The Art of Mountain Temples (A Study of Temple Door Frames in Himachal Pradesh)
|AGAM KALA PRAKASHAN, DELHI
|238 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
Based on an in-situ study of the art and architecture of various temples in Himachal Pradesh, the present work is result of an in depth research in art idioms of the temples in Himachal Pradesh up to the thirteenth century of the Common Era. The emphasis in the work has been on art-historical significance of the door-frames of various temples. The development and iconographic features of the temple door frames in Himachal have been compared with their counterparts in other parts of India and the relationship between the two has been discussed to highlight the extension of art idioms from one region to the other. Details of the exquisitely carved doorframes of the large niches in the rock-cut complex at Masrur and the wooden doorframes such as those of the Dakshineshvara Mahadev at Nirmand and Lakshna Devi at Brahmaur have been highlighted perhaps for the first time in this work, which provides a scholarly peep into the ancient art and architecture of this very important region.
Dr. Sangram Singh is a young art historian with both the practical and theoretical academic background. He did his bachelor's degree in sculpture from Himachal Pradesh and passed M. A. in History of Art from the Dept. of Fine Arts, Panjab University, Chandigarh followed by Ph. D. from the Dept. of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology of the same university. Dr. Singh is actively engaged in research work and has done field-work in various parts of Himachal Pradesh. He has participated in several conferences and seminars at national level and has published research papers based on original field work.
The mountain temples of northern India include those of Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the North-Eastern states. The ancient temples of the north-western hill tracts in the present day Pakistan may also be included in this category. Despite some general resemblance, temples of each region form a category of their own and evince a fine originality that seems to have emerged often due to the influence of more than one art idiom mixed with the local traits. The temples of Himachal Pradesh form a fine example of their own type. They have attracted the attention of a large number of scholars both in the works on temples of India in general and special studies of the temples of the region. Some scholars like Herman Goetz have further confined to the study of wooden temples of a small part of Himachal Pradesh namely Chamba district alone. This trend of micro-study has helped bring to fore several finer aspects of the art and architecture that remain obscure in the general studies of the subject for want of space. As such a region wise micro study of the specific aspects of their art and architecture has become a strong desideratum. The present work is a fine attempt in this direction.
A host of savants have dwelt upon various aspects of temple architecture from time to time that has resulted in the accumulation of a massive literature on the subject for the benefit of the curious students and researchers. Even if we leave aside the works that deal with the temples of India in general and various regions, periods and styles prevalent in the subcontinent from time to time and concentrate only on a small area with a particular time frame in mind, the list of works would still remain considerably long to handle. As such, region wise micro study of some important aspects of this vast subject is needed for better understanding of the comprehensive issues of the temple architecture. In the present work we have dwelt upon the art-historic study of the doorways of ancient temples in Himachal Pradesh.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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