and sculptors to plan elaborations and to carve out images
  • Three chhatra on the stupas represent triratnas of Buddhism i.e. Buddha (The enlightened), Dhamma (doctrine) and Sangh (order)
Plan of Stupa-l, Sanchi

1 . Barhut Stupa

  • Barhut is situated in eastern part of MP
  • Stupa at Barhut was made by Ashoka around 300BC but improvised & beautified by Shungas
  • Unlike Mauryan imperial art, inscription on railings were made by lay people&monks
  • Earliest stupa railings (vedika) to have survived
  • Sculpture mainly include Yaksha & Yakshinis
  • Has nine feet railing (vedika) & gateway(torana) made in imitation with wooden architecture
  • On railings are depicted stories of virtuous qualities of Budha & Jataka stories
  • Sculpture done here is low in relief and narratives are few in words
  • In one sculpture, story of Queen Mahamaya (mother of Buddha) is depicted where she is reclining on bed and elephant is shown on top heading towards womb

2. Sanchi Stupa

  • Sanchi is in  MP
  • Monuments present in the complex : Two stupas+ some temples  + Pillar edicts + monasteries
  • Stupa is the Oldest stone structure
  • It has long history
    • It was commissioned by Ashoka
    • Later , Pushymitra Shunga of Shunga Dynasty vandalised it
    • Again it was rebuild by Agnimitra Shunga who also added Railings (Vedika) to it
    • Later, it was repaired by Satavahanas who also added Toranas (Gateway) to it.
  • Nucleus is hemispherical brick structure built over relics of Buddha
  • Has upper & lower Paradakshinapatha or Pathways
  • It also has Four beautifully decorated Toranas depicting various life events of Buddha & Jataka stories
  • In contrast to Barhut, relief in it’s railings is high &  more naturalistic . Carving technique is also more advanced than Barhut

3. Dharmarajika Stupa (Taxila)

  • Several Stupa-Monastery sites are there in Taxila out of which Dharmarajika  (locally called Chir Tope) is most important
  • Belong to Maurya period

Rock Cut Architecture

Rock Cut Architecture

This article deals with topic titled ‘Rock Cut Architecture .’ This is part of our series on ‘Culture’  . For more articles , you can click here


  • There are around 1500 Rock Cut Architectures in India and most of them religious
  • Built mainly by Indian sculptures,monks and general public
  • Two types of caves (mostly both were present at one site)
Chaitya Prayer Hall for Monks
Vihara Residence /Rest place for Monks

1 . Barabar Caves

  • Oldest example of rock cut caves
  • Located in Barabar Hills,Bihar
  • Caves date back to reign of Ashoka and his son Dasratha
  • Initially built for Ajivika sect. Later for all Buddhists, Jain & Brahmanical traditions

Main caves at Barabar

Lomas Rishi Cave – Known for horse shoe type façade
– It imitate contemporary timber architecture of that time
– Polished from inside is it’s marked feature  
Sudama Cave – Known for bow shaped arch
– This and Lomas Rishi cave are the oldest rock cut caves  
Karan Chaupar – Single rectangular room with polished surfaces
– Contains inscription dating back to  Mauryan era  
Visva Zopri There are two rectangular caves there
Caves at Barabar Hills
Caves at Barabar Hills

2. Kanheri Caves

  • Location- Kanheri, north of Borivali Mumbai within Sanjay Gandhi National Park
  • Early caves excavated in 1st & 2nd century BC
  • Caves continuously occupied by Buddhist monks & inland traders as stop  till 7th century AD
  • Have both Chaityas & Viharas
  • It’s Chaitya is the 2nd largest Chaitya after Karle Caves

Significance of these caves

  • Site provides view of development of Buddhist art for a thousand years from 1st century BC as its proximity to sea & thriving ports ensured continual patronage by mercantile class
  • Kanheri temple presents last expression of early rock cut tradition of western India
  • These are home to colossal Buddha statue and mark the beginning of long tradition of colossal Buddha which became popular in Tibetan & central asia
Kanheri Caves
Kanheri Caves

3. Karle Caves

  • Location – near Lonavala,Maharashtra(between Mumbai & Pune)
  • Shrines developed over two periods
First Phase 2century BC to 2century AD
Second Phase 5century to 10th century AD
  • Caves provided lodging houses to travelling traders thus ensured continued patronage
  • Associated with Mahasamghika sect of Buddhism
  • Largest rock cut Chaitya in India
  • Sculptures include Mithuna and animals such as lions & elephants
  • Roof is given shape like that of wood (hence, giving wooden look to stone cut cave was still prevalent)
Karle Caves
Karle Caves

4. Bhaja Caves

  • Belongs to Hinayana faith
  • It has Wooden ceiling over Chaitya-griha.
  • Stupa has a hole on top, for inserting wooden umbrella.
Bhaja Caves
Bhaja Caves

5. Bedsa Caves

  • Location -Pune
  • Known for chaitya and viharas of 1st century BC
  • Chaitya is partly hidden from profane world. Belief was that one should learn truly only when one made a special effort for that purpose

6. Ajanta Caves

  • Situation : 100 km from Aurangabad in horse shape gorge of Waghora river
  • These caves are carved on a perpendicular cliff. As they are on perpendicular side, there are no courtyards
Perpendicular Cliff 
Situated on Cliff 
Hence, No Courtyard
  • All the three forms of Art are combined in these caves : Architecture, Sculpture, Paintings
  • Were discovered in 19th century (1829)
  • Total 29 caves(according to NCERT) : Made in two phases
    • These all caves are Buddhist in theme
    • 4 Chaityas & 25 Viharas
Satavahana Phase – Built in 2nd century BC
– Patronage of Satavahana Kings
Hinayana phase ie Buddha represented figuratively
– Less figurative sculpture & emphasising on stupa instead  
Vakataka Phase – Period:5th & 6th century AD
– Patronage:Vakataka Kings
Mahayana phase ie Buddha depicted as human
– Human representations of Buddha found in both facades and interior
– Murals present in this period which is great artistic achievement  
  • Chinese Buddhist traveller Fa-Hien & Huen Tsang refer to Ajanta in their accounts
  • 5 Caves belong to Hinayana & 24 to Mahayana
  • Chaitya caves –  earlier phase : Cave Nos. 10 and 9 and  later phase : Cave Nos. 19 & 26. Cave no 19 & 26 are profusely decorated.

Notable paintings and sculptures at  Ajanta

  • Figures in these caves are painted with considerable naturalism and there is no over -stylisation
  • It may also be observed that various skin colours are used in the paintings such as brown, yellowish brown, greenish, yellow ochre, etc. which represent a multicoloured population.
  • Paintings of Cave Nos. 16 and 17 have precise and elegant painterly quality. They do not bear the ponderous volume of the sculptures in the caves.

Cave 1

  • Consists of a hall sided by 14 cell
  • Famous Paintings of Vajrapani and Padmapani situated here (many times asked in UPSC)

Cave 16

  • According to an inscription found here, the excavation of this cave was caused by Varahadeva, the minister of Vakataka king Harishena 
  • Largest and most finest and interesting monastery (vihara ) of all Ajanta caves
  • Consist of Colossal hall ,ornate doors ,beautifully painted galleries ,ornamental pillars. Central hall is surrounded by 14 cells on three sides and sanctum housing buddha image as shown in Pralambapadasana
  • The important painted themes depicted are the conversion of Nanda; Miracle of Sravasti; Maya’s dream; and certain incidents from the life of Buddha. The Jataka stories depicted are Hasti, Maha-ummagga, Maha-sutasoma. 
Paintings in Cave 16

Cave 17

Cave 19

  • It is chaitya & most perfect specimen of buddhist art in India
  • Built during 5th century AD
  • Total 17 pillars in chaitya with single door entry & at centre stands globular buddha
  • Other sculpture Buddha offer begging bowl to his son Rahula

7. Ellora Caves

  • Location :Aurangabad district  in Maharashtra( 100 km from Ajanta )
  • Built by: Rashtrakutas (5th to 12thcentury)
  • Epitome of Indian rock cut architecture and one of World Heritage sites
  • Unlike the Ajanta caves,Ellora cave temples were carved out on the sloping side of the hill. Hence most of the temples have courtyards.
Sloping Side 
Perpendicular Cliff 
Situated on Sloping Side 
Hence, have Courtyards

  • Ellora has even 3 storey  buildings but Ajanta double storeyed only 
  • Was on trade route from Paithan to Ujjain in central India
  • Total : 34 caves  (dominant Hindu caves)
Buddhist 12 (mainly Vajrayana)  1-12
Hindu 17 13-29
Jaina 5 30-34

Demonstrate generous attitude of rulers towards worshipers of all divinities

Important Caves and Temples within Ellora

Carpenters Cave /Vishvakarma Cave at Ellora : Cave no 10

  • Only Chaitya in Ellora rest all are viharas
  • Locally known as Vishwakarma ie “celestial architect” or Sutar ka jhopda ie “carpenter’s hut”
  • Sculptors have tried to give wooden look to stones
  • It is cave no 10 and most famous Buddhist cave at Ellora
  • Chaitya hall has stupa on the face of which is a colossal Budha – 3.30 m high & seated in Vyakhyana mudra
Budba wyakhya0ö 
Stupa with 
Budha on it

Kailasnath Temple : Cave no 16

  • Vast multi-storey structure carved inside and outside 
  • Carved out of single rock
  • Built by Rashtrakuta king -Krishna I in 8th century AD
  • Remarkable example of Dravidian Architecture
  • Vertical excavation- carvers started at the top of original rock and excavated downward.
Vertical Excavation 
(starting with single rock)
  • It has images of deities ,mithunas and other figures.
  • Grand sculpture of Ravanna attempting to lift Mt.Kailasa ,abode of Lord Shiva with full might is landmark in Indian art
Shiva & 
Ravana attempting to 
lift Mt Kailasa

Dashavatara Cave : Cave no 15

  • Began as Buddhist cave
  • Closely related to Cave 12
  • Shows Vishnu in his 10 Avatars

Indra Sabha (Jaina) : Cave no 32

  • There are Five Jain caves at Ellora
  • Belonging to Digambara sect

Notable ones are:

  • Chhota Kailash
  • Indra sabha
  • Jaganatha sabha

Out of them , Indra sabha is two storeyed cave with one more monolithic shrine in its court

Two Storeyed

8. Udaigiri Caves

  • In Vidisha  (there are two Udaigiri Caves, other are Jain Caves in Odisha)
  • Developed during reign of Guptas
  • Here all the caves (except for one Jaina cave) depict Hindu deities although most of the sculptures are carved outside the caves. These include Four armed standing Vishnu (Cave 6) , Kumara (Cave 3), an eka-mukha linga (Cave 4), pratiharas /Doorkeepers (Cave 6) & Durga Mahishasuramardini( Cave 4,6) .
  • A particularly powerful relief shows Vishnu in his boar incarnation rescuing the earth from waters

9. Elephanta Caves

  • Built under the patronage of Vakataka
  • Situated at Elephanta Island in Mumbai Harbour (named so by Portuguese due to presence of Elephants)
  • It has two group of caves
    • First Group : 5 Hindu Caves
    • Second Group : 2 Hindu Caves
  • Hindu caves are dedicated to Shiva . Central Attraction here is 20 foot statue of 3 headed Shiva . Three heads represent
    • Aghori : Aggressive form
    • Ardhanarishwara  : Half man and half woman
    • Mahayogi : Meditative Aspect

Caves in Eastern Ghats – Udayagiri & Khandagiri

  • Udayagiri & Khandagiri hills  in Puri District of Orissa 6 km from Bhubaneswar & not far from site of Shishupal Garh
  • One of the oldest Jaina rock cut caves are present here
  • Sandstone present in these caves are easy to excavate but not very suitable for intricate carving . Stone of these caves are brittle & suffered lot of weathering
  • Hathigumpa inscription , carved over an overhanging rock in front of Cave 14 connects it with Mahameghavahana or Chedi Dynasty of Kalinga dated 1st century BC . This dynasty  extended patronage to Jainism & hills continued to be occupied by Jaina Ascetics with a few breaks right upto present date
Udaigiri-Khandagiri caves near Bhubaneswar 
Details of the veranda, Udaigiri-Khandagiri

Differences with Buddhist Caves in Western Ghats

  • No congregation hall or rock cut shrines present here (in later period although some of the cells were enlarged to make shrines)
  • Tiny cells graphically represent hard ascetic regimen of monks who lived here . With few exceptions , they were not high enough to permit man to stand up
  • Interior of cell was stark & plain but outer brackets sometimes had carved ornamentation
  • Generally single storeyed  . Only one is double storeyed ie Ranigumpha (Queens cave) . Ranigumpa is largest & best preserved

Indus Valley Architecture

Indus Valley Architecture

This article deals with topic titled ‘Indus Valley Architecture .’ This is part of our series on ‘Culture’  . For more articles , you can click here


  • Sophisticated  town planning with flourishing urban structure
  • Well planned grids with broad main roads & smaller lanes intersecting at right angles
  • Sophisticated drainage system
  • Houses were made of bricks
Various Centers of Indus Valley Civilization
Various Centers of Indus Valley Civilization

Characteristics of Town planning

1 . Grid pattern

  • Cities were laid out in grid pattern
  • Streets oriented from East to west with broad main roads & smaller lanes intersecting at right angles

2. City walls / Fortified Cities

  • Harappan Cities were fortified . Fortification serves two purposes.
    • It exclude outsiders and the underprivileged.
    • They indicate that communities inside  had something to protect.

Thus it give clue to socio-political hierarchy. It helps the powerful to control activities inside the fortification. It also helps them keep an eye on the outsiders. If traders bring goods from places faraway they can collect their share for allowing them access to potential buyers inside the fortification

3. Acropolis & lower cities

Typical city would be divided into two sections ,each fortified separately

Acropolis / Citadal – Located on artificially raised mound
– Important buildings like Assembly Halls , Religious Structures , Granaries , Great bath of Mohenjodaro situated here
Lower section – On level ground
– Housing for inhabitants 

4. Residential buildings

  • People lived in houses of different sizes ie stratification was present in society
    • Opening of houses never in main streets
    • Staircases was present – may have led to roof
    • Floors made of high packed earth often replastered or covered with sand 
    • Roofs often made with timber  beams
    • Clay models of houses show that doors were sometimes carved or painted with simple designs
    • Small houses attached to large ones may have been quarters of service groups working for wealthy city dwellers
    • Toilets & Bathrooms – many houses or group of houses had separate bathing & toilet areas . Floor of these was made of tightly fitted bricks . Although some people may have relieved themselves outside city but toilet was present in almost all houses especially in Harappa
    • Houses were without much decoration. In general it was plain & un-decorative. This shows utilitarian outlook of Harappan people .

5. In -house wells

  • House  had its own wells, drains & bathrooms
  • In house well is a common & recognisable feature of Indus Valley civilisation

6. Drainage system

  • Impressive drainage system : It was the most complete ancient system as yet discovered.
    • Every house was connected to the street drains.
    • Main channels were made of bricks set in mortar and were covered with loose bricks that could be removed for cleaning.
    • House drains first emptied into a sump or cesspit into which solid matter settled while waste water flowed out into the street drains
    • Sewage chutes & pipes were separate from drains for collecting rain water
    • Drainage systems were not unique to the larger cities, but were found in smaller settlements  as  well.  Eg : At  Lothal , while houses were built of mud bricks, drains were made of burnt bricks.

7. Great Bath

  • Rectangular measuring 14.5X7 m & 2.4 m deep at Mohenjodaro . Wide staircase leads down into tank from North & South . It was made water tight by finely fitted bricks . But purpose of the Great Path is matter of debate
Irfan Habib Was meant for only elite class (not for common people)
DK Chakraborty Was equivalent of tank accompanying a typical Hindu temple where one takes ritual dip before entering temple

There are series of rooms along the eastern edge of buildings. One of them has well that may have supplied water to the tank

Great Bath
Great Bath

8. Dockyard

Huge Basin / Dockyard that was placed in centre of city & measured 770 feet in length & 120 feet wide & 15 feet deep with two openings on each side . Most probably it was used for docking ships ( but some historians feel that Basin was water reservoir for irrigation or for use of city )

Dockyard at Lothal
Dockyard at Lothal

9. Granaries

  • Largest building at Mohenjodaro (150ft long 75ft wide 15ft high )
  • Well ventilated
  • Used to store surplus grains and indicate centralized control

10. Pottery

  • Red and black pottery .
    • Red to paint the background and
    • Black colour to draw the designs of trees, birds , animals , human figures , other geometric patterns
  • Mainly wheel made . Very few hand made

Use of pottery

  • Utilitarian : Used in household purposes like storing water and food grains , cook food , eat food etc
  • Decoration : Vessels with designs were for decoration purpose  

11. No temples

12. Cemeteries

  • Disposal of the dead has been an important religious activity of the human group . This is because the attitude towards the dead is linked up with the human beliefs regarding this life & life after death. Harappan civilisation hasn’t yet yielded a monument for the dead who could equal Pyramids of Egypt or Royal Cemetery of the Mesopotamian city of Ur
  • Archaeologists generally use certain strategies to find out whether there were social or economic differences among people living within a particular culture. These include studying burials. Some graves contain pottery and ornaments, perhaps indicating a belief that these could be used in the afterlife. Jewellery has been found in burials of both men and women. In some instances the dead were buried with copper mirrors. But on the whole, it appears that the Harappans did not believe in burying precious things with the dead
  • Located at sites eg Harappa , Kalibangan , Lothal , Rakhigarhi & Surkotda. In this, Harappa has maximum burials and require particular study.
  • Types of burials
Common – Place body of deceased in extended position with head in north
– Simple pit or Brick chamber
– Grave goods include food, pottery , tools but they were never too lavish 
Symbolic Burials With grave goods but no skeletons
– Found at Kalibangan
Fractional burials Body exposed to elements & bones then gathered and buried
– In Harappa & Mohenjodaro
– These two sites also have urn burials – suggestive of cremation
Urn Burials Body burned and then ash placed in Urn and buried
– In Harappa & Mohenjodaro
Multiple Burials Of male & female Discovered at Lothal
  • A study at Kalibangan show different kind of burials found at same settlement. This shows different kind of religious beliefs & practices even in the same settlement.

Side Topic : Water Management System of Indus Valley Civilization

  • Ancient Indus Systems of sewerages and drainage that were developed & used in cities throughout Indus Region were far more advanced than any found in contemporary urban sites in the Middle East
  • Within the city, individual homes or groups of homes obtained water from wells. From a room that appears to have been set aside for bathing, waste water was directed to covered drains, which lined the major streets.
Mohenjodaro – Almost all houses had private wells (700 wells found in city)
Great Bath also found there
Lothal Port at the Arabian Sea with a dockyard
Dholavira System of water management was architectural marvel which was crucial in an area, which is prone to frequent droughts.
– Rain water in the catchment areas of the two seasonal streams – Manhar and Mansar – was dammed and diverted to the large reservoirs within the city walls.
– Apparently, there were 16 water reservoirs within the city walls, covering as much as 36 percent of the walled area. 
Shortughai Canal for irrigation of fields drawing water from nearby Kokcha river