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Types of stone architecture
There are two types of stone architecture:
Rock cut. Rock-cut architecture is made of carving in natural stone. Usually cut into the sides of the rock edge, cutting constructions are done by digging stone until the desired shapes are achieved.
Stone-built. The focus of this guidebook, the stone-built architecture, on the other hand, means that you assemble cut stone pieces to form a whole.
Buddhism causes the ball to roll
The first stone architecture in India was stone cut and executed by Buddhist monks; before these structures all architecture had been made of wood. The most impressive examples were stone-carved religious shrines, excavated directly from the basalt mountains, located on the western edge of the Deccan plateau, the elevated, v-shaped land mass of the largest part of the Indian Peninsula. The caves at Ajanta - like those in nearby Bedsa, Bhaja, Karla, Kondane, Nashik and Pitalkhora - were part of this first excavation wave.
Inspiration for India's stone architecture
Early Buddhist architecture was probably indirectly inspired by the Egyptians. Egypt was probably the first civilization in the world to build stone architecture; They started with stone-built pyramids in the 27th century BC. (Djosers Step Pyramid in Saqqara) and continued with stone-cut tombs in the 17th century formerly (King's Valley in Luxor).
At the same time, similar stone-built pyramids, called ziggurates, were not built too far in Mesopotamia (contemporary Iran and Iraq). The earliest probably comes from the late part of the Sumerian early dynasty period (2900-2350 BC). The Ziggurat pyramid design, however, was never transformed from stepped to even edged, as was the case in Egypt.
Egyptian and Mesopotamian forms and building practices were borrowed by the Persians, who embraced rock-cut architecture. In fact, Darius royal tombs (522 BC to 486 BC) and the rest of the ancient Persian (Achaemenid) empire were cut off; They are located just outside the old city of Persepolis in today's Iran. India's earliest stone architects most likely began to draw Persian precedents, built rock-cut architecture on the 3rd 2nd floor. These architects custom Persian forms - infuse them with local design preferences from their existing wood-based architecture and introduce brand new features to suit their unique religious practices - to create stone caves with a whole new aesthetic.
Why were the Buddhists the first to build in stone?
It seems that the Buddhists just happened to have the support of rulers and rich merchants during the critical period when Persian stone carvings were built on the subcontinent. Bear in mind that even though the Buddhist faith was founded in India during the 6th century BC, it did not receive widespread adoption until it received imperial sponsorship from the powerful Mauryan emperor Ashoka who converted to Buddhism and ruled most of the Indian subcontinent from 269 -232 BC Faith gained subsequent momentum as a rising business school was attracted to Buddhism.