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A Study of The Hindu Science of Architecture and its Practice with Special Reference to Rajavallabha

A Study of The Hindu Science of Architecture and its Practice with Special Reference to Rajavallabha
Item Code: NAD103
Author: Dr N.R.Dave
Publisher: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 9788172764517
Pages: 404
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 9.5 inch X6.5 inch
Back of the Book
Dr.Nandakumar R.Dave

Dr.N.R.Dave is a Civil Engineering Graduate from I.I.T Madras. He passed B.Tech in 1965 after working in Government and Private Companies in 1967 he got himself self-employed as consulting Engineer and Builder. Since last 43 years he has to his credit construction of many prestigious Residential, commercial, Community and Industrial Buildings. He has developed expertise in construction of multistoried complexes in continuous area building zones of Chennai city. The repairs and alterations of buildings is another area where he has developed expertise. He has written papers on ‘Social Aspects of Civil Engineering’, ‘Cracks and repairs in Buildings’, Maintenances of Buildings’, etc. He is a member of Concrete Association of India, Valuers Association, Vastu Sastra Circle, and Fellow of Institution of Engineers & Fellow of institution of valuers.

In social and public field he was Under Sheriff, Madras in 1994. He was Diamond Jubilee District Governor of Lions Clubs International, District 324 a1 in 1991-92. He is the author and Managing Trustee of Lions Hearing Aid Bank, Dist.324a1 lions Eye Bank Trust & Foundation. He is the founder Trustee of lion’s edifice for service Trust, Heart Foundation and Lions Foundation for the Blind. He has been chiefly responsible in the creation of ‘Lions Cornea Block’ which is now the standing monument of service in the premises of ophthalmic hospital. The lions Model Eye Bank of which he is the author is a standing monument of service to the Sightless at Govt. Ophthalmic Hospital. Doordarshan has interviewed him on his social Activities.

He is life Member of Institution of Engineers (India). He is the Committee Member since last 31 years and at present he is the President of 90 years old Sri Z.P.H. Gujarati Kanya Kelavani Mandal. He is President of The Hindu Theological Higher Secondary School which is 120 years old. He is Vice President of “HINDUSTHAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE”

He has been awarded “Distinguished Alumnus Award” by I.I.T. Madras in 1996. In 2008 Sri Gujarati Mandal Awarede him “Chennai Gurjar Ratna Award”. Jagatguru Sankaracharya of Kanchikamakoti Peetam Pujya Sri Jayendra saraswati swamiji conferred ‘JANA SEVA’ title on him on 12th June 2010. He has been awarded “Paul Harris Fellow” awarded by Ratary International to honour his services in the field of Eye Donation. He is pursuing his studies in Sanskrit. In 2002 he passed M.A Sanskrit. From 2005 to 2009, he carried out research at University of Madras through Sanskrit Department and Presented Thesis on “The Hindu Science of Architecture, and its Practices with special Reference to Raja Vallabha”. He has been awarded doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D) in May 2010 by University of Madras.



It is a matter of great pride that the book. ‘The Hindu Science of Architecture and its practices with special reference to Rãjavallabha’ is getting printed and published. Dr. N.R. Dave, a well known Chartered Engineer and Social worker from Chennai desired me to write foreword to his wonderful book. It is commendable that Dr. N.R. Dave as a professional decided to make an indepth study of Hindu Science of Architecture and brought out the basic scientific principles and methodologies adopted in the construction of ancient Temples, Palaces, Buildings and other Civil Structures. For modern Students of Civil Engineering and Architecture this book will be a boon as it explains the five fundamental canons of Hindu Architecture dearly and vividly.

Earlier it was thought that Vãstu is to be followed only for the construction of temples and palaces and not for buildings. But in the last fifteen years, Vãstu has become popular. Nowadays it is advertised by builders in the News papers that flats and buildings are constructed as per vastu. Does it mean that Vastu is only a placement of rooms in particular directions? No; it is not so. On the other hand Vastu has wider implications. Any planning and construction of a structure is Vastu, like Town Planning, buildings, Temples, Royal and Dwellings) markets, roads, gardens, lakes, wells, fountains, compound walls and other constructions. It also includes weapons, dresses and embroidery, Jeweilary, furniture, sculpture, painting etc. The principles of orientation and Planning, measurements, proportions and mathematical formulae, types of buildings and perspectives, materials, principles of astronomy, auspicious time, etc. are explained in great detail with illustrations in the Rajavallabha a work of great importance from Gujarat, written by a Acarya Mondana.

Contrary to common belief that Vstu cannot be followed in modern buildings and flats, nowadays the planners and builders are accommodating some principles of Vastu in buildings. The placement of columns and walls are avoided on the ‘Vedb.a’ points. They are so oriented as to get the benefit of maxinnun air, light and positive flow of energy. The proportions of height, length and width are also designed appropriately.

In the design of modern siopping malls, the centre place is kept open. This is the rhaaa of V4stu, which is reqiire4 to be kept open The concept of green building has tiLe principle of flqyg ztu 1ig4 i. tke The long spanned structures like Malls and Airports have colunms placed at large distance. They re designed keeping in mind structural stability and use of suitable building materials. The open cantilever foyers are leveraged by built up area in the main building.

Not only one should build beautiful building but also build beautiful Life in the building. The body is made of the same Pancabhuta.-s (five elements) as that of the Universe. If there is synchronization of house and living body with the universe then it will result in beautiful life, wherein there is peace, prosperity and happiness. The principles of Vastu enables one to build beautiful lie.

Dr. N.R. DAVE has divided his work in to two parts. The first part introduces the Hindu Science of Architecture, its history, its scope and subject matter and qualities of an architect. The study of five fine scriptures of Vastu-.4ãstra-s namely Sa.marangana Sütradhãra, Aparajita Pacchã, Manusyalaya Candrika, Mayamata and Rajavaflabha, on different aspects of Vastu-.astra is praiseworthy. The five canons of Hindu Architecture are explained in detail to enable the reader to learn how the planning, proportions, measurements, various mathematical formulae, testing of soils, placement of trees round the building, and perspectives of- structures are based on scientific principles. The second part is a free translation of RJjavallabha. From Sanskrit Gujarati to English. Rajavallabha is a complete Vastu scripture and Dr.N.R. Dave has translated it into English with great care perhaps for the first time to see that it conveys the same meaning of Acãrya Mandana who has written the original Sanskrit text. Explanations in the form of footnotes are provided for clear understanding of specific names and terminologies.

The speciality of Rajavallabha is that in the chapter of housings all types of housings like Ek-salã, Dwi-sãia, Tri-sala, Catu-salã etc. are described in details with figures and each type of house with various permutations and combinations are described with specific names in Sanskrit. The chapter on Astronomy, fixing auspicious time for various ceremonies, Astrology describing horoscopes for buildings and a full chapter on Omens makes very interesting and educative reading of this beautiful scripture.

Dr. Kanaiyalal M. Munshi, the founder of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan had made it a mission of his life for studies and development of Bharat’s heritage and cultural values. I am extremely happy that Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has come forward to print and publish this great work of learned author Dr. N. R. Dave. Through research and case studies let Dr. N.R.Dave, the social worker help people to live trouble free, tension free and prosperous lives.



“A Study of Hindu Science of Architecture and its practice with special reference to Rãjavallabha” is an attempt to share with non Sanskrit knowing readers the contents of the text. As a practising Civil Engineer for more than forty years, I have designed, constructed and repaired many residential, commercial and industrial buildings, using reinforced concrete and modern building technology. In repairing many old buildings, I came across ‘Madras Terrace’ roofing wherein the wooden rafters and wooden beams were used. Wooden Pillars were also used for supporting the beams. In many places brick masonary was used in mud and lime mortars. Plastering was done with lime mortar. In the design of old residential buildings, the central raised ceilings called Kalyana-kudams were provided to keep Ventilation. A big residential building consisted of multiple Kalyana-kudam-s. The buildings were constructed on square or rectangular plots and faced the cardinel directions. Each living portion was built to face a particular direction. I was given to understand that building structure was planned as per Vãstu in olden times. In early professional career, my goal was to be a successful Planner, Engineer and Builder and hence I did not have much time to learn about Vãstu principles. But, of late, since the beginning of the twenty-first century, a new interest has been kindled among owners andbuilders to construct buildings as per Vãstu and correct Vastu-dosa in existing buildings. With more time for learning, I decided to start study on Ancient Hindu Architecture. But I found that the ancient Vãstu literatures were in Sanskrit and though English commentaries were available on some of these books a working knowledge of Sanskrit language was a must. With basic knowledge of Sanskrit, I decided to appear for M.A. (Sanskrit) examination and passed the same in 2002 from KSOU. After a couple of years, in one of the meetings in the University of Madras, Marina Campus, I met the Head of the Department of Sanskrit Dr. Siniruddha Dash and showed my interest to study Västu. He invited me to the Department and encouraged me to join the University for Ph.D. course under the guidance of Prof. Dr. S. Padmanabhan. I enrolled myself for Ph.D and as per the guidance of Prof. Dr. S. Padmanabhan, made preliminary studies of - Samaranganasutradhara (S.S.) by Dr. Shukla, Aparajitaprccha (A.P.) by Prof. Mankad and Rajavallabha (R.V.) by Sri Manclana which was published by M/s.Uday Jagushte with Gujarati translation by Sri Narayana Bharati Yashwantabhãrati. The first two books gave me a lot of insight in the principles of Ancient Indian Architecture. I found Rajavallabha as a complete book on Vãstu and i1pa-astra, with detailed study of Astronomy, Astrology and Omens. I found details of varieties of residential houses with various permutations and combinations and each with specific name for type of house. As a Civil Engineer, I found this book very interesting. And as a Gujarãti born and brought up in Chennai, I thought it would be easy for me to translate Rãjavallabha into English so that all sections of people will have access to this comprehensive and educative book on .i1pa-ãstra. Care is taken to illustrate with charts, figures and drawings wherever necessary. I dedicate this thesis to my parents who trained me from childhood in Hindu culture and to the people of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat who have spread this ancient science in their own states and other parts of the country.

I hope this book will be of immense use to architects and civil engineers in planning and designing of buildings and others structures.

I am beholden to Dr.S. Padmanabhan, Professor of Sanskrit, University of Madras for his guidence and advise in bringing out this book. My thanks are to Dr. R. Ananthan, former Professor of Vivekananda College, Chennai for editing the book. My gratitude to Dr. Udayan I-I. Shukla, Senate Member of M.S. University of Baroda for agreeing to write the foreword to this book.

For the purpose of illustrations, the charts the drawings and the figures have been used from Rajavallabha (Gujarati) published by M/s.Uday Jaguste, Ahmedabad. My sincere thanks to this publisher.

I am beholden to Bhartiya Vidhya Bhavan and especially Mr. K.N. Ramasamy, Director for printing and publishing this book.




Chapter Title


Chapter Page No
Prayer to Vlsvakarma xii
List of abbreviations xiii
Foreword xiv
Preface 1
Chapter 1: 1.1 Introduction 3
1.2 The method of treatment 11
1.3. Method of Study 12
Chapter 2 :The Scope and subject matter of Architecture 13
2.1 Philosophical and Cosmological 13
2.2 Meta – Physical 14
2.3 Astronomical – Astrological 14
2.4 Geographical – Geological 14
2.5 Architectural: Building Materials, Construction 15
chapter 3: The Architect and Architecture 17
3.1 The Sthapati and his Equipment and Qualifications 17
3.2 The Knowledge of The Science- Vastu sastra 18
3.3 Practical Experience of Karma 18
3.4 The Personal Insight, Prajna 19
3.5 The Character, Si1a 19
3.6 Sthapatya & Eight Fold Limbs 19
Chapter 4 An outline of Hindu Architecture both as Science and Art 21
4.1 Origin of Indian Architecture 21
4.2 Rise of The ãstra And the place Of VIvakarma 23
4.3 Maya 24
4.4 Vãstu literature 25
4.5 Ancient Vastu literature and its classifications 26
4.5.1 Vedic Literature 27
4.5.2 Epics 30
4.5.3 Buddhist literature 30
4.5.4 Kautilya’s Arthagastra 31
4.5.5 Purãna-s 31
4.5.6 Agarna-s 32
4.5.7 Tan tra-s 33
4.5.8 Brhatsamhita 33
4.5.9 Miscellaneous & .iIpa works 33
Chapter 5 .Study of Hindu science of Architecture 35
5.1 Samarangava - sutradhâra - The scope and outline history of Hindu Architecture 35
5.1.1 The Advent of Earth 36
5.1.2 The Dialogue between Father & Sons 36
5.1.3 The Query 37
5.1.4 The Geography 37
5.1.5 The mortals in the company of the Immortals and the rise of houses in the model of a tree 38
5.1.6 The division of Society according to Varna and A.4rama-s 38
5.1.7 The Qualifications of an Architect 38
5.1.8 The Eightfold limbs of the body of Västutastra 39
5.2 A study of AparãjItaprcch (A.P.) edited by Professor P.A. Mankad 39
5.2.1 Vastudevatã Padavinyasa 40
5.2.2 Theory of Orientation 42
5.2.3 Styles of Indian Architecture 44
5.2.4 Styles of Architecture in Samarãilgana sOtradhâra (S.S) 45
5.2.5 Styles in Aparjitaprccha 46 Vesara in Vasturaja 47 Vesara in Epigraph 48
5.2.7 Differentlatirg Characteristics of Nagara, Vesara & Dravida styles of architecture in A.P. 49
5.2.8 Plava 59
5.3 HousIng In ManuydIaya Candrlkd 60
5.3.1 The various steps of house making 60
5.3.2 Examination of Soil 63
5.3.3 Good and bad omens for ceremony of house building. 66
5.3.4 VastuvlnyasaWdhi or Planning 67
5.3.5 Three types of Vastuvinyasa 71
5.3.6 Vithivinyasa 72
5.3.7 FIxing of the area of building construction 73
5.4. Study of Mayamata with reference to housing and Its features 79
5.4.1 Features of houses for four classes and specific arrangements for houses of each class 79 The wall of the enclosure 79 Annexes 80 Houses with main buildings separated or in blocks 81 Layout 81 Dimensions of Central pavilion 81 Position of annagãra etc., 82 Elements of the upper part of the house 84 Proportions for dwelling pavilions 84 Position of foundation deposit 85 The Muhurtastambha 85 General rules 86 The verandah 87
5.4. 1. 13 The chamber of the master 87 Covering of the main buildings 87 Distribution of appurtenances: (a thing added to the main building) 88
5.4. 1.16 The four types of dwelling 89 Door proportions 91 Time for construction 91 Door positions Apartment positions 91 Aparment Positions 92 1 Period of beginning of construction 92
5.4.2 Housing in Mayamata 92 Types of Houses 92 Dimensions of main Buildings 92 Houses with a single main building 93 Houses with two main buildings 96 Houses with three main buildings > 97 Houses with four main buildings 98 Houses with Seven main buildings or more 109 Placing the foundation deposit 111 The door 111 Monasteries 111 Dimensions of house pillars 111 The ayãdi formulae 112 Annexes 113
5.5 The Study of RãJavallabha 114
Chapter 6. Fundamental canons of Hindu Architecture 117
6.1 Diñ-nirnaya or praci-sadhana. 117
6.2 The Västu pada-vinyasa - the plan 119
6.3 Mãna (Hastalaksana) 122
6.4 Ayadi-sad- varga 124
6.5 Patakadi-satchanda-s 127
Part II


Chapter Page No.
House construction and method for its entry 131
Vatsacakra for seeing Vatsa-dosa for house construction 133
The direction finding methods - which direction thehouse should face in relation to sign of the houseowner 138
Soil examination and finding of aIya 140
The foundation ceremony and the face of the Serpent 146
House starting to entry-five types of Vãstu-s 149
The types of trees to be grown near the house 150
The types of trees not to be grown near the house 150
The right and wrong type of entry to house 152
The measurement of gaja and its construction 153
Eight types of appliances of sculptor 155
Vãstupurua, Vastumandala, worship of deities, offering, Vastumarma and yagna-kuncia (fire altar) 156
Aya laksana-s and Its forms, naksatra-s, ana, vãra, gana, vyaya, varga and nädi - cakra 165
Town - planning, auspicious and inauspicious towns, forts, guns and other machines. 176
Well, lake, small well, pond 187
King’s palace and its placement in particulardirection 191
The measurements of wall, door on the basis of width of house and their heights 192
The type of wood to be used in a house 195
The measurements of pillar in relation to height of house, the measurements of porch from width of house and planning of house and various partsconsidering proportionate divisions of width, horsestable, place for lamp, and method of making entrance door 195
The method of making house doors and their placings 197
The method of making house, temple, house of head of a sect, making of porches and about different types of pillars 199
The measurements of outerwalls of house, place of staircase, good and bad house-entries - the method of demolitition of house, method of making a big house and placement of various portions of house in particular direction 200
Eka-äIã house, its planning, the prastãra of laghu and guru, dwi-ã1ã 205
Dwi-â1a, tri-.ãIä, catuIa houses and their methodologies 221
The measurements of king’s cot, royal seat and umbrella and methodologies of their making, gavaksa, assembly halls, fire altar and lamp post 231
Triiã houses for kings, Pratapavardhana to kamalodhbava palaces and their methodologies the palace - its pillars, 237
Vedi, Kaksana, Six types of palaces, garden, water tank and methods of planting of trees. 238
Horse stable, Lion door, house for elephants 243
Palaces and houses of king, prince’s, queen’s chief minister’s, prostitute’s, sculptor’s and others and their measurements and methods. 245
The mathematics of ãIã and porch, providing 248
Lice to Gala (hand) measurements, square, cube, ellipse, bow & arrow, octagon, hexagon, pentagon, sixteen sided polygons etc - their areas and calculations of side of a polygon. 250
Tithi, yoga, naksatra, vãra, auspicious and inauspicious results, candra, karana, lagna, graha-s, life of a building etc. Astrology details, virtures and vices of women, etc. 250
The movements of planets and stars, measurement of day and night, Sarvodaya, and mãtrikalaksanam 259
Astrological Characteristics 269
Omens and their characteristics - as shown by elders. 291
Bibliography 304
Index of Appendices 306
Appendices I to XLIV

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