history of architecture


The word Vastu is derived from sanscrit meaning a dwelling or house with a corresponding plot of land. Vastu shastra is an ancient nomadic way of architecture prevailing in the eastern society. It (literally, science of dwelling) is ancient Sanskrit manuals of architecture.

”It is creating a congenial settings or a place to live or work, in most scientific way taking advantages of the benefits bestowed by the five elements called “Paanchbhootas” of the nature thereby paving the way for enhanced healthwealth, prosperity and happiness in an enlightened environment. “

It is the science of directions that combines all the five elements of nature (i.e., air, fire, water, space, and wind) and balances them with the man and the material. Vastu guides to walk along the positive vibes or eaves produced by those elements. In order to swing our life in the resonating waves emitted by those naturally occurring elements we need to follow rules of vastu while constructing every structure which is connected to us.

It is the balance of the energy between us ,this energy emanates from five separate elements that make up our surroundings, earth (prithivi,water,(jal), fire(agni),air (vayu)and space (akash).It is concerned about balancing the positive and negative energies in our surrounding. To create the positive energy vastu suggest balancing the man and material with nature. It  is universal and secular. Its result is immediate and effective. Because of Vastu Shastra whole universe gets good health, happiness, and all of the round prosperity.

Architecture is an importance science which is based on numbers and mathematics. But Vaastushastra is much larger than the Architecture. It is a natural Science which is very vast, and immense. According to mayamata vastu refers to dwelling places of every mortal. Mayan is considered as a pioneerer of the vastu shastra. Using this shastra he had build the famous architecture of lanka . the initation of the vastu shastra was from the hindu architecture.later the largertowns like ayoydhas,kashi were all based on the vastu purusha mandala also known as town planning mandala at that time.

Later the influence of vastu came in the construction of the Indian as well as neplai temples . Nowadays  people are more fascinated about vastu and started using it during the construction of residence. In the history of Nepal we can see Malla architect using vastu shastra as well as the principle of Tripura sundari Mandala while constructing beautiful temples.


The starting of Vaastushastra is done from the place from where the building has to be constructed. First of all, we should have correct and full knowledge of all the eight directions of the plot, on which the construction is to be done. Until, we have correct knowledge of direction, we cannot have right idea about the nature of the plot. East, West, North, South are the four main directions. The middle directions of these four directions are called co-sister directions.


These are also four:

(1) Ishan – North East.

(2) Way ova – North West.

(3) Agneya – South East.

(4) Nairithya – South West.

Some of the rules given by the Vastu are :

  • South west corner is a place where Master bed room should be constructed.
  • Toilets should not be kept in north east direction as it is the main point of the flow of positive energy.
  • Courtyard system houses are preferred and the central part iss dedicated to lord vramha.
  • If we read by facing north direction we can have a great memory power.
  • Construction of the house on the dead end should be avoided.
  • While sleeping we should should not sleep keeping our head in north direction and many more too.



People have felt that if we construct the house by considering all the rules of vastu we’ll have a better and happy life; which is not true all the time. So we should first of all free ourselves from the conservative thinking towards vastu and follow its rules consciously.

With the increasing desires of man in modern times, the ancient culture and behaviour patterns are losing their importance. However with the attraction Vaastushastra is getting these days, it appears that man has come to know the importance of his ancient cultural values.

The importance of Vaastushastra has augmented in modern times. Vaastushastra deals with all aspects of construction of a house, and its edicts are accurate. The complete wisdom of Vaastushastra is based on scientific facts. It takes in view harmony with nature. It considers Sunrays, gravitational force, magnetic power, geographical condition, the five elements, and directions besides all other natural phenomena that may have a bearing upon a house.

Vaastushastra equally plays a significant role in commercial places, be it a trading house, hotel, commercial complex, cinema hall, factory, etc. In a residential building, the main purpose behind the application of principles of Vaastushastra is to evade destructive forces of nature and to blend constructive forces to enable inmates of a building lead a happy, peaceful and prosperous life. If some defects have crept in construction of a house, because of ignorance or otherwise, they may be rectified with due prudence with the help of its principles. These remedies would certainly make life better.

It is based on the grid system where the designations for 32 pada devatas are placed. Every Indian as well as nepali temple follows the same grid pattern. Vaastu also suggest the location of the particular rooms. These may be sometimes very be problematic as per the site condition, so we canot fully follow the rules of vastu while constructing house.


”The Vastushstra principles are based upon movement of the Sun and Earth. So the directional rules and regulation differs as per the location across the globe.” The use of Vastu shastra and Vastu consultants in modern home and public projects is controversial.



Michelangelo said that the Pantheon “must have been designed by angels, not humans.”

Pantheon is the best preserved building from ancient Rome and was completed in c. 125 CE in the reign of Hadrian.  The word Pantheon is derived from the Ancient Greek “Pantheon” meaning “of, relating to, or common to all the gods”.

Its magnificent dome is a lasting testimony to the genius of Roman architects and as the building stands virtually intact it offers a unique opportunity for the modern visitor to step back 2,000 years and experience the glory that was Rome. Until, the 20th century, the Pantheon was the largest concrete structure in the world. The poet Shelley called it “The unmeasured dome of Heaven.”


The Pantheon was dedicated to pan theos, “all the gods.” When it became a church, it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and all the martyrs. The Pantheon was originally built in 27-25 BC by the magistrate Marcus Agrippa (his name appears on the inscription outside), to commemorate the victory of Actium over Antony and Cleopatra. This original temple burned down in 80 AD. The second temple was dedicated to every known god, from which the Pantheon gets its name. Hadrian himself is credited with the basic plan, an architectural design that was unique for the time.

The form of pantheon is somehow puzzling; the combination of huge porticos over gigantic domes forming the principal parts  of the building. The porch is based on the very  classical Greek style  and the circular main building which is more roman in style.An inscription on the porch attributing the construction to Agrippa.The porch is eight columns wide and three deep and the unfluted monolithic columns  are imitations from the Egyptian architecture and have fused with the Corinthian capitals.They support an entablature which carries the inscription and pediments which may originally have had a bronze eagle relief.


The circular building is built with brick and concrete but was originally faced with white marble stucco to match the porch in appearance. The dome is concrete with the external surface originally covered in bronze. The whole building stands on a 1.3 m high base which originally extended a further 7 meters in front of the colonnade, steps in Numidia yellow marble from the outer ends of this base.

The Pantheon may well be the first building from Classical architecture where the interior is deliberately made to outshine the exterior. “The circular part of the building or rotunda was entranced via two bronze doors measuring 12 x 7.5. And rotunda measures 43.2 m in diameter which is exactly the maximum height of the dome, itself a perfect hemisphere. At the very top of the dome is an opening to the sky (oculus) which is 8.8 m in diameter and has a decorative bronze sheet frieze. The dome is made from a light tufa and scoria (a type of pumice) mix of concrete and its interior is further lightened by five rings of 28 coffers which reduce in size as they rise towards the centre of the dome. These may have been originally covered in bronze sheets. The wall of the rotunda is 6 metres thick and has seven alcoves which are alternatively semi-circular and rectangular.”

The material used to build the Pantheon was mainly of brick and concrete. This concrete is a mixture of mortar with small stones that is mixed with limestone (travertine), bricks and other materials. The Romans were aware of the heavy nature of their buildings. So as they build the Pantheon, lighter materials were used as the building rises higher and higher. This use of lighter materials on top alleviated the immense weight of the dome. The series of arches were mainly built by using bricks. Its interior is further lightened by five rings of 28 coffers which reduce in size as they rise towards the center of the dome. The structure’s weight is channeled through the piers to its foundation.

The form of the Pantheon is derived from the circle and square in plan and section view. The Pantheon’s design begins with a square subdivided into a grid. Certain points of the grid intersect circles. Pantheon likewise starts out with a subdivided grid. With the touch of culture and belief, the structure and form become more sophisticated behind.


Interior of roof intended to symbolize arched vault of heavens.Great Eye at dome’s apex are the only  source of all light  so it is regarded as symbolic of sun.  It is also used for cooling and ventilation method .Weight of dome is concentrated on ring of voussoirs (30 ft) in diameter which form oculus while downward thrust of dome is carried by 8 barrel vaults in 20 ft thick drum wall into 8 piers.Thickness of dome varies from 21 ft at base to 4 ft around oculus consisting cylindrical drums on which the dome sands have several voids. These voids rises to the second storey behind attic, and there are also hidden voids above them and between them. Roman are able to reduce the whole size of the dome by using various techniques like voiding the chambers, coffers ceilings, and also by the nature of cementation resulting to the reduction of density of it.

Traditionally the interior of the pantheon is divided into three portions. The lower most section is all dedicated to the gods (roman gods). And the middle section is dedicated to the zodiac and the uppermost section i.e. dome is dedicated to the universe (heaven). According to Sigfried Giedian,Pantheon reperesent the second space concept,where interior are used and well decorated. Pantheon remains one of the outstanding buildings of the world, despite centries of low maintenance. Pantheon is enriched by mosaics,(now gone), marble revetment,and inlaid floors. Roman Architecture manipulated light with as much enthusiasm as it did space, and in this interior the two are welded in an impressive manner.

Since the intellectual concept of the Pantheon’s interioris so very simple(a cyloindertopped by ahalf sphere of the same radius –the visitor is unpreparedfor the staggering impact of the space.)Standing at the center, one is barely aware of alternately rectangular andsemicircular niches behind pairs of columns that enliven the lower walls. One is more conscious of the coffering of the ceiling, leading up to the open eye at the top of the dome. It is one of the perfect piece of art and a testimonies several roman history.

Rock  hewn architecture:
About 2150 the central Egyptian government seems to have fallen apart. Egypt once more became a series of separate states in great confusion. During this time little building or sculpture was done so it is considered as a dark age in the field of Egyptian architecture.

Eventually, about 2040, a central government was again organized under a strong king. King Mentuhotep II revived the architecture of the Old Kingdom. His tomb included a courtyard, terrace, temple, and the king’s burial chamber at the end of a long passage that had been cut into the solid rock of the cliffs and introduced a new form of architecture naming rock hewn architecture. In other word, Rock cut architecture and rock hewn architecture means cutting deep into the mountain rock. In middle kingdom the royal burials began to made in the hill side.

The tomb had a highly original design that was copied centuries later for Queen Hatshepsut’s famous temple. Though now badly damaged, Mentuhotep II’s tomb is of great interest because it is the oldest remaining temple at Thebes, the chief city of the south.

With the rise of King Amenemhet I about 1991, Egypt entered one of its great periods. Amenemhet returned to the tradition of using the pyramid as the royal tomb.” His pyramid was constructed at El Lisht, not far south of Memphis.” In general form his pyramid and those of his successors followed the Old Kingdom style—valley temple, passageway, upper temple, and finally the pyramid itself. Valley temple is in colonnaded form consisting small god idols, also used for rest area, passageway are usually in the ramp form leading towards the upper temple. Final temple consist a main burial inside the mountain. Lastly mimicry of the old kingdom, pyramid is kept on the top terrace of the temple symbolizing heaven.

rock hewn architecture

But the newer pyramids were smaller and poorly constructed. Instead of the great stone blocks used earlier, these Middle Kingdom pyramids were often built of mud brick covered with limestone. The limestone was always stolen, and the brick pyramids crumbled into huge mounds. And, despite efforts to protect them, the royal burial chambers in these pyramids were all robbed.

In this period the best tombs built by wealthy nobles were cut into great rock cliffs. The most famous are at Beni Hasan in Middle Egypt, on the east side of the Nile. These tombs are fully rock hewn, each consist chamber behind a porticoed façade plainly imitating wooden construction in the character of the eight or sixteen sided, slightly fluted and tapered columns. The tombs are based upon trabeated system and have columned entryways and halls. The inside walls are covered with paintings and relief sculptures.

rock hewn architecture

Huge statues of kings were produced at this time in granite and other hard stones. Some statues were so oversized that they could not fit inside the temples but had to be placed in the open air outside the  Smaller royal statues were sometimes made in wood. Statuettes of human and animal figures were made of ivory and semiprecious stones.

The Great Temple of Abu- Simbel is also one of the  known rock- hewn temples of Egypt commanded by the indefatigable Rameses II. An entrance forecourt leads to the imposing façade, 36 m ( 119 ft. ) wide and 32 m ( 105 ft. ) high formed as pylon, immediately in front of which are four rock-cut seated colossal statues of Rameses, over 20 m ( 65 ft. ) high. Huge human statutes are referred as incarnation of god and small statuettes of his family is kept in between their huge legs.

rock hewn architecture

The tomb of the Kings,Thebes are situated in the arid of mountains on the west of the Nile. They witnessed a complete abandonment of the royal pryramid tomb during the new kingdom in favour of a corridor type,in which stairs,passages and chambers extended as much as 210 m (690ft ) into the mountain side and up to 96m (315 ft) below the valley floor.The sarcophagus usually lay in a concluding rock columned hall,and the walls were elaborately painted with ceremonial  funerary scences and religious text.The tombs served only for the sarcophagus .The queen hatshepsut’s temple , mentuhetep ,are some of the othertemples representig rock hewn architecture of ancient Egypt.

These architecture can be considered as a transitional phase between first space concept and second space concept. There is a little use of interior and decoration on the interior walls are also done side by sidethe presence of huge statue of the king represents monumental architecture.

Prepared By: Prakriti Bhandari and Rosy Shrestha

vastu-pantheon – rock hewn architecture of egypt



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