PhD/ MPhil Projects

Amita Kanekar

Amita Kanekar currently works as Associate Professor (Part-time) and Co-ordinator of Humanities at the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture in Mumbai, India, where she teaches courses on Architectural History, Humanities and Graphics. She is also on the faculty of the Postgraduate Diploma in Comparative Mythologies at the University of Mumbai where she conducts the Theories of Myth course. She has authored a book, A Spoke in the Wheel, a work of historical fiction on the Buddha, which was published by Harper Collins in 2005.

MPhil Research: Architecture of the Keladi Nayakas

The project is a study of the architecture of the Keladi Nayakas, a successor regime of the Vijayanagar Empire. The Keladi Nayakas began as chiefs under Vijayanagar but developed into independent rulers over most of south-western Karnataka from south of Goa to the northern part of Kerala, in the 16th-18th centuries, contending all the while with the declining Empire and the Deccan Sultanates, and later the Mughals, the Marathas and the Portuguese. It was a time of transformation for South India, politically under the pressures of the Sultanate and Mughal north, and economically under that of European mercantilism.

The architecture of this period seems to reflect this climate, for while continuing the South Indian tradition after the style of Vijayanagar, it repeatedly harks back to the earlier great regime of the region, the Hoysalas, as well as reflecting the contemporary Sultanate of Bijapur and the Europeans, besides developing some unique new features of its own.

Beginning with the signature royal monuments, the Rameshwar Temple complex at Keladi and the Aghoreshwar Temple at Ikkeri, the project aims to document both in detail, to study forms and iconography, to identify the sources and evolution of design as well as the messages being propagated to worshippers and onlookers, and thus to place the architecture in the political and economic context of the time.