Architectural Gems and Archaeological sites of Gujarat
Gujarat has been a hub of civilization for more than four millennia. From 2700-1600 BC, the Harappan or Indus Valley Civilization thrived at sites like Lothal and Dholavira. The Harappan cities were known for their sophisticated town planning. From the 3rd century BC to the 7th century BC, Gujarat was a flourishing centre of Buddhism. The golden period of Gujarat’s architecture was during the reign of the Solanki Rajputs in the 11th and 12th centuries when superb Hindu and Jain temples were built. A noteworthy feature of the Solanki period was the creation of water-retaining structures like the stepwells, stepped tanks and artificial lakes which were decorated like subterranean palaces with really fine carvings. Another unique feature of Gujarat is its Jain temple complexes sited on summits like those of Shatrunjaya Hill near Palitana and Mt Girnar near Junagadh.
The 15th century saw the development of a provincial Indo-Saracenic style of architecture during the reign of Sultan Ahmed Shah, the founder of Ahmedabad, with mosques and mausoleum complexes which blended Hindu and Islamic architectural elements.
The 17th to 19th century period saw much trade out of Gujarat’s ports and the state’s merchants commissioned remarkable havelis with exquisite woodcarvings.
This itinerary has been designed to include a cross-section of these remarkable architectural styles characteristic of the state. The itinerary can also be modified to include impressive European works like the huge Portuguese fort of Diu, the exquisite churches of Daman, and the Dutch and British mausoleum complexes of Surat.
Architecture of Gujarat
Architecture is perhaps only form of human endeavor, which provides an insight into man's ceaseless efforts at perfection, his attempt to express himself, his environment, his attitude towards life, his society and aesthetic sense. Literally, the whole length and breadth of Gujarat is dotted with ancient Buddhist, Jain, Hindu and Muslim monuments. The architectured thoughts involved in these monuments reflect the great heritage of Gujarat arts and culture.
Today Ahmedabad witnesses many buildings, which could be termed as a few of the finest example of modern architecture. It was the architecture of repute like Le Corbusier, Charles Correa and Louis Kahn, who has greatly contributed towards modern architecture in Gujarat.
The various creations by these three architects are testimony to the fact that they have been able to express individual, social and religious traditions and values.
Le Corbusier used enough concrete and brick in these works infusing them with a tactile sense of space and a magical height. His Indian and religious building combined cosmic and archaic themes, while his domestic designs were 'on the knife-edge of presentation'.
Kahn nature works used light geometry, construction and an intense abstraction to touch a timeless dimension.
The basic philosophy of Charles Correa in planning the buildings, the architect has tried to give long corridors and wide arches, which provide shades and ventilation. One of the specimen of the buildings can be seen at Gandhi Ashram designed in 1962. He has successfully expressed his philosophy combining with regional traditions.
There are many buildings in Gujarat that bear the signature of these four genius, which could be witnessed from these living examples.