Contents: Preface. Chronological table. I. The Indus Valley civilisation: 1. The altar of fire. 2. The tracing of the temple ground plans. 3. The cave and the mountain. 4. The Nagara temple and its structures. II. Madhya Pradesh, heart of India: 1. Sanchi, the hill of stupas. 2. Khajuraho, the paradise of the Surasundari. 3. Eroticism, between the sacred and the profane. 4. The raja forts: Gwalior, Orchha and Datia. 5. Orchha, the kingdom of Rama. III. Orissa, the realm of the Gods: 1. Udayagiri, the caves of the ascetics. 2. Bhubaneswar, city of the thousand temples. 3. Konarak, Surya's carriage. 4. Various types of shikhara. IV. Gujarat, chiselled masterpieces: 1. Modhera, the abode of the sun. 2. The sacred mountains of the Jain. 3. Jainism, the way of the ascetics. V. The terracotta temples of Bengal. VI. Ladakh, the land of the diamond sceptre: 1. A complex iconographic world. 2. Gonpa, solitary places. 3. Buddhism and its development. VII. Haryana, in the heart of Islamic India: 1. The mosque, the tomb and the fort. 2. The eight cities of Delhi. 3. Fatehpur Sikri, the ideal court. 4. Agra, aesthetic perfection. 5. Islam in India. VIII. Rajasthan, the land of the Rajput: 1. Abu, Rishabdeo and Ranakpur, marble filigrees. 2. Chittorgarh and Udaipur, the courts of the maharana of Mewar. 3. Jodhpur and Bikaner, the forts of Marwar. 4. The solar dynasties of Amber and Jaipur. 5. The haveli of Jaisalmer. 6. The miniatures of Rajasthan. IX. Other sites of Moslem art: 1. Gaur and Pandua in Bengal. 2. Ahmadabad and Junagadh in Gujarat. 3. Mandu in Madhya Pradesh. 4. Lucknow and Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh. 5. The gardens of Kashmir. 6. The Golden Temple at Amritsar, heart of Sikhism. Glossary. Bibliography.
"The history of Indian culture has its epicentre in the north of the country. It is here, in the Ganges plain and neighbouring areas, that the great spiritual movements that gave life to the complex Hindu universe and alternative beliefs of Buddhism and Jainism were developed. It was in northern India that the first sultanates and the great Moslem empire of the Moguls arose and here that the Sikh congregation was created. History has left its mark everywhere in Indian art and this tangible evidence of a cultural past is the most immediate and stimulating way for a people to feel a sense of communal identity. A comparison, therefore, of a Hindu temple to a Moslem mosque dramatically reveals the enormous difference that exists between the Hindu and Islamic worlds although this distinction tends to be softened in the architecture of their great palaces.
"The aim of this guide is to offer the widest possible perspective on northern India's various artistic phenomena through the use of text, pictures, maps, and sections of detailed cultural descriptions. It is hoped that by illustrating not just the buildings but also the metaphysical and symbolic meanings that underlie the works of art, the reader will be helped to understand the deepest essence of this civilisation and be given opportunities to better comprehend man and his aspirations." (jacket)