Short COurse


A beginner's course

There is evidence that an urban culture flourished in the Indus valley more than five thousand years ago in the indian sub-continent.

Buddhist, Hindu and Jain rock-cut architecture was pioneered by the Mauryas in the 4th century B.C. The Gupta empire in the 6th century saw the rise of temple building in the North and South of india. From then on, various regions including other South and South East Asian countries developed their own variations of temple architecture based on Indian prototypes.

Today, one sees these architectural traditions maintained in South Asia, the west as well as in other parts of the world.
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SEPT 16 - DEC 9 2021

THURSDAYS: 7.30 PM - 9.00 PM


The course follows the introductory sessions successfully concluded in June - July this year, although attendance of that course is not a prerequiste for this forthcoming lecture series.

The course will consist of 12 weekly lectures to be held on Thursday evenings starting at 7-30pm. The lectures will be for one hour followed by time for discussion.

The course will be extensively illustrated with slides (many of which kindly loaned by Padmashree Dr. John Marr who established the course). Handouts and reading lists will be provided.
Optional essay work is also available to those intersted.
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Indus Seals

The indus civilization had been invisible until it was accidentally discovered in the 1920s by a team of British and Indian archaeologists. Two cities,  Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa stand out among several settlements in the valley. Here the so-called great bath in Mohenjo-Daro and a drainage and sanitation system which preceded those of the Roman Empire by nearly two millenia was discovered.

The sophistication of the Indus valley culture has been exemplified by the jewellery, weights, inscribed seals that were excavated. Many interesting questions remain not fully answered. What was the religion that was practised? What is the nature of the undeciphered script? How and why did such a monumental civilization decline after about 1900 B.C.?  

Shore Temples of Mahabalipuram

The temples on the sea shore at Mahabalipuram proclaim to the world the excellence of Pallava architecture. The site, also known as Mamallapuram, showcases the best of Tamil Art and Architecture.

We will study in some detail a variety of the monumental legacy: cave temples, chariots in stone, open air bas-reliefs and structural temples. 
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Hoysala Sculptures

Hoysala sculptures show an incredible degree of ornateness. Figures covered in jewellery and elaborate dresses. The double or triple shrine structure are situated on a stellate platform. The intricate carvings in the characterestic grey-green steatite exteriors makes identification of the style easy.

Here a sculpture depicting the killing of the buffalo demon Mahisha by Durga exemplifies Hoysala art.
Lesson series

BONUS: Elephanta

An early rock-cut hindu cave is located in an island off Mumbai. A product of the Kalachuri Dynasty of the sixth century A.D. Three giant heads of Siva emerge from a recess set against the North facing wall, and the mammoth structure rises 5.5m from a base 1m high. The central serene face depicting the maha yogi sat totally absorbed in meditation. The right face displays a robust deportment and, in contrast, the left face adopts a gentle feminine demeanour.
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Course Details

Is this course for me?

  • This course is ideal for anyone wanting an introduction to the richness of Indian Architecture. No prior knowledge is required.  
  • This course will be presented in English.

Times and Dates

This course will take place via ZOOM on Thursday evenings:

Wk. 1: 16 Sept 2021 - 19:30 (UK Time)
Wk. 2: 23 Sept 2021 - 19:30 (UK Time)
Wk. 3: 30 Sept 2021 - 19:30 (UK Time)
Wk. 4: 7 Oct 2021 - 19:30 (UK Time)
Wk. 5: 14 Oct 2021 - 19:30 (UK Time)
Wk. 6: 21 Oct 2021 - 19:30 (UK Time)
Wk. 7: 4 Nov 2021 - 19:30 (UK Time)
Wk. 8: 11 Nov 2021 - 19:30 (UK Time)
Wk. 9: 18 Nov 2021 - 19:30 (UK Time)
Wk. 10: 25 Nov 2021 - 19:30 (UK Time)
Wk. 11: 2 Dec 2021 - 19:30 (UK Time)
Wk. 12: 9 Dec 2021 - 19:30 (UK Time)

Sign up Now

Places are limited to 12 participants, so please sign up now to secure your place
Meet the instructor

Dr. Kandiah Sivakumar MBBS, FRCPsych, MA (SOAS), PhD (University of Thanjavur)

Dr. Kandiah Sivakumar has had a lifelong interest in the Art and Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent and has visited many sites that show the richness Indian Art and Architecture.

Siva qualified as a medical practitioner in Sri Lanka and emigrated to the UK in 1977. He worked as a Consultant Psychiatrist for over 30 years and served as an Associate Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Pari passu
he continued his interest in the Art 
and Archaeology of the Indian Sub-continent under the guidance of Padmashree Dr. John and Mrs. Wendy Marr. He obtained the Certificate in Art and Archaeology at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London and Completed an MA in the History of Art and Archaeology (South and South East Asia) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.

later became a visiting Research Associate at the Department of Sculpture, Tamil University of Thanjavur, India and completed a PhD there. His Thesis was on The Architecture and Iconography of Tiruvarur Tyagrajaswamy Temple Gopuras and he has a series of Publications related to his interests.

He has been keenly involved in Temple restorations including Gopuras in the North of Sri Lanka. In the UK he has a keen interest in and has been a supporter of Cultural events such as Bharatanatyam and Karnatic music recitals and has been a compere for many such programmes. Siva is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK).
Patrick Jones - Course author