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Article

Gautam Vajracharya

[anc. Yāpriṅ]

Capital of Nepal, situated on the Bagmati River. According to legends recorded in Hindu and Buddhist texts, in ancient times the entire Kathmandu Valley was a lake—a story given credibility by the type of alluvial soil found in the valley. The city of Kathmandu appears to have developed out of two small towns that grew partly because of the fertility of the soil and partly because a principal trans-Himalayan trade route passed through them. The limits of the two towns are still vaguely remembered in the designated routes and areas for such traditional cultural activities as chariot festivals and processions of an image of a local divinity.

In the Lichchhavi period (c. ad 300–800) the two sections of this city were known as Koligrama and Dakshina (‘southern’) Koligrama. A massive inscribed stone threshold has helped to identify the location of a no longer extant Lichchhavi palace known as Dakshina-rajakula (‘Southern palace’), situated in the southern section on part of the site where the Hanuman Dhoka palace now stands. An older palace was located at Hadigaon, about 6 km north-east of the Southern Palace. Little survives of Kathmandu’s Lichchhavi-period monuments, though art historians have identified a range of works from this period in the city and its environs....

Article

Perween Hasan

Hill area some 8 km west of Comilla, Bangladesh. It was a centre of Buddhist culture and of extensive building activity in the 6th–13th centuries. Coins, inscriptions and other evidence provide the names of Hindu and Buddhist dynasties that ruled the region: the Khadgas, Devas, kings of Harikela, Chandras, Varmans and Senas. Among the forty-seven archaeological sites are the ruins of seven monasteries, five large shrines and a palace. The earliest dated site is the 8th-century Buddhist monastery and cruciform shrine of Salban Vihara.

F. A. Khan: Mainamati (Karachi, 1963) A. M. Chowdhury: Dynastic History of Bengal (Dhaka, 1967) B. M. Morrison: Lalmai, a Cultural Center of Early Bengal: An Archaeological Report and Historical Analysis (Seattle, 1974) N. I. Khan, ed.: Bangladesh District Gazeteers: Comilla (Dhaka, 1977) A. K. M. Zakaria: Bangladesher pratna ṣampad [The archaeological treasures of Bangladesh] (Dhaka, 1984) An Album of Archaeological Relics in Bangladesh (Dhaka, 1984) [excellent pls]...

Article

R. Soekmono

[Prambanan]

Hindu temple complex in southern Central Java. It is the largest and most important of a group of Shaivite and Buddhist temples (candi) on the plain of Prambanan near the village of that name, 17 km north-east of Yogyakarta. Candi Loro Jonggrang, popularly known as Candi Prambanan, is associated with an inscription with a date equivalent to ad 856, although its architecture is inconsistent with such an early date. All the temple buildings have an elevated platform, high walls divided by a horizontal moulding and a pyramidal roof that ascends without pronounced steps. The resulting slenderness is characteristic of the temple architecture of the later Singhasari period in East Java (see Indonesia, Republic of §II 1., (iii)). The complex consists of more than 200 shrines of varying sizes, distributed over 2 concentric square courtyards enclosed by walls with gateways on all 4 sides. The inner courtyard is 100 m square and contains the main shrines of the compound. The outer courtyard is 200 m square and contains subsidiary temples built on four tiered platforms that descend gradually from the walls of the central square. The entire compound is enclosed by a further, lower-lying square of 365×365 m, the walls of which are not parallel to the other two enclosure walls. This square, at an angle to the others, was apparently reserved for various auxiliary buildings made of impermanent materials....

Article

Pagoda  

Frances Wood, Young-Ho Chung, Dennis Lishka and Richard John

Usually a type of free-standing tower. The word pagoda is of unknown etymology, but it is thought by some scholars to be derived from the Sanskrit bhagavat, ‘sacred’, or the name Bhagavati, as applied to Durga and other Hindu goddesses. Its earliest known occurrence is in Duarte Barbosa’s account of the Malabar coast of India, which dates from c. 1518 and was first published in an Italian translation in the first volume of Giovanni Battista Ramusio’s Delle navigationi et viaggi… (Venice, 1550). Barbosa uses it to denote a particular type of temple in the Malabar region. Thereafter it came into general use to mean variously the varaha or hun (a gold coin formerly current in south India), an idol or a temple, particularly a many-storey Chinese temple. The extreme vagueness of the term has led to its use being restricted by most scholars to the specific contexts of Chinese, Japanese and Korean religious architecture and of chinoiserie in Europe, though it is sometimes used in the sense of a stupa or Buddhist reliquary monument in ...

Article

Sirpur  

Donald M. Stadtner

[anc. Sripura]

Site in Raipur District, Madhya Pradesh, India. It is noted for its Hindu and Buddhist monuments of the 7th century ad. The principal shrine is the Lakshmana Temple, a brick temple with a large sandstone sanctum doorway bearing a reclining image of Vishnu on the lintel and smaller images of his various incarnations (avatāras), including scenes from the life of Krishna on the uprights. The temple’s long pillared hall faces east; of this, only two parallel rows of stone pillar bases have survived. The brick superstructure has been heavily restored. There are also two smaller brick temples with dilapidated walls that reveal a layout based on a stellate plan. The brick walls of two Buddhist monasteries indicate a plan based around an open inner courtyard surrounded by individual cells; in the rear of each monastery is a sanctum containing a large stone Buddha. The monuments were erected by the Panduvamsi dynasty, which ruled from Sirpur during the latter part of the 6th century and first half of the 7th. A small group of late 7th- or 8th-century Buddhist bronzes from the site reveal affinities with metalwork from Bihar....