TOWN PLANNING PRINCIPLES IN ANCIENT INDIA

If you want know about Egyptian architecture or Roman architecture or Indus valley civilization or Hindu temple architecture please click the link above.


  • The term is used to indicate the arrangement of various components in such a way that the town as such attains significance of a living organism. The town planning was done in scientific footing even in the ancient times.

Planning of a town is dependent on the various factors:

  • Soil Type
  • Climatic Conditions
  • Topography
  • Wind Orientation
  • Orientation to Take Advantage of Sun and Wind
  • The towns were highly influenced by the Site conditions.
  • The towns were generally located along the bank of the water body.
  • A flowing stream was preferred for Sanitary requirements.
  • The towns on the river edge were OBLONG shape; to take maximum advantage of the river.
  • Main Street (King/ Raja Marg) were aligned East-West to get roads purified by the Sun’s rays; while the shorter roads were along North – South.
  • Roads around the village called Mangal Vithi were reserved for priests.

A typical Indian town consisted of the following:

  • Market
  • Street
  • Public Buildings
  • Residences
  • Temples
  • Royal Palace
  • Recreational Centers
  • Tank
  • City Fort

1) Classification Of Ancient Town Planning

(BASIS – Shape And Size Of the TOWN)

There are quiet a number of books written by ancient authors about town planning in India. Also known as ‘VASTU SHASHTRA’ (TOWN PLANNING SCIENCE)

  1. Dandaka
  2. Sarvathobadra
  3. Nandyavarta
  4. Padmaka
  5. Swastika
  6. Prastara
  7. Karmuka
  8. Chaturmukha
i) Dandaka
DANDAKA
  • Dandaka, Literally means a village that resemble, a staff. Its streets are straight and cross each other at right angles at the center, running west to east, and south to north.
  • This type of town plan provides for two main entrance gates and is generally adopted for the formation of SMALL TOWNS AND VILLAGES.
  • Village is Rectangular / Square with street width of street varies from 1-5 danda.
  • Village office located in the east.
  • Female deity (Gramadevata) will generally be located outside the village, whereas Male deities in the northern portion. 
ii) Sarvathobadra
SARVATHOBADRA
  • This type is applicable to larger villages and towns, which have to be constructed on oblong or square sites.
  • The whole town should fully be occupied with HOUSES of various descriptions that should be inhabited by all classes of people .
  • Temple dominates the village

iii) Nandyavarta

NANDYAVARTA
  • Mainly used for construction of TOWNS and not villages.
  • Adopted for sites which are either circular or square in shape with 3000-4000 houses.
  • The streets run parallel to the central adjoining streets with the temple of the presiding deity in the center of the town.
  • Temple of the presiding deity at the center of the town.
  • This name is derived from a flower , the form of which is followed in this layout.

iv) Padmaka (Lotus Petals)

PADMAKA
  • This type of plan was practiced for building of the TOWNS with fortress all around.
  • Pattern of the PLAN resembles petals of lotus radiating outwards from the center.
  • The city used to be an island surrounded by water.
  • No scope for expansion.

v) Swastika

SWASTIKA
  • This type of plan contemplates some diagonal streets dividing the site into certain triangular plots.
  • The site may be of any shape.
  • The town is surrounded by a rampart wall, with a MOAT at its foot.
  • Two main streets cross each other at the center running north to south and west to east.
  • Temple is at the centre.
  • Jain temple is in south west cell.

vi) Prastara

PRASTARA
  • The characteristic feature of this plan is that the site may be either square or rectangular but not triangular or circular.
  • The sites are set apart or the very rich, rich, middle class and poor.
  • The size of the site increases according to the capacity of each to purchase or build upon.
  • The main roads are much wider when compared to those of other patterns.
  • The town may or may not be surrounded by a fort.

vii) Karmuka

KARMUKHA
  • This plan is suitable for the place where the site of the town is in the form of a bow or semi circular or parabolic and mostly applied for towns located at sea shores or river banks.
  • The main streets of the town run from north to south or east to west and the cross streets run at right angles to them. This divides the whole area into BLOCKS.
  • Female deity (the presiding deity) is installed in the temple built in any convenient place.

viii) Chaturmukha

CAHTURMUKHA
  • This is applicable to all types of towns (from the largest town to the smallest village).
  • The site may be either square or rectangular having four faces.
  • The town is laid out east to west lengthwise with four main streets.
  • The temple of the presiding deity is always at the center

TOWN PLANNING PRINCIPLES IN ANCIENT INDIA

Related video

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!