Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur


1A search for a scientific correlation between 2-D system of footprints and 3-D systems of patterns (iconography, built-form, shape syntax, elements of design) of built forms having patterns called mandala as evident in design of Temple and major settlements in Indian architecture.
The project will deliver:

• A scientific explanation of complementarities between the microcosm (pinda) and the macrocosm (brahmanda) based on a study of various ‘sacred’ and ‘profane’ precincts and the communities

• A methodological construct to establish ‘behavior-environment’ correlation (response to stimuli) based truths embedded in the complementarities

Indian architectural traditions are synonymous with Indian cosmic traditions having footprints in user’s charts and cosmological models as an imprint. The relations are complementarities between Indian building physics and the metaphysics of shape grammars leading to a footprint derived from the macrocosmic model imprinted on the user (both the deity and the devotee as one). The present project will scan a set of architectural prototypes like a) Temple ratha and vimana; b) Stupa and Mandalas; c) Sikharas and archetype trees and so on. Seminal works and observations by Sister Nivedita, Amos Rapoport, E. B. Havell, Alice Boner, Stella Kramrisch, Abanindranath Thakur, Ananda Koomaswamy, Bettina Baumer, Subhas Kak, I. B. Horner and others are significant evidences as literatures. These sacred diagrams impart both a physical and physiological impact leading to therapeutic and cathartic implication of its users. The important hypothesis is:

‘One changes rather than the environment; the change in the environment or nature external is an impact of the change within’

The aim of the study is to exemplify, by way of these prototypes, the manner in which the general spatial forms of Indian and Indian-influenced architecture (say, the architecture of South East Asia) are a) participatory symbols and b) evolutionary functions to promote metaphysical thought-notions and its impact.

Principal Investigator (s)
Joy Sen, Haimanti Banerjee

Mainak Ghosh, Saikat Kumar Paul, Priyadarshi Patnaik

2Linkages between iconographic re-interpretation of architecture and engineering patterns of Vedic and Buddhist periods

The linkage between the iconographic traditions of a distant Vedic past and the more evident Buddhist period is an important a crucial aspect of study in the history of Indian architecture and related building systems. The basic questions are:

• What are the hidden patterns of styles and continuity embedded in the two layers?

• How a methodology of interpreting the hidden connections is established eventually by using GIS based tools, carbon footprints study and geothermal history on objects to categorize the two periods of history?

There are rising questions about a) the precedence of Mahayana to that of Hinayana or Theravada; and b) the direct impact of the presence of the Vedic Sage Asit Devala right at the birth point of the ‘son’ born in the clan of ‘Gautama’ (Rig Veda) and that of the traditions of Brahma-Odona (Atharva Veda) or Suddha-odona.
The outcomes of the present project will have an ability to bring forward clarity in the chronology and continuity of Indian history of iconography which is both a semiotic and a pattern of a distinct nature of civilization (say cardinal patterns or sacred geometry). For example, it is ‘Hiranyastupa Angirasa’ that was converted to the ‘Stupa’ of Buddhism and similarly, Vedic ‘Sthavira’ and ‘Chaitya Purusha’ that became ‘thera’ and ‘the Chaitya’ symbolism, respectively. And there are many others, that the project ventures.
The exploration will be based on a specific research of objects and its constituent icons from different periods of history:

• To document extensively archaeological artifacts and evidences drawn from different cardinal directions of Indian history

• To explore the traditional rituals and qualitative response attributes of users (past, if any and present) and develop a methodology to transfer that to a 2D construct or users’ mandala

• To develop a working model on a certain aspect of historical linkages drawn through the study of Buddhism and its impact around the world (Asia Pacific and West Asia).

Principal Investigator (s)
Joy Sen, Haimanti Banerjee

Pallab Dasgupta, Priyadarshi Patnaik