Buildings, Paintings and Books

Learning Goals:

The Iron Pillar at Delhi

When you will go to visit the Qutab Minar, you will find an iron pillar near it. This pillar is no ordinary pillar as it appears at the first glance. This pillar has been standing there since last 1500 years but there is no rust on this pillar. This speaks about the technology being used in those days. There is an inscription on this pillar which shows that this pillar was probably made during the reign of Chandragupta of the Gupta Dynasty.

The Stupas

The word ‘stupa’ means a mound. Most of the stupas were made by the followers of Buddha. Following are the details of structure of a stupa:

Structure of Hindu Temple:

layout plan of temple


Some early temples were made of stones and bricks. But many temples of the later period were built entirely of stones. Some temples were made by carving out a single large rock, e.g. the temple at Mahabalipuram.

Building a Stupa or a Temple

Building a temple or a stupa was very costly. So, arrangement of money was most important. Kings or queens usually provided the money.

After arranging the money, good quality stones were found, quarried and carried to the site. The stones were then carved to make pillars, wall panels, ceilings and floors.

These stone pieces were very heavy. So some special arrangements were made to place them at a particular position.

Sometimes, other people also gave donations for making a temple. The merchants, farmers, smiths, flower sellers, etc. also gave donations.


The Ajanta caves in Maharashtra are famous for beautiful cave paintings. The colors in these paintings still look vivid. It is difficult to imagine how the artists made those paintings in such dark caves. Another surprise is that nobody knows the name of those artists.


Works on Science:

Aryabhata was a mathematician and an astronomer. He wrote the Aryabhatiyam which deals with many theories of mathematics and astronomy. He made great contributions in the field of science and mathematics. He was among the earliest scientists to propose that the earth rotates around its axis, which causes the day and night. He also developed a scientific explanation of eclipses. He also found a method of calculating the circumference of a circle. This method is as accurate as we use today.

Zero was another important discovery of this period. The discovery of zero helped in developing the decimal system. The decimal system went to Europe through the Arab world. Hence this is also known as the Arabic Numeral or Hindu Arabic Numeral.

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