Sun Temple, KonarkIndian MonumentsCultural IndiaCulture in India
Cultural India


Architecture in ancient India was unique in its style. This short essay traces the development of architecture in ancient India.


Ancient Indian Architecture

Ancient Indian ArchitectureIndian architecture is as old as the history of the civilization. The earliest remains of recognizable building activity in the India dates back to the Indus Valley cities. Among India's ancient architectural remains, the most characteristic are the temples, Chaityas, Viharas, Stupas and other religious structures. In ancient India, temple architecture of high standard developed in almost all regions. The distinct architectural style of temple construction in different parts was a result of geographical, climatic, ethnic, racial, historical and linguistic diversities.

The Rock-cut structures present the most spectacular piece of ancient Indian art specimen. Most of the rock-cut structures were related to various religious communities. In the beginning, remarkable Buddhist and Jain monuments were produced in areas such as Bihar in the east and Maharashtra in the west. Chaityas and Viharas are those rock-cut structures that were hewn out for Buddhist and Jain monks. Chaityas were places of worship whereas Viharas were residence of monks. The Rathas at Mahabalipuram are yet another great specimen of rock-cut architecture in ancient India.

Cave Architecture
The cave architecture in India is believed to have begun in the third century BC. These caves were used by Buddhist and Jain monks as places of worship and residence. Initially the caves were excavated in the western India. Some examples of this type of cave structure are Chaityas and Viharas of Buddhists.

Rock Cut
The Rock-cut structures present the most spectacular piece of ancient Indian art specimen. Most of the rock-cut structures were related to various religious communities. In the beginning, remarkable Buddhist and Jain monuments were produced in areas such as Bihar in the east and Maharashtra in the west.

Temple Architecture
In ancient India, temple architecture of high standard developed in almost all regions. The distinct architectural style of temple construction in different parts was a result of geographical, climatic, ethnic, racial, historical and linguistic diversities. Ancient Indian temples are classified in three broad types. This classification is based on different architectural styles, employed in the construction of the temples.