History Optional Paper-1 Solution – 1999: Q.6
Q. 6 Critically evaluate the contribution of Rashtrakutas to art and culture.
Rashtrakuta’s contribution to Religion
Rashtrakuta kings gave patronage to Brahmanism which is proved by the following facts:
- Worship of Shiva and Vishnu was popularized by them. Vaishnavism and Shaivism got popularity.
- They adopted Garura and Shiva in yogic posture as royal seal.
- They were great performers of vedic sacrifices. One important example being Dantidurga performing Hiranyagarbha at Ujjain.
- Amoghvarsha was a devout worshipper of Mahalakshmi.
They made contributions to development of Jainism also. Amoghvarsha later became a follower of Syadavada and he showed intense faith in Jainism. He constructed a Jaina Vihara Banvasi.
Rashtrakuta’s contribution to Literature
The Rashtrakutas widely patronized the Sanskrit literature:
- There were many scholars in the Rashtrakuta court. Trivikrama wrote Nalachampu and the Kavirahasya was composed by Halayudha during the reign of Krishna III.
- Sakatayana wrote the grammar work called Amogavritti.
- A large number of inscriptions in Sanskrit have been found.
The Jain literature flourished under the patronage of the Rashtrakutas:
- Amogavarsha I, who was a Jain, patronized many Jain scholars. His teacher Jinasena composed Parsvabhudaya, a biography of Parsva in verses.
- Another scholar Gunabhadra wrote the Adipurana, the life stories of various Jain saints.
- The great mathematician of this period, Mahaviracharya (a Jain Monk) was the author of Ganitasaram.
The Kannada literature saw its beginning during the period of the Rashtrakutas:
- Amogavarsha’s Kavirajamarga was the first poetic work in Kannada language.
- Pampa, Pamma and Ranna were three famous scholars of Kannada language during Rashtrakutas.
- Pampa was the greatest of the Kannada poets. His famous work was Vikramasenavijaya.
- Ponna was a Kannada poet and he wrote Santipurana.
Rashtrakuta’s contribution to Art and Architecture
The art and architecture of the Rashtrakutas were found at Ellora and Elephanta. They did not develop any new school of art but only improved already present present school of architecture.
A large number of Hindu cave temples were constructed at Ellora by the Rashtrakutas. They were beautiful examples of rock cut temples- the most remarkable temple being the Kailasha temple constructed during the reign of Krishna I.
The important features of Kailasha temple are:
- The Kailasha temple is carved out of a single massive block of rock. The general characteristics of the Kailasa temple are more Dravidian.
- It consists of four parts – the main shrine, the entrance gateway, an intermediate shrine for Nandi and mandapa surrounding the courtyard.
- The temple stands on a high lofty plinth. The central face of the plinth has imposing figures of elephants and lions giving the impression that the entire structure rests on their back.
- It has a three-tiered sikhara or tower resembling the sikhara of the Mamallapuram rathas. In the interior of the temple there is a pillared hall which has sixteen square pillars.
- The temple is an architectural marvel with it beautiful sculptures. The sculpture of the Goddess Durga is shown as slaying the Buffalo demon. In another sculpture Ravana was making attempts to lift Mount Kailasa, the abode of Siva. The scenes of Ramayana were also depicted on the walls.
Other temples constructed by Rashtrakutas at Ellora were:
- Ravan ki Khai
- Neelkanth temple
- Devdara temple
- Lambeshwar temple
- Dasavatara temple
Elephanta (originally called Sripuri) is an island near Bombay. It was The Portuguese after seeing the large figure of an elephant named it Elephanta.
The sculptural art of the Rashtrakutas reached its zenith in this place. The important feautures of Ellora art:
- There is a close similarity between the sculptures at Ellora and those in Elephanta. They might have been carved by the same craftsmen.
- At the entrance to the sanctum there are huge figures of dwara-palakas. In the walls of the prakara around the sanctum there are niches containing the images of Shiva in various forms – Nataraja, Gangadhara, Ardhanareesvara and Somaskanda.
- The most imposing figure of this temple is Trimurthi. The sculpture is six metre high. It is said to represent the three aspects of Shiva as Creator, Preserver and Destroyer.
Krishna III constructed two temples at Rameshwara:
- Krishneshwar temple
- Gan Markand temple
- Ditya temple