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Western scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various
Indian cultures and traditions. Among its roots are the historical Vedic
religion of Iron Age India itself already the product of "a composite of
the Indo-Aryan and Harappan cultures and civilizations", but also
the Sramana or renouncer traditions ofnortheast India, and
mesolithic and neolithic cultures of India, such as the religions of
the Indus Valley Civilisation, Dravidian traditions, and the local
traditions and tribal religions.
A Hindu temple design follows a geometrical design called vastu-
purusha-mandala. The name is a composite Sanskrit word with three
of the most important components of the plan. Mandala means circle,
Purusha is universal essence at the core of Hindu tradition, while
Vastu means the dwelling structure. The design lays out a Hindu
temple in a symmetrical, self-repeating structure derived from central
beliefs, myths, cardinality and mathematical principles.
Buddhism is a world religion, which arose in and around the ancient
Kingdom of Magadha (now in Bihar, India), and is based on the
teachings of Siddhārtha Gautama who was deemed a "Buddha"
("Awakened One"). Buddhism spread outside of Magadha starting in
the Buddha's lifetime.
Buddhist religious architecture developed in the Indian Subcontinent
in the 3rd century BCE.
Three types of structures are associated with the religious
architecture of early Buddhism: monasteries (viharas), places to
venerate relics (stupas), and shrines or prayer halls (chaityas also
called chaitya grihas), which later came to be called temples in some
It originally meant "a secluded place in which to walk", and referred to
"dwellings" or "refuges" used by wandering monks during the rainy
a mound-like or hemispherical structure containing relics (śarīra -
typically the remains of Buddhist monks or nuns), and used as a place
a Buddhist shrine or prayer hall with a stupa at one end. In modern
texts on Indian architecture, the term chaitya-griha is often used to
denote an assembly or prayer hall that houses a stupa.
Islam first came to the western coast of India with Arab traders as
early as the 7th century AD to coastal Malabar and the Konkan-
Gujarat. Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kerala is thought to be the first
mosque in India, built in 629 AD by Malik lbn Dinar.
The most famous Islamic buildings in India emerged during the
Mughal period. Mughal architecture built on the traditional Hindu
architecture with influences from the Persian world.
The most popular Islamic building type in India is the tomb or the
mausoleum which evolved from the basic cube and hemisphere
vocabulary of the early phase into a more elaborate form during the
Mughal period where multiple chambers are present and tombs were
set in a garden known as the char-bagh. The tomb chamber houses
the cenotaph below which is the grave.
Well known examples are the Gol Gumbaz, Bijapur and the Taj Mahal,
Jainism traditionally known as Jain dharma, belongs to the śramaṇa
tradition along with Buddhism and is an ancient Indian religion. It
prescribes nonviolence (ahimsa) towards all living beings.
Practitioners believe non-violence and self-control are the means to
liberation. The three main principles of Jainism are non-violence
(ahimsa), non-absolutism (anekantavada), and non-possessiveness
(aparigraha). Followers of Jainism take 5 major vows: non-violence,
not lying, not stealing (asteya), chastity, and non-attachment. Self-
discipline and asceticism are thus major focuses of Jainism.
Parasparopagraho Jivanam ("The function of souls is to help one
another") is a motto of Jainism.
Jain temples are built with various architectural designs. Jain
temples in North India are completely different from the Jain temples
in South India, which in turn are quite different from Jain temples in
West India. There are two type of Jain temples:
Shikar-bandhi Jain temple(one with the dome) and
Ghar Jain temple (Home Temple without dome).
All shikar-bandhi Jain temples have many marble pillars which are
carved beautifully with Demi god posture. There is always a main
deity also known as mulnayak in each derasar. The main part of Jain
temple is called "Gambhara" (Garbha Graha) in which there is the
stone carved God idol. One is not supposed to enter the Gambhara
without taking a bath and without wearing puja (worship) clothes.
A monotheistic religion that originated in the Punjab region of South
Asia (subcontinental India) during the 15th century. The fundamental
beliefs of Sikhism, articulated in the sacred scripture Guru Granth
Sahib, include faith and meditation on the name of the one creator,
unity and equality of all humankind, engaging in selfless service,
striving for social justice for the benefit and prosperity of all, and
honest conduct and livelihood while living a householder's life.
The Sikhs are predominantly located in Punjab, but also in many
other parts of India. It is also the fifth largest religion in the
world with 25 million followers in the world as of year 2010.
Sikh Architecture, is a style of architecture that is characterized with
values of progressiveness, exquisite intricacy, austere beauty and
logical flowing lines. Due to its progressive style, it is constantly
evolving into many newly developing branches with new
contemporary styles. Although Sikh architecture was initially
developed within Sikhism its style has been used in many non-
religious buildings due to its beauty. 300 years ago, Sikh architecture
was distinguished for its many curves and straight lines; Shri
Keshgarh Sahib and the Sri Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) are
Compared to Hindu temples, they are more spacious (with the
addition of adjoining divan asthan or assembly halls where necessary)
and have, more often than not, entrance from all four sides, and they
are not oriented to any set direction as the Muslim mosques are.