The book is a study of the fundamental principles of ancient Indian art and architecture, dealing with essentials of Hindu thinking and practice of art like the Hindu view of Godhead, iconography and iconometry, and symbols and symbolism in Hindu art. Referring to major classical Indian literary works shedding light on art and architecture, it undertakes a survey of Indian art and temple architecture from the 3rd century bc through the medieval period, highlighting the directional changes that marked the history of art, specifically sculpture and painting. It elaborately views the various terms and concepts associated with the field of art and iconography like mudras, asanas, pithas, explaining the nature of Buddhist and Jain deities as well as those of Hindu sects like Saivism, Vaisnavism and Saktism. Pointing out the importance of studying Hindu temple architecture in order to fully appreciate Hindu art which was meant for propagation of dharma, it analyses the basic features of the temple architecture and its regional variants.
Tracing the differences in conception and delineation of a Hindu temple, a Muslim mosque and a Christian church, the research focuses particularly on the principles of visualisation of symbols and signs in Hinduism and Christianity. It also reveals how the West has viewed Indian literature and art, exposing the inner contradictions of some European thinkers who while praising literary works of Kalidasa and others condemned the Hindu images.
The work contains more than 200 illustrations, half-tone and line drawings, that make the discussion easy to comprehend for a range of readers -- scholars, students as well as laymen.