(Last Updated on : 26-02-2014)
Maharashtra is a part of West India and presents a wide array of various types of architecture. The cave temple architectures of Ajanta and Ellora cave are one of its kinds. These are specimens of Buddhist architecture. There are also some Hindu and Jain cave temples at Ellora. Maharashtra is also renowned for the rock cut temple architecture. Islamic architecture of Maharashtra is concentrated in the city of Aurangabad. The monuments and buildings in Mumbai encompass a major portion of colonial architecture. Maharashtra is the land of the Marathas and specimens of Maratha architecture is witnessed in the places like Pune, Satara and Raigarh.
The history of Maharashtra
mentions it as one of the place where Ashoka
had sent an embassy in the 3rd century B.C. Later it became a part of the Magadha Empire which was ruled by Ashoka. Maharashtra came under the Islamic influence after the advent of the Delhi sultanates
. Then it fell in the hands of the Mughals was under their dominion until Chatrapati Shivaji fought against them during the seventeenth century and established the Maratha kingdom, which was mainly Hindu. Forts were built by him in Raigarh and other places. When the Mughals weakened, this area was taken over by the British. The Marathas also fought against the British but lost in the third Anglo Maratha war
The various religions that flourished in the state of Maharashtra resulted in the variety in its field of architecture. Under the supremacy of emperor Ashoka, Buddhist architecture boomed in this region. The caves of Ajanta for example display a high quality of workmanship in its structural pattern. There is a lot of cave architecture in the world but nothing that can be compared to the cave temples of this state. The paintings in the walls depict stories related to the life of Lord Buddha
and from the Jataka
tales. The cave temples of Pitalkhora are of great architectural merit. The monk' s rooms in the cave temples have reclining platforms and shelves carved out of rocks and a wooden rib-like structure on the ceiling. In Ellora there are Buddhist cave temples, Hindu cave temples and Jain cave temples. These are not just cave temples but also temples sculpted out of rock and are much richer in style and architectural detail.
The rock cut Kailasha Temple which is a part of the Ellora cave is a fine example of the south Indian architectural style promoted by the Rashtrakuta dynasty. Jain temples that were built later, adopted the circular engraving in the front hall as it was done in the Kailasha temple. The influence of the Hindu architectural style is strong in the caves of Ellora and it can also be said that the decline of Buddhism
is reflected in the architecture too.
is constitutes a chief segment of Maharashtra's architecture. The Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad
has four minarets along the central axis and the building is flattened on its sides.The main tomb is that of the Mughal Emperor, Aurangazeb. Since he was a devout Muslim who frowned upon rich grandeur, respecting his beliefs, his tomb is simple, but elegant, with only a stone lattice wall surrounding it. Maratha architecture is reflected in the Rama temple of Pune. The shikhara is conical in the Maratha style with Bengaldar roof-like niches on the surface, where various gods have been deified.
There is an open mandapa made of wood, in front of the shrine. The Parvati temple is a colourful temple in the Maratha style was constructed by Peshwa Baji Rao. The shikhara of the temple is an onion-shaped tomb which makes it look like a Russian Byzantine church. Instead of the mandapa there is a pillared corridor around the shrine. The hill fort of the Marathas in Raigarh and the palace in Satara are wonders of the Maratha architecture. The colonial buildings of Maharashtra are chiefly centered in Mumbai
. The Afghan Memorial Church of St. John the Baptist effect of the British Gothic style prevalent in London. The Victoria Terminus of Mumbai has a European flavour mixed with Indian traditional styles. The Municipal buildings of Mumbai are constructed in the Indo-Saracenic style, with domes on either side.
Thus Maharashtra is a storehouse of the variety of Indian architecture. With the exquisite cave temples, rock cut temples, mosques and colonial buildings; Maharashtra is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the map of India.