PhD/ MPhil Projects

Ananya Gandotra

Ananya is currently working as an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Vastu Kala Academy, New Delhi where she is responsible for 4th year Dissertations and 3rd year Theory of Architectural design lectures programmes. She obtained her Architecture degree with the Gold Medal for the Best Outgoing Student Award from Manipal Institute of Technology, Karnataka in 1993. Using computers since 1992 for architectural drafting and presentation, she now uses the medium to educate art historians and architects to explore its potential as an analytical tool. She did her M'Des in Industrial Design, I.I.T Delhi, 1997. This led her to explore temple architecture under the guidance of Dr. Adam Hardy, through an eye of an architect. Her Gurgaon-based architecture and design firm, Ananya and Associates, deals with residential, commercial and industrial projects in Delhi, Haryana, J and K and U.P. As an empanelled architect for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi she has conducted more than 400 commercial and residential surveys. She actively took part in various architectural competitions while working for Kothari architects, Delhi. She has also been associated with architects Mohit Gujral and Ram Sharma. Beyond her PhD, Ananya is keen to continue her research on the application of constructive geometry in temple architecture, looking into the visual and constructional analysis of Sekhari temples using photogrammetry. She aims to discover the correct roof plans of the temples of Khajuraho.

PhD Research

An Analysis of the North Indian Style Temple Architecture Using Computers

Abstract of the Thesis (completed March 2007)

The study introduces computer to the study of Indian temple architecture for the first time, as an effective tool to test, analyse and interpret complex temple forms. It provides original, detailed computer drawings and models, which can serve as prototypes for further research in this field. The work addresses the need for the scholarship to analyse the development and transformation in Indian temple architecture in terms of its three-dimensional form, rather than in terms either of plan or of elevation. Commonly held notions that the vastupurushmandala is the key to temple design and planning are challenged.

Underlying geometrical principles are shown to have had widespread application in temple design, irrespective of its date, style and regional variation. The geometrical principle of nested squares and circles – termed ‘Square-Circle-Sequence’ – is used to analyse plans and elevations independently, and a relation between the two is subsequently shown. This leads to an explanation of the derivation of the curvature of the north Indian temple’s principal spire and smaller spirelets, and of means by which measurements and proportions in the temple plan could be transferred onto the elevation. The ‘Square-Circle-Sequence’ is seen to have been a tool for designing and executing complex designs in very precise way. The study addresses the geometrical and proportional relationships between the temple deity, sanctum, vestibule, adjoining halls, entrance porch and in larger temple complexes, subsidiary shrines and peripheral walls. Possible uses of ancient diagrams or ‘yantras’ for locating key elements in temple design are also explored.

The north Indian Shekhari temple type is analysed, showing roof plans, and presenting three-dimensional studies of two well-known temples at the central Indian temple site of Khajuraho: the Lakshmana temple (ca. A.D. 954) and Kandhariya Mahadeva temple (ca. A.D. 1030).