Influence of Chalukya architecture on Hampi stepwell - Paper presented at the National Seminar on Water and Culture (2007)

The water storage systems indicate the knowledge of geology, soil engineering, construction engineering and structural engineering in ancient times.

Stepwell in Mukhed constructed in the 12th century

This paper discusses the reasons for building tanks in ancient India and mentions ancient texts like 'Samarangan Sutradhar' to indicate how wells and other water bodies were constructed.

These water storage systems indicate the knowledge of geology, soil engineering, construction engineering and structural engineering in ancient times.

The authors state that though emphasis is placed on rivers as a civilizational necessity, the fact that there are 200,000 tanks in south and central India point out to civilizations existing beyond river valleys.

Similarities between one of the water storage systems of the 12th century built by  Vikramaditya Chalukya in Nanded which has inscriptions in Kannada and a stepwell of the Vijayanagara built in Hampi are indicated by the authors. The Hampi stepwell is distinctive because water was supplied to it from an inland water source through a
masonry canal system. The authors have also used photographic evidence to strengthen their argument.

The authors conclude that the stepwells in Maharashtra which belong to the period between 8th and 13th century have influenced the architecture of stepwells  in other eras as seen in the case of the stepwell in Hampi constructed in the 14th century.

This paper was presented at the National Seminar on Water and Culture organised by Kannada University and Sahayoga in 2007.

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