Takeo Kamiya, architect
( Sacred Architecture in India )

cover photo


Written and Photographed by Takeo Kamiya
2005, 21cm -128pp, 1,700 Yen
ISBN4-09-343192-2, Pubsished by Shougaku-kan, Tokyo

The book describing the religious architecture of India;
Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Islam and other religions respectively.
Each chapter is treated in historical order.
A beautiful book of nearly 170 color photographs
taken by the author.

Religions and Architecture in India

When it comes to India, many people might think of religion. For the Japanese, India is first of all the birthplace of Buddhism, as it was called ‘the Western Pure Land’. The image of current India could be as the country of Hinduism. However, when knowing the Taj Mahal, which everybody regards as the symbol of India, is in fact an Islamic tomb work, one becomes a little confused. Upon hearing that a religion called Jainism, which is little known in Japan, played an important role in the history of India, the confusion deepens. Moreover, when informed that men wearing large turbans and long beards, which is a popular image of Indian people, are actually not Hindus but Sikhs, the confusion reaches its apex.

Ch. 1 Buddhism
Page Sample

Going deeper into Indian history: Zoroastrians, who went to ruin in Persia, survived by moving to and around Mumbai to be referred to as Parsees; Christians, who were persecuted in the Roman Empire, immigrating to southern India and still holding ritual in ancient Syriac; furthermore, communities of Jews, who immigrated to India around the 1st century, still lie scattered; later, though after the 15th century, the Catholic church was brought to Goa by Portuguese and the Anglican Cathedrals were built in various cities during the British rule; one might wonder what on earth the religious circumstances in India is and why so many religions coexist still now.

Ch. 3 Jainism
Page Sample

Composition of this Book

Chapter 1 discusses Buddhist temples. Since Buddhism, which had been born in India in about the 5th century B.C.E, had spread from Southeast Asia to Japan through China becoming a world religion, unfortunately disappeared in the mainland of India in the 13th century, the number of its extant legacies are not large. How were the original features of Buddhist architecture in ancient times?

Chapter 2 is for the temples of Hinduism, of which more than 80 percent of Indians currently believe in, and so they are great in number, being separated into the two clearly different styles of northern and southern India. Though most of them are stone-made, I try to classify its diversity, in understandable manner, including brick and wooden temples that are limited regionally. What is the difference between the northern style and southern one in the medieval period?

Ch. 4 Islam
Page Sample

Chapter. 3 discusses the architecture of Jainism, which is not well enough known despite being a sister religion of Buddhism. In contrast with Buddhism, Jainism did not spread outside of India, instead staying domestically up until now, boasting a consecutive history of 2,500 years and a splendid architectural legacy. When hearing that the Indian magnum opus is the Jaina temple at Ranakpur, is one surprised?

Chapter 4 takes up Islam, which came to India from the westward in the 13th century. The place of worship of Islam is called ‘mosque’ in English, but originally ‘masjid’ in Arabic. What is the essence of mosque architecture, in which followers never worship idols, thoroughly differing from Hindu temples full of statues of gods?

Chapter 5 takes a glance together at the temples of other religions, excepting former great Indian native ones. It includes Christianity of external origin, mountainous tribal religions in India, the lost ancient Ajivika, and new ones born in early-modern times like Sikhism. These temples may be the most unknown Indian architecture in Japan.
Each chapter will be in chronological order to be easily understood.

Ch. 5 Others
Page Sample



   Importance of Water006
   Map of India008
   Indian Civilization


Chapter 1BUDDHISM012
   Stupa as Chaitya014
   Ruins in Gandhara016
   Cave Temples018
   Stone and Brick Temples024
   Ghompas in Ladhak026
   Pilgrim Sites for Buddhists


Chapter 2HINDUISM030
   Early Stone Temples032
   Rock Carved Temples034
   Southern Style Temples038
   Southern and Northern Styles046
   Northern Style Temples048
   Middle Style Temples058
   Terracotta Temples in Bengal064
   Wooden Temples in Kerala066
   Wooden Temples in Himalaya068
   Islamic Influences


Chapter 3JAINISM072
   Cave Temples and Stone Temples074
   Digambara in South India076
   Temple Towns on the Mountain078
   Shwetambara in West India082
   The Greatest Work of Indian Architecture084
   Transmission of Four-faced Shrine


Chapter 4ISLAM090
   Delhi Sultanate092
   Mosques in West India094
   Mosques in South India096
   Development of the Mughals098
   New Religion of Akbar100
   White Palaces of Shah Jahan102
   Mausoleums in Inida104
   Wooden Mosques in Kashmir


Chapter 5Other Religions112
   Caves for Ajivikas114
   Thodas Religeon116
   Temples of Sikhs118
   Christian Churches118


© Takeo Kamiya
E-mail to: kamiya@t.email.ne.jp