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Vedic Principles for Planning of Cities

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Vedic Principles for Planning of Cities

  1. 1. VEDIC Principles for Planning of Temple Cities of India By: Ar. Iram Aziz
  2. 2. • Rig VedaRig Veda • Sam VedaSam Veda • Yajur VedaYajur Veda • Athar VedaAthar Veda
  3. 3. • Mayamata, Manasara, Vishvakarma - VastuShastra, Samaranganasutradhara, Aparajita - Priccha, Manasollasa, Prasadamandana, Shilparatnam etc. are treatise on Architecture based on Vedic hymns. • There are innumerable references in Rigveda which indicate a very advanced Vastushilpa.
  4. 4. City and its Functions • A traditional nagara (city) is one where the sacred and the secular mingle. • Temples (mentioned in Yajurveda hymns) - the link between the cosmic and the human (worship) – cultural centres; festive and ritual activities – educational : pathshala – social life: public meetings and social gatherings – significant part in the economy of the village: donations goes for nagara development and employments. – Mathas: monastic centre of education and pilgrim rest house.
  5. 5. City in literary and epic narratives • Sanskrit epics – Ramayana; Ayodhya and Sri Lanka - advanced stage of city life – Mahabharata • Tamil epic poems – Silappadigaram; city is of technical order - vibrant, wealthy and a heterogenous city – Manimegalai • Kautliya's Arthashastra; a treatise on statecraft and polity, image of a well-planned city where people of diverse occupations interact, although within the given framework. • Kalidasa's play Shakuntala • Vatsyayana's Kamasutra
  6. 6. City as a site of liberation and alienation • City provides locale for the pursuit and fulfilment of the four aims of life- Purusharthas – Dharma- duty, righteousness, morality – Karma- pleasure – Artha- wealth – Moksha- liberation • In some brahmanical texts, the city is also seen as a place to be avoided (Apastamba) Dharmasutra (I, 32,21), as the quest for liberation is impossible in a city. • The Bauddhayana declares that: "It is impossible for one to obtain salvation, who lives in a town covered with dust" (II, 3, 6, 33).
  7. 7. Town planning • Sthapatya Veda (part of Atharva Veda); layout of a city • Smriti Shastra; street layouts (micro & macro) • Vaastu Shastra - treatises on architectural planning, construction and design; matters relating to site selection, site planning and orientation, quality of soil, water resources, planting of trees and groves. – Arthashastra; environmental management – Manasara Shilpa Shastra – Grama Vidhana & Nagara Vidhana – Mayamata – Viswakarma. • A traditional city designed according to the principles of sacred geometry was based on cosmological theories. – Vaastu Purush Mandala
  8. 8. • Vastu Shastra recommends five shapes of a town; 1. Chandura; square 2. Agatara; rectangle 3. Vritta; circle 4. Kritta Vritta; elliptical 5. Gola Vritta; full circle Town planning
  9. 9. Source: Kautilya The Arthashastra by L.N.Rangarajan Kautalya’sArthshastraKautalya’sArthshastra Kautilya’s Arthashastra is considered to be a comprehensive treaty and addresses those entire essential fundamentals specific to the practices of design and development of human settlements.
  10. 10. • Silpasasthras refers to four distinct categories of habitation settlements within the forts and fortified cities; 1. Janabhavanas : houses for common mass. 2. Rajbhavanas : palaces and gorgeous mansions for ruling class. 3. Devabhavanas : religious shrines. 4. The public buildings such as public rest house, public gardens, public libraries, public tents, reservoirs, and wells. • Silpasasthras do not put more emphasis upon the secular architecture i.e.,the Janabhavanas • Manasara, Mayamata and Visvakarma Prakara (later scriptures) laid emphasis on planning and architecture of Janabhavanas. • Samaranganasutradhara – “architect of human dwellings” – has given a list of 50 establishments including administrative and domestic structures. Town planning
  11. 11. Hymn ‘Purusa Sukta’ in the Rg Veda, describes the symbolic division of Purusa, or the Eternal Man, into four varnas or classes; Town planning
  12. 12. Allocation based on Varnashrama dharma or the ideal social & spiritual order. The Sanskrit word Varnashrama is formed by joining 2 words "Varna" and "Asrama". There are 4 kinds of Varnas & 4 kinds of Ashramas Varnas (Social order or caste) 1.Brahamana - Intellectual class 2.Kshatriya - Administrative or ruling class 3.Vaisya - Business class 4.Sudra - Working class Ashrama (Spiritual order or life’s culture) 1.Sannyasa - Renounced order 2.Vanaprastha - Intermediate stage between Grihasta & Sannyasa 3.Grihasta - an ideal married person, who contributes most to the society 4.Brahmacarya - A celibate, does academic learning under a bonafide Guru. Town planning
  13. 13. Town planning
  14. 14. Vastu Shastra & Urban Design – Nagara Vidhana • Grid –iron pattern: main streets. • Primary, Secondary & Tertiary street layout. • Street with green plant borders. • Pedestrian footpath between street & green belt. • Junction of main axis: Brahmastana • Public space ~ public accessibility ~ public building • discard land that has depression in the middle area corresponding to Brahmastana • Mixed use on main streets, i.e. residences above commercial/office etc. • The streets that run round the layout can have buildings on one side. These buildings can relate to schools, colleges, public libraries and buildings, offices, guest houses etc. • The smaller streets can have residential buildings on both sides. Each segment or block can have houses that are uniform in height and appearance. • People of similar professions, age groups, health can be housed in the same quarters. • Crematoria were placed outside the layout Mandala
  15. 15. Vastu Shastra & Urban Design – Samarangana Sutradhara • Recommends 34 roads in a model town, running EW & NS. • importance of gardens (mentions a belt of trees and plants surrounding town). • banyan tree recommended in centre of a town, serving for a council hall. • Udaka (source of water) • most essential primary elements of nature (Panchabhoota). • Source of life • Trading routes (sea-shores & rivers) • The drains and sewers are sloped naturally towards East & North
  16. 16. Vastu Shastra & Urban Design – Manasara • Towns based on plans ranging from Pechaka (plan of 4 squares) to Asana (plan of 100 squares). • It speaks of the street that is on the border of the street (Mangalaveedhi) and the street that surrounds the Brahmasthana (Brahmaveedhi) • Laying out should start in the NE (Easanya). • A prosperous town is normally situated along a sea or river coast. • A stream on the north border of the city running to the east or the concept of the mega-city as an island will indeed contribute to its global success.
  17. 17. Madurai – “Temple City” • The City of Madurai, was originally built around the Meenakshi temple . • Rectangular streets named after the Tamil months of Aadi, Chithirai and Maasi surround the temple, symbolizing the structure of the cosmos.

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