Rules of Architecture and Construction as per the Matsya Maha Purana
“The science of architecture owes its origin to eighteen great sages. Their names are Bhrigu, Atri, Vashishtha, Vishvakarma, Maya, Narada, Nagnajita, Vishalaksha, Puranadara, Brahma, Kartikeya, Nandishvara, Shounaka, Garga, Vasudeva, Aniruddha, Shukra and Brihaspati .
- The building of a house should never be begun in the month of Chaitra. A person who does this is sure to contract a disease.
- The month of Vaishakha is a good time to begin. One who does this is bound to own many cows.
- The months of Agrahayana, Magha and Falguna are also auspicious. An individual who begins the task in Agrahayana has full granaires, one who begins it in Magha attains all sorts of riches and one who begins it in Falguna obtains gold and sons.
- Ashada is also a good month to start. Servants and animals are owed by a person who starts the building in Ashada.
- The months of Jyaishtha, Shravana, Bhadra, Ashvina and Pousha are inauspicious. If you start in Jyaishta, you will die soon; you will also die if you begin in Shravana; begin in Bhadra and you will suffer from all manner of losses; your wife will die if you start the task in the month of Ashvina; and all your goods will be stolen if you start in the month of Pousha.
- It is best to begin the building of a house when the nakshatras Ashvini, Rohini, Mula, Uttarabhadrapada, Uttarashada, Uttarafalguni or Mrigashira are in the sky.
- Any day is permissible with the exception of Sunday and Tuesday.
- The ground on which the house is to be build has to be tested. A pit should be dug and a sapling planted. If the sapling thrives and growns into a big tree, the ground has been well-chosen. But if the tree withers away or does not grow into a strong tree, one ought to move somewhere else.
- A diagram is then drawn on the ground, in the form of a square with eighty-one smaller squares inside it. That is the larger square will be subdivided into nine squares along very side. Nine multiplied by nine gives the eighty- one smaller squares. In each of these eight-one smaller squares, a specific god has to be worshipped.
Different types of houses.
- A house that has doors on all four sides is known as a sarvatobhadra. Such a configuration is recommended for palaces or temples.
- A house that does not have a door to the west is known as a nandyavarta;
- a house that does not have a door to the south is known as a varddhamana; a
- house that does not have a door to the east is known as a svastika;
- and a house that does not have a door to the north is known as ruchaka.
- A palace should be one hundred and eight cubits (hand-lengths) in length.
- If a prince, and not a king, is to live in the palace, sixty-six cubits are the recommmended length.
- Other recommended lengths are sixty-four cubits for generals,
- forty-eight cubits for ministers,
- twenty-eight cubits for artisans and
- twelve cubits for messengers and guards.
- Priests and physicians are entitled to twenty-four cubits.
- An ordinary householder should build a house that is thirty-two cubits in length.
- The sole exception is an outcast, he is entitled to only sixteen cubits.
- There should not be any trees in the front of the house.
- But trees have to be planted towards the back.
- The wood with which the house has to be built must be carefully chosen. One must not cut down a tree that birds have built nests on.
- Certain trees must never be chosen. These include those that have been gashed by an elephant or struck by lightning.
- They also include trees that grow near temples or at the of rivers and trees from cremation grounds.
- Neem trees and mango trees must never be used for building houses.
- The height of the tree should be multiplied by its circumference. This product should now be divided by eight. If the remainder that is left is one, the timber can be used in building any part of the house. Such timber is known as dhvaja.
- When the remainder is two the timber is known vrisha and should be used in constructing the western door.
- When the remainder is three the timber is called simha and should be used for the northern door.
- The name is vrishabha if the remainder is four and such wood should be used for the eastern door.
- When the remainder is five the timber is given the name of hasti and should be used for the southern door.
Deities must to be installed in temples.
- Vishnu’s image should have either eight hands or four. If there are eight hands, the arms to the right should hold a shankha (concha-shell), a gada (mace), a shara (arrow) and a padma (lotus). The arms to the left should hold dhanu (bow), a padma, a shankha and a chakra (bladed-discus). If there are four hands, the mace and the lotus should be to the right and the chakra and the conch-shell to the left. Vishnu will be shown standing on the world.
- Garuda, the king of the birds, bears him around Garuda will therefore be shown at Vishnu’s feet, towards the right. Lakshmi’s image must always be to the left of Vishnu’s image and Lakshmi will hold a lotus in her hand.
- The best deities are made out of gold, silver, copper, jewels, stone, wood, from alloys.
- The proportions of the various parts of the body must be exactly right.
- Shiva’s image must have matted hair and he must wear a crescent moon on his forehead. The deities must convey the impression that Shiva is sixteen years old. Shiva must be dressed in tigerskin and must be garlanded with snakes. A peacock feather should adorn on ear. If a spear, a rod or a trident are shown, they must be to the right. And if a skull, a snake or a sword are shown, they must be to the left. When Shiva is show riding a bull, his image has two hands. But when he is shown in a dancing posture, the image has ten hands. If the intention is to show him destroying Tripura, the image must have sixteen hands.
- There is one particular image that deserves special mention. This is known as arddhanarishvara, half-male and half-female. The Shiva part of the image will be to the right and the Parvati part of the image will be to the left. The right hand of the image will hold a skull or a trident and the left hand of the image will hold a lotus or a mirror.
- There is another type of image known as Uma-Maheshvara. In this case, there are two separate images, one of Shiva and the other of Parvati. The deities of various other gods and goddesses are also described.
These are classified in terms of the number of pillars that are used in their construction, and there are twenty-seven main types of pavilions.
(I) A pushpaka pavilion has sixty-four pillars.
(II) A pushpabhadra pavilion has sixty-two pillars.
(III) A suvrata pavilion has sixty pillars.
(IV) An amritanandana pavilion has fifty-eight pillars.
(V) A doushalya pavilion has fifty-six pillars.
(VI) A buddhisamkirna pavilion has fifty-four pillars.
(VII) A gajabhadra pavilion has fifty-two pillars.
(VIII) A jayavaha pavilion has fifty pillars.
(IX) A shrivatsa pavilion has forty-eight pillars.
(X) A vijaya pavilion has forty-six pillars.
(XI) A vastukirti pavilion has forty-four pillars.
(XII) A shrutinjaya pavilion has forty-two pillars.
(XIII) A yajnabhadra pavilion has forty pillars.
(XIV) A vishala pavilion has thirty-eight pillars.
(XV) A sushlishta pavilion has thirty-six pillars.
(XVI) A shatrumardana pavilion has thrity-four pillars.
(XVII) A bhagapancha pavilion has thrity-two pillars.
(XVIII) A nandana pavilion has thirty pillars.
(XIX) A manava pavilion has twenty-eight pillars.
(XX) A manabhadraka pavilion has twenty-six pillars.
(XXI) A sugriva pavilion has twenty-four pillars.
(XXII) A hairta pavilion has twenty-two pillars.
(XXIII) A karnikara pavilion has twenty pillars.
(XXIV) A shatarddhika pavilion has eighteen pillars.
(XXV) A simha pavilion has sixteen pillars.
(XXVI) A shyamabhadra pavilion has fourteen pillars.
(XXVII) A samudra pavilion has twelve pillars. Pavilions should be triangular, semi-circular or rectangular.”
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