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R. N. Misra

[Udayapura; Udaypur]

Town near Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh, India; flourished from the 11th century ad. It became prominent as a seat of the Nemakas, vassals of the Paramara dynasty. During the time of the Paramara ruler Udayaditya (reg c. 1070–86) the celebrated Udayeshvara (anc. Udalameshvara) Temple was constructed. Dedicated to Shiva, the temple is considered an architectural marvel, ingenious and striking both in plan and elevation. Commenced in 1059 and consecrated in 1080, it conforms to the type known canonically as bhūmija (Skt: ‘earth-born’). The temple is the earliest of the bhūmija type in central India. The exterior of the sanctum has a stellate configuration with the vestibule, halls, porches, ceilings, pillars and doorways all richly embellished with relief sculptures that are predominantly Shaiva in theme. The bhūmija superstructure has a central vertical spine (latā) on each side. These spines divide the spire into four quadrants, each containing seven storeys of five ...

Article

Ujjain  

R. N. Misra

[anc. Ujjayinī; Ujjeni; Ozene; Visala]

Sacred city and ancient astronomical centre on the Shipra River in Madhya Pradesh, India. It was already an important centre in Maurya times (4th–3rd centuries bc) and flourished under the Gupta rulers of the 4th–5th centuries ad. From the 9th to the 13th century Ujjain was the capital of the Paramara kings but was sacked by Muslim forces in 1235. The city subsequently flourished under Mughal family and Maratha rule (16th–19th centuries), especially during the governorship of Raja Jai Singh in the early 18th century.

The site of the ancient city is marked by a substantial mound known as Garh-kalika on the bank of the Shipra River to the north of the present town. Excavations (1938–9, 1955–8 and 1964–5) have dated the foundation of the city to c. 700 bc. Finds included objects of pottery, iron and stone, beads, coins and terracotta figurines. The earliest buildings found at Ujjain are a brick-lined tank of the ...

Article

[anc. Ānandapura]

Town and temple site in northern Gujarat, India. While the date of its foundation is uncertain, references in the ancient religious text known as the Skanda purā ṇa and the writings of the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang (7th century ad) indicate the considerable importance the town enjoyed by this date as a centre of Hindu and Jaina learning. Two elaborately carved monumental arched gateways (tora ṇas) dating to the 11th century and located just outside the northern walls are the major artistic remains. In form, sculptural style and trabeate construction technique they resemble the gateways at Modhera and Sidhpur. Nothing remains of the temple to which they were originally attached. Several stone-lined, stepped tanks of the 11th and 12th centuries also survive, the largest being the Sarmishta Tank; these were embellished with figurative relief sculptures. A stone inscription embedded in one of Vadnagar’s six gates commemorates the building of the town’s walls and dates to ...

Article

Walter Smith

[Baroda]

City in Gujarat, India. Although artefacts from as early as the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods (c. 600,000–c. 5000 bc) have been found in the region, Vadodara only came to prominence after a Maratha family known as the Gaekwad won control of the city from the Mughals in 1732, ruling it virtually without interruption until Indian independence from British rule in 1947. The few Islamic remains in the city include the Jami‛ Masjid, built in the 16th century by the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605), and the mosque of Sakar Khan. North of the old city is the former British cantonment, with an Anglican church built in 1838. Examples of the wada form of residential dwelling survive (see also Indian subcontinent §III 7., (ii), (c)).

Almost all surviving Gaekwad buildings in Vadodara were sponsored by Maharaja Sayaji Rao III (reg 1875–1936). A social reformer, he was very Westernized in his tastes, and his buildings exhibit a frank and bold eclecticism in which structural and decorative elements from the Western Gothic and classical traditions blend with those of Mughal, Rajput and Gujarati origin. This is epitomized in the ...

Article

Frederick M. Asher

[Vaiśālī; Vesāli]

Ancient Indian city that flourished from c. 6th century bc to c. 5th century ad. The site, in Muzaffarpur District, Bihar, spans several villages, including Basarh and Kolhua. By the 6th century bc Vaishali was the capital of the Vrjis (Lichchavis). It is important in Jainism as the birthplace of Mahavira, the last Jaina saviour, and in Buddhism (see Buddhism §I) as a place where the Buddha visited and taught. Its most important monumental remain is a pillar with a lion capital dating to the 3rd century bc. The shaft has no inscription, but the design is similar to the pillars erected by the Maurya dynasty at Lauriya Nandangarh and elsewhere. An adjacent mound, the likely location of a stupa, has yielded an image of the Buddha, shown crowned and seated (Vaishali Mus.). Excavations at Vaishali have uncovered numerous terracotta sculptures from the Kushana and Gupta periods (all Vaishali Mus.), among them a superbly rendered mother goddess image (...

Article

Valabhi  

Jutta Jain-Neubauer

Former capital of the Maitraka dynasty near Bhavnagar on the eastern coast of the Saurashtra Peninsula in Gujarat, India. Having ruled the Saurashtra Peninsula from the 5th century ad, the Maitrakas under Dharasena IV (reg c. mid-7th century) extended their power to the whole of Gujarat, Malava in Rajasthan and the Sahya region of Maharashtra. From the remaining temples and numerous finds of li ṅgas and Nandi images, it can be inferred that Shaivism was the predominant cult in the Valabhi region. However, the large number of Buddhist caves, stupas, monasteries and donative inscriptions indicate that Valabhi was a great centre of Buddhist learning comparable to the famous university of Nalanda. Although Jaina literary sources refer to the existence of Jainism in Valabhi during the Maitraka period, no art-historical remains survive. The Arab invasion that destroyed Valabhi in 788 seems to have ended its rich cultural and religious heritage....

Article

M. A. Claringbull

[anc. Kāsī: ‘City of Light’; Kashi; Vārāṇasī; Banāras; Benares]

Sacred city and pilgrimage centre on the banks of the Ganga River between the Barna, or Varuna, and Asi rivers in Uttar Pradesh, India. It is the most holy of the seven sacred cities of Hinduism (the others being Ayodhya, Mathura, Hardwar, Kanchipuram, Ujjain and Dwarka) and has been the focus of Brahmanical learning and religious pilgrimage from ancient times.

The existence of the city from earliest times is attested by myriad references in the sacred texts. The kingdom of Kashi is mentioned in the Vedas, and the kings of Kashi are referred to in the Mahābhārata, although not until the Puranas is Varanasi mentioned as the capital city of Kashi. Around the time of the Buddha (600 bc) 16 great city states flourished in north India, the three most prominent being Maghada, Koshala and Varanasi. Owing to its strategic position at the confluence of the Ganga and Varuna rivers, Varanasi was a significant trading and commercial centre. In many tales of the previous lives of Buddha (Skt ...

Article

Vellore  

George Michell

Town with an imposing fort in North Arcot District, Tamil Nadu, India. Though modified in later times, much of the fort’s fabric dates to the 16th century ad, when it was reinforced by Chinna Bomma, the local governor of the Nayaka dynasty. The circular bastions and turrets overlook a substantial moat. There is a single entrance on the east side.

The Jalakanteshvara Temple inside the fort is a well-preserved complex, mostly dating to the 16th century. It is surrounded by a double enclosure (Skt prākāra) of high walls broken on the south by a gopura (towered gateway), the two lowest (granite) storeys of which are decorated with mouldings, delicately ornamented pilasters and niches, now empty. The renovated pyramidal tower has six diminishing storeys with projections in the middle of each long side. The crowning roof has arched ends with monster masks. The principal temple is typical of the Vijayanagara...

Article

Madeleine Giteau

Capital city of Laos. It lies on the north bank of the Mekong River, close to the Thai border. Before the establishment of the kingdom of Lan Xang in 1353, the Vientiane region had been in contact with the civilizations of the Chao Phraya Basin, at first that of Mon Dvaravati, as is shown, for example, by the Buddha of Ban Thalat (8th–9th century ad; see Laos §II 1., (i); Thailand, Kingdom of §II 1., (i) ) and in the 12th century that of the Khmer kingdom of Angkor, whence the Stele of the Hospitals, which dates from the reign of the Khmer king Jayavarman VII (reg 1181–c. 1220) and was found at Say Fong. The ancient name of Vientiane was Vieng Xan-Vieng Kham (‘Sandalwood citadel, golden citadel’). In 1563 King Setthathirath (reg 1548–71) established his capital at Vientiane, and the first major edifices date from his reign. They include the Royal Palace, Vat Ho Phra Kaeo (built for the Phra Kaeo or Emerald Buddha brought from Chiang Mai), as well as the palladium of the kingdom, the Buddha image known as Phra Bang that was brought there from Luang Prabang, and That Luang (a great stupa constructed 2 km from the city to house a relic of the Buddha). (...

Article

G. Bhattacharya

[Brindaban ; anc. Vṛndāvana]

Sacred town in Uttar Pradesh, India. Located on the River Yamuna 9 km north of Mathura, Vrindavan is considered to be the place where the god Krishna gambolled with the milkmaids (gopīs). The poet Jayadeva (12th century ad) immortalized these exploits in his Sanskrit lyric Gitagovinda, but it was not until the Vaishnava reformer Chaitanya (1485–1527) visited Vrindavan that it began to emerge as a stronghold of the Vaishnava movement. None of the monuments pre-dates the 16th century. The Govinda Deva Temple was built, according to inscription, by Raja Man Singh Kachchhwaha (reg 1590–1614) of Amer in 1590. Only the hall remains, the sanctum having been pulled down in the time of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (reg 1658–1707). Constructed of red sandstone, the hall has projecting porches, notable for their elaborate brackets, on two storeys. The exterior walls, devoid of sculpture, are articulated with courses of mouldings. The interior is spanned by arches and a dome recalling contemporary Mughal architecture. The 16th-century Madana Mohana Temple stands on the mound called Dvadashaditya Tila. It consists of a hall and an octagonal spire (h. ...

Article

Yangon  

Annemarie Esche and Pierre Pichard

[Rangoon; anc. Dagon]

Capital city and major port of Burma, on the Rangoon River in the fertile delta of the Irrawaddy in Lower, or southern, Burma. Rangoon is built on the site of the ancient Mon city of Dagon, first mentioned in chronicles of the 11th century. The city was given its present name, meaning ‘end of strife’, by the founder of the Burman Konbaung dynasty, Alaungpaya (reg 1752–60), after his defeat of the Mon kingdom of Pegu. It became the capital in 1885, when Burma was finally annexed by the British, and was a major colonial centre for the next half-century. Some fine houses and the Strand Hotel (1901; by John Darwood) date from the colonial period (see Burma 2.). At the centre of the city’s grid plan is the Sule stupa, remarkable for the fact that the octagonal shape of the base is continued up to the bell. The ...

Article

Raja de Silva

[Yāpāhuva ; Pali: Subha-pabbata ; Sundara-pabbata ; Yasa-pabbata]

Sri Lankan site and capital city in the 13th century. Built around an outcrop of rock 90 m high, Yapahuva originated as a Buddhist cave monastery in the last centuries bc. The site came to prominence in the early 13th century as a defence station during the south Indian and Malay invasions. After the routing of the invaders, a well-fortified palace was built that served as the seat of Bhuvanekabahu I (reg 1272–84). Yapahuva was then sacked by a Pandya general, Aryachakravatti, and subsequently abandoned.

The defences exposed by excavation are roughly circular in plan and consist of two ramparts and two moats that abut the great rock on its south side. Gateways are located on the eastern and western sides. A broad flight of steps over the southern side of the outer rampart leads to the outer city. More or less in line with these steps is an ornamental ...

Article

J. Dumarçay

[Jogjakarta ; Jokjakarta ; Djogdjakarta ; Djokjakarta]

Indonesian city on the River Code in southern Central Java. A few kilometres to the south are Kerta, the capital of Sultan Agung of Mataram (reg 1613–45), destroyed by fire in 1634, and Plered, the capital of Sultan Amangkurat I (reg 1645–77), abandoned in 1680. The Mataram court was re-established in Kartasura, near Surakarta to the north, but disputes over succession led in 1755 to the division of the kingdom into two and the foundation of the two sultanates of Surakarta and Yogyakarta, the latter under the rule of Sultan Hamengkubuwono I (Mangkubumi). The city can be divided into two more or less concentric parts, the sultan’s palace (kraton), within its grounds, and the town around it. The palace was sacked by the British in 1812 and largely rebuilt from 1814. There remain, however, several parts from the 18th century; the most complete and the only dated one is the brick Masjid Selo (Stone Mosque), built in ...