Drawing Chanderi’s Architecture

Related Study Program - WS'16
Instructor: Smit Vyas
7 March 2017

The settlement at Chanderi lies southwest of the Betwa River in Madhya Pradesh & dates back more than a thousand years. Its production of world-renowned hand silk has remained a continuing tradition with a large number of families & houses still involved. Even today, the experience of walking around in the settlement – nestled in the hilly terrain sloping downwards from the city fort – is characterized by the sights & sounds of handlooms clanking away. Located at the borders of Malwa & Bundelkhand, near to significant trade routes, Chanderi is a palimpsest of architectural styles ranging from the Pratihara-Gurjar dynasty, Malwa Sultanate, Mughals to the Bundela Rajputs & Maratha. .

The study attempts to introduce students to both these facets of Chanderi – weaver’s houses within the walled settlement & the classical architectural complexes lying outside.

For the former study, the street connecting the Untsaar complex to Badal Mahal was chosen and the overall streetscape was studied by detailed measurement of plan profiles, elevations, street gradient, paving & material finishes as well as observation of activity & interactions supported by it. Four houses along the street were also fully measure drawn. Finally, a site section was cut from the fort wall all the way up to Badal Mahal to study the texture of forms and spaces and the overall disposition of the townscape.

The second part of the study focused on the Parmeshwar Tank precinct. Detailed measure drawing of the Laxman Temple flanking the eastern edge of the tank was done followed by two cenotaphs of Bundela Kings and the Shehzadi Roza. Apart from both the above, students were engaged in sketching and discussions on site to reflect upon form, materiality as well as placeness – a multiplicity of factors that give Chanderi its unique character.