Temple Survey Project (N.R.), Bhopal

Significant Projects

The humble beginning of the Temple Survey Project (NR), Bhopal was initiated by the legendary scholar of temple architecture, Shri Krishna Deva who made an intensive survey of temples in central India and studied the Khajuraho group of temples. During his tenure he studied central Indian temples at Bhojpur, Bhilsa, Gyaraspur, Badoh, Pathari, Udaipur, Surwaya, Kadwaha, Amrol and Gwalior districts, datable to the 9th-10th century AD.

In 1969, he brought out a small book on "Temples of North India" published by the National Book Trust, highlighting the salient features of North Indian temples along with detailed illustrations of studied monuments. This small book is consisting of ten chapters dealing with Gupta & Late-Gupta temples(c.400-700CE), early and late Chalukyan temples(c.500-750AD), Pratihara temples etc. Besides these, temples of Khajuraho were classified for the first time and studied in a systematic manner. Consequently, in 1990 two volumes on Khajuraho temples were published by him. "Temples of India" in two volumes is another outstanding work of Shri Krishn Deva.

From 1963 to 1977 the temple Survey Project was headed by many scholars. Shri M. D. Khare surveyed the group of post Gupta temples at Thoban, Guna in MP. As a result of his efforts several beautiful Vaishnava and Saiva sculptures were brought to light ( IAR, 1969-70,72-73). He also wrote on pre-Gupta temples at Besnagar, Nagari, Bairat, Mathura, Sravasti, Kausambi, Nagarjunkonda and Taxila, dating from c. 4th century BC to 3rd century AD( IAR-1969).

The period between 1977 to 1984 was hectic in terms of studies in temples of Pratihara period . Shri R.D. Trivedi spent seven years in the Temple Survey Project (NR) and did intensive survey of temples in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, covering Shivpuri, Vidisha and Morena districts in MP, Jhansi and Lalitpur in UP, and published about Pratihara temples. He surveyed the temples at Amrol in Gwalior, Naresar & Batesar in Morena and Deogarh in Lalitpur(UP). In addition, he studied many more temples belonging to the Pratihara period. According to him the Pratihara temple art and architecture had been developed in three phases. The first phase is datable to c.725-800AD and the temples of Naresar & Batesar group at Morena or temple at Mahua in Shivpuri district, fall in this period.

In the second phase he categorized temples belonging to c.800-850 AD. They include temples at Deogarh especially Santinath temple, Kuraiya Bir in Lalitpur distt., UP, Keldhar in Shivpuri distt. Umri Sun temple at Umri at Tikamgarh , MP Finally, in the third phase temples that are datable to c.850 to 950 AD were studied. Among them the important ones are Chamunda temple at Mahua, Siva temple, Terahi at Shivpuri distt., Chaturmukha Mahadeo temple at Nachna-Kuthara, Panna distt. in hilly area, Siva temple at Pathari, Kutakeshwara temples at distt. Vidisha. Subsiquently, he brought out a remarkable book entitled "Temples of the Pratihara Period in Central India" published by the Archaeological Survey of India in 1990.

From 1984 to 1993 under the directorship of B.L. Nagarch these projects were continued in connection with the study of Central Indian temples datable to 9th-10th century to 12th century AD (IAR, 1984-1993).

Under Dr. P.K. Trivedi surveys were conducted on Parmara art & architecture from 1993-1998 and a very authentic and informative book called "Art Traditions of the Parmaras of Vagad" was produced.

The legacy of Temple Survey Project (NR) was followed under the leadership of Shri K.K. Ramamurthy, Dr. D. Bhengra, Dr. P.K. Mishra, Dr. K.K. Mohammad , Dr. Narayan Vyas, Dr V. Vanketsayya. These scholars were deeply involved in their respective projects from 1998 to 2009. K. K. Ramamurthy did premilinary survey of temples in Bhuvaneswara and studied temples of Parasurameshara, Vetal Deul, Mukteswara and Raja-Rani temple (IAR 1998-99). Beside, he also collected data on brick /terracotta temples at Pawaya, Khajuraho, Karsua, Dihhwara and Bhilsa in MP( IAR 1999-2000,2000-01) He also studied the temples at Rajim, Seorinarayana, Sirpur, Nawagaon, Palari, Dhobini, Boramdeo in Chhatttisgarh. Dr. P.K. Mishra studied the temples of Mithila in Bihar region and Dr. Narayan Vyas compiled three excavation reports on Besnagar, Sanchi and Satdhara in Hindi. From 2009-2013 Dr. K. Lourdusamy along with his technical team has studied the Kachchapaghata temples in Asoknagar, Shivpuri, Vidisha, Bhind and Morena districts. They also studied the temples of Kadwaha and Thoban in Ashoknagar distt., the temples of Surwaya, Terahi, Balarpur in Shivpuri district. These temples were documented with latest digital technologies. In continuation to the previous project on the Kachchhaghata temples of Vidisha additional temples of Bhind and Morena districts have been studied in 2011-12. In 2012-13 the architectural survey of the temples in Eastern Vidarbha region, Maharashtra was conducted in the field season of 2012-13. Temples at Ramtek in Nagpur district, temples at Chandrapur district and temples at Garchiroli district were studied. During the field season 2013-14, an architectural survey of temples in Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh was carried out by Dr. S.S. Gupta. Various temples dating from the 6th century to 18th-19th century AD were documented and studied. The temples include Siva temple Pali, Durga temple Tkitoria, Siva temple Tinsua, Siva temple Mandi Bamora and temple at Pithoria are worth mentioning. From 2014-2016 detailed documentation of the Udayeshwara temple, Pridisha, Madhya Pradesh was carried out under Shri A.K. Pandey and Ku. Rekha Radhavallabhi. The field in the season the religious architecture of singroli district. has been studied under Dr. Madhulika Samanta.