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Vastushastram Of Vishwakarma

Vastushastram of Vishwakarma is a Sanskrit work on architecture ascribed to Vishwakarma, the divine architect. Vastushastram is supplemented by a commentary named Pramanabodhini by Anant Krishna Bhattar Kavi. This edition contains an exhaustive introduction in English and table of contents both in Sanskrit and English.

The introduction covers the following topics – auspicious time, selection of site, east-west line, the site and its importance of prosperity, planning villages, measurements, planning cities, divisions of sites into square grids and design of vastumandala, construction of houses, construction of forts, construction of places and mansions, porticoes, doorways, arches, the foundation, gopuras or towers, small and big tanks, theater and halls, cowsheds, roads, temples, pedestals and forms of various images.

The table of contents has 87 chapters of which a majority are on architectural topics and a few on iconography and rituals. There are descriptions of various human settlements, along with their functions and nomenclatures, such as Mandaka, Prastara, Bahulika, and Nitimangala. These villages have different sizes, functions and populations. The chapter of measurements (Chapter 8) is also highly informative. The smallest unit is pramana and the biggest one is yojana. It describes buildings as nyayasabha (judicial courts) (16), kosagara (treasury) (18), anahatpura (hall/herms) (19), yuddhashala (weapon hall) (20), pustakalaya (libraries) (20), bhojanasala (dining hall) (22), mrigasala (zoo)(370, vaji-hasti sala (stables for horses and elephants) (38-39), vidyabhavan (schools) (40), rangasala (theater) (49), mantiyuvaraja bhavana (mansions for ministers and princes) (50), dhanyagara (granaries) (65), go-sala (cowsheds) (66), devaprasada (temples) (72). The houses of the rich containing many rooms are also described (Chapter 55 to 70). The architecture of luxurious mansions and summer resorts are included in chapters on savyagrihalakshana (23), vasantagrihalakshana (24), and mahasalalakshana, big and specialized apartments, and kalyanasala, panchabhumividhana, rich multi-storeyed structures.

Vastushastra incorporates allied structures such as wells, tanks, gates for villages, town and cities, arches, and so on. Some allied topics, such as the auspicious time for festivals, the merit accrued by worshiping images, etc., are also explained. There is a description of manushya janma phalam, the goal of human life, too.