That the foundations of Indian culture were deeply embeddedin Dravidian culture is now an incontrovertible fact. Dravidianculture is one of the most ancient cultures of the world. Thosecultures, slightly contemporaneous to one another, slowly startedfading out. However, the primordial Dravidian culture continues tothrive without losing its quintessence despite the apparent changesin systems of dress and address.Dravidian University was established in 1997 to mirror the realand rich picture of Dravidian culture not only in its linguistic, literary,cultural and philosophical facets but in science and technologicalangles also.
The spirit of integration is the guiding force behind the creationof the University. The linguistic and cultural integration, not at theregional but at the national level is the cherished objective of theUniversity.
The Government of Andhra Pradesh started DravidianUniversity, with the co-operation of the sister States, to researchand reflect on the inherent oneness of the cultures of the four Stateswhose languages number up to 27. Its endeavour is to promoteunity and amity in the family of several languages. The mainobjectives of Dravidian University are to augment the common wealand social well being of the communities of marginal languagesand to build bridges among the Southern States. While working oneach language separately in varied areas, it aims at a synthesis anda discovery of the common heritage through Comparative Studies.
Prasaranga (Publications wing) and Anusyjana (TranslationBureau) are the two most significant wings of the University from outof its several on going progressive activities.
Dravidian University’s Prasaranga has already brought out amasterly work, Hoysala Art by Dr. M.S. Krishna Murthy. Amongsuch scholarly works on Temple Series, this authentic book,Conservation of the Ancient Temples in India with Special Referenceto Andhra Pradesh by Dr. K. Lakshmana Murty is the second one.
Prasaranga believes in print. Print preserves. Publication anddistribution help augmentation of all values be they culture, history,tradition, literature or language. It is good to know the past, theglorious past. It is better to preserve it. The best is to propagate it.
Conservation is the first step of preservation. Since all templesare houses of prayers — prayers full of man’s aspiration for realizationof truth and beauty, we should see that the ancient temples continueto stand erect in solidarity. This exactly is the call given by Dr.Lakshmana Murty in whom we have a rare combination of a CivilEngineer and an Archaeologist. He is professionally trained to be sounique. He made the best use of the UNESCO fellowship awardedand the Post-Graduate training given to him at International Centrefor Conservation, Rome. The long and fruitful years he spent withA.P. State Archaeology Department as conservation specialist arereflected in this book.
‘Transplantation’, ‘climate’ botanical, biological ‘deterioration’debris, ‘erosion’, ‘seepage’, ‘drainage’, ‘re-erection’ ‘submergencethese are some of the problems which a good conservationist likeDr. Lakshmana Murthy faces. Dr. Murthy looks like a plastic surgeonfor temples! The long list of 260 temples he has given in the appendixis a mark of his care and concern for them.
Prasaranga is happy and proud in issuing this valuable volumeof a writer, archaeologist and a rational thinker who holds free, frankand fearless ideas such as 1) commending the British for introducingdemocratic institutions and developing democratic spirit, 2) provingthat the founders of Vijayanagara Empire were not of Telugu originand 3) stating that Partition would have taken place even withoutJinnah.
I congratulate and thank Dr. Murthy for giving us anopportunity to broadcast his timely call.
As Hinduism is a living faith in India there are temples all over theland including Andhra Pradesh. While a good number of templesthat have come up in A.P. State during the last 50 to 100 years aregenerally built with present day building materials like cement, steeletc., there are some ancient temples dating back to 7'' cent. A.D builtof stone with out any binding material. Whether these ancienttemples are in the custody of the state Endowments Department ornot, those identified as Ancient Temples are declared as protectedMonuments. There are about 260 ancient temples and temple re-mains declared as protected Monuments in Andhra Pradesh.
Broadly speaking, the preservation work undertaken in ancientstructures declared as protected monuments can be termed as Conservation.Conservation of protected ancient temples is being doneby Central or State Archaeology Departments or under their guidance, according to the principles of Conservation that apply to allprotected monuments. So, to comprehend the Conservation workbeing done in ancient temples, it is necessary to have a broad ideawith regard to what is an ancient Monument and what is Conservation. The 1* part of the study attempts to outline the Ancient Monumentand its relevance to the present day world, and also about Conservation and its application to Indian monuments.
To evaluate or assess the Conservation work being done in ancient temples, it becomes imperative to know about the Indian templeas a structure, which means how it was built. Though the spirit behind a 7th cent AD Chalukyan temple and a 16'' cent AD Vijayanagartemple is the same, the structural form is not same. While the 7''cent temple is a simple structure with a Cella and Mandapa, 16'' centtemple is a widely enlarged temple complex. So, it is essential to seeThrough the development of the temple form and also its construction technique.
As Conservation work in ancient temples is directly related to its deterioration, it is also necessary to have an idea of the various causes contributing to the deterioration of the temple structure. The second part covers all these things. To have an idea of theancient temples in Andhra Pradesh, the architecture of a few ancienttemples is outlined and the Transplantation work of temples undertaken in the submergence area of Srisailam Hydel Project is also outlined in the end.