A panorama of Buddhist heritage

Over the course of its 2,500-year history, Buddhism has found expression in countless architectural forms, from the great monastic complexes of ancient India to the fortified dzongs of Bhutan, the rock-carved temple grottos of China, the wooden shrines of Japan, and the colourfulwats of Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand.

Architecture of the Buddhist World, a projected six-volume series by the noted architect and scholar Vikram Lall, represents a new multidisciplinary approach to this fascinating subject, showing how Buddhist thought and rituals have interacted with local traditions across the Asian continent to produce masterpieces of religious architecture.

Lall is an award-winning architect, educator, author, and patron of the arts. He has more than 25 years of experience in architectural practice and consultancy.

The first volume in the series, ‘The Golden Lands’, is devoted to Southeast Asia, home to many of the most spectacular Buddhist monuments. Following a general introduction to the early history of Buddhism and its most characteristic architectural forms (the stupa, the temple, and the monastery), Lall examines the Buddhist architecture of Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos. For each country, he provides both a historical overview and case studies of noteworthy structures. Lall’s concise and accessible text is illustrated throughout with new colour photography, as well as
3-D architectural models that make even the most complex structures easily comprehensible.

The monuments that Lall considers in ‘The Golden Lands’ range from the modest Bupaya stupa, constructed in Bagan, Myanmar, in the third century CE, to the vast
complex of Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist monument in Central Java. Lall’s
achievement is to place them all within a single panorama of history, religion, and
artistic innovation.

Lall is also a teacher and scholar, he has lectured on architectural history and theory at institutions worldwide. The present series represents the summation of his 25 years of intensive research into Buddhist architecture.

The exhibition, The Golden Lands is currently on at India International Centre till June 19, from 11 am to 7 pm.

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