Till now, no consistent attempt has been made to study the stone temples of Himanchal Pradesh as a unified entity. Descriptive accounts of very few temples available in the ASI reports, district gazetteers and travelogues are stray notes, unrelated to one another, nor do they present the evolution of this regional offshoot of temple architecture in a chronological sequence from A.D 700 to 1300. Nor has any scholar recognized the Himadri style temples as an important group amongst the regional developments of Nagara temple architecture. Although each regional manifestation has its own peculiar characteristics, there is throughout the entire range of this architectural style a certain undercurrent of thought resulting in a standardization of forms, principles, and procedure which indicates that fundamentally all these examples belong to the same wide movement.
The magnificent temples and the superb sculptures embellishing them provide sufficient testimony to the fact that highly accomplished and talented sculptors and equally discerning and enlightened patrons existed in this western Himalayan region. Simultaneously they attest to a significant fact that although these temple sites appear to be cut off from the rest of the northern Indian plains by a long chain of mountain ranges, they were not all that isolated.
The temple architectural features and sculptural styles belong to the mainstream of Nagara style temples and display striking homogeneity. This intensive study focuses attention on all these and many more issues. Monochrome and colour illustrations will bring home to the readers the grandeur of these silent but eloquent achievements of human hands and genius.
About the Author
Subhashini Aryan a PhD in Indian art history from M.S. University, Baroda is a well-known art historian. She has specialized in North Indian temple architecture and sculpture, and has authored several books on art and architecture of the Himalayan region, especially Himachal Pradesh. He publications include: Hanuman in Art, Rural Arts of Western Himalayas, Folk Bronzes of Rajasthan, Folk Embroidery of Himachal Pradesh, Western Himalayan Timber Architecture and The Development of Style in Pahari Sculpture. She is a regular contributor to national and international art journals.
At present she is the Director, home of folk Arts, Gurgaon.
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