The main modes of North Indian temples include Latina, Phamsana, Shekhari and Valabhi types. They have been discussed in most of the works on Indian temples. However, separate studies on these forms have not been attempted so far. This monograph is a pioneering attempt in this regard. It is focussed only on the Valabhi mode of temples, which comprise ayatakara talachhanda yojana (rectangular ground plan), a doorway to one of its longer parasvas (side) and a semi- cylindrical sikhara (superstructure).
About fifty percent of there temples are in Uttarakhand, most of which have been brought to light by the author and his colleagues. Other temples discussed in this work are located in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. Apart from documenting the existing Valabhi temples, this work traces the evolution of Valabhi structure, its transformation into a temple, literary references, dedication and architectural features in a chronological order, from the ‘very beginning to the medieval period. The comprehensive study, lavishly illustrated with photographs and analytical drawings, is expected to provide new insights into the appreciation of Valabhi temples and its various aspects.
Dr. Rakesh Tewari (b. 1953, Sitapur, UP.) is the Director of the U.R. State Archaeology Department, Government of Uttar Pradesh since 1989. he has been directing and conducting archaeological explorations and excavations for more than three decades in India. He has visited a number of ancient sites and monuments in Nepal, Afghanistan, iran, China, %1aurtiuq, Australia, UK and Italy. Apart from carrying Out significant excavation in the central Ganga Valley, he ha also documented a number of ancient sites, temples, sculptures and their remains in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
Dr. Tewari is the founder editor of Pragdhara leading research journal on archaeology and allied subject. He has to his credit many published reports, monographs, edited volumes and research papers, reviews and notes. In collaboration with Cambridge University researchers, he has worked on the ancient Deccan routes and archaeological settlements in the Ganga Plain. Also, he is collaborating in an ongoing U project — ‘From the collapse’ of Harappan urbanism to the rise of great Indian Early Historic cities.
Let me clarify at the very outset that I have never been a regular student of temple architecture. It was just a coincidence that one of my colleagues and an old friend, Dr. Amar Singh, presently teaching in Lucknow University, long time back offered me to photograph and document the temples, sculptures and buildings of Gwalior fort with regard to his Ph.D. work and provided me an opportunity to have discussions with him about them. This is how I was introduced to this subject in 1979-80. Later, as Regional Archaeological Officer for the U.P. Hills, I had to deal with temple architecture and sculptures during the explorations carried out by me in that region. Study of relevant publications and discussions with Dr. Singh and other scholars was required to prepare the reports of these explorations. In the process, I gathered some knowledge about the subject. Therefore, it is requested to the learned readers to keep this background in view while going through this publication.
During the course of an exploration, a group of temples was found in the village of Baman Suyãl, district Almora in 1980-81. Before publishing an article on these temples, when I consulted Shri Krishna Deva ji, he took keen interest in a particular type of temple of this group — comprising a rectangular ground plan, with a semi-circular superstructure and an entrance on one of its longer sides. He also suggested me to write a paper on this type of temples of Kumaon area for the Journal of Indian Society for Oriental Art (J1SOA). At that time, he was the editor of the journal. Although I could not fulfil his desire, his suggestion inspired me to study this type of temples, known as ‘Valabhi temples’.
It is to be noted that till 1980, only a small number of Valabhi temples were known in districts Almora, Pithoragarh and Chamoli in Uttarakhand, and Mathura, Fatehpur and Varanasi districts in Uttar Pradesh. Their number considerably increased with the pace of further explorations, conducted by the author of this monograph and his colleagues in Uttarakhand Himalayas and north Vindhyas. Thereafter, the study of Valabhi temples has been taken with more interest. Their descriptions are published in different journals and reports from time to time. Since this material is not available at one place, a separate monograph on Valabhi temples is considered useful to understand the origin, antiquity and development of this type of temples. Through this publication, I have made an attempt to describe and discuss the salient features of the Valabhi mode of temples of North India including Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Bengal, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.
On the completion of this work, first of all I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude towards late Shri Krishna Deva ji who inspired me to study Valabhi temples. I am equally grateful to my friend Dr. Amar Singh who has been instrumental in providing me with a chance to meet Shri Krishna Deva ji, and who has always readily discussed different aspects of architecture and Valabhi temples. My sincere thanks are due to the authors of the texts mentioned under references. My colleagues Dr. B.P. Badoni, Shri Girish Chandra Singh and Dr. Suresh Kumar Dube have been kind enough to provide me recent information regarding the Valabhi temples whenever they discovered them during their exploration works. They have also benefited me with their valuable suggestions. I would also like to thank Dr. Ramashraya Awasthi, Former Professor, Lucknow University; Dr. R.N. Misra, Former Professor, Gwalior University; Dr. R.C. Agrawala, Former Director, Department of Archaeology and Museums, Rajasthan; Professor Arvind Kumar Singh, University of Gwalior; Dr. Shyamanand Upadhyaya, Assistant Director, State Museum, Lucknow; my friend Shri Prakash Singh, Special Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh. My colleagues in the Directorate of UP. State Archaeology, Government of Uttar Pradesh, who have provided very useful references regarding the present work; Shri Ram Gopal Mishra has prepared many of the photographs illustrated in this monograph, Dr. Adam Hardy provided two, and one has been taken from a publication of Dr. Ajay Khare (2005); rest of them are by the courtesy of the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIlS), Gurgaon; Dr. Jagdish S. Yadava, Retd. Director (CA & A/L) and Dr. Vandana Sinha, Director (Academics) from the same institute extended helping hand regarding some of the important references and photographs; two photographs of Jagesvara temple are by the courtesy of Mr. Jamal Hasan, S.A., Dehradun Circle, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Shri Manmohan Dimri prepared the map illustrated in the text. I express my sincere thanks to all of them.
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