Vastu Shastra is one of the most detailed and efficient scriptures of ancient India that speaks of the science of architectural planning, design and constructions. The Vastu Shastra speaks about almost all the aspects of city planning ranging from the selection of the plot/land to building of houses and making the optimum use of the available land to enhance community life, commercial activities, economic development and environment management.
In the forthcoming lines, we will look into the various recommendations of Vastu Shastra pertaining to town planning:
Vastu Shastra particularly emphasises on the need for selection of the most suitable type of land or site for construction of cities or villages. It provides for majorly three types of lands that can be considered for the same.
According to the architectural treatise Manasara, the site for town planning must be chosen:
The site after being selected would be ploughed on an auspicious day. This ritual is called the Bhumi Pujan. Following this, as per the Gnomon, the Vastu Purusha Mandala would be delineated with the site concerned.
In Vastu Shastra, there are a total of 32 ways to fixate the Vastu Purusha Mandala. The simplest is designed with a square or pada, while the longest in this category has 1024 Padas. The size and shape of the Vastu-purusha-mandala are dictated by the requirements of the building structures. Some of the popular fixations of the Vastu-purusha-mandalas are Sakala, Pecaka, Pitha, Mahapitha, and so on. The final and the 32nd type of Vastu Purusha Mandala delineation is called the Indrakanta.
The ancient Indian science of architecture recommends the following five shapes for an ideally built, efficient town-plan:
The treatise on town planning, the Silpasastra, in accordance with the principles of Vastu Shastra lists out four distinct types of habitation settlements within forts and walled cities:
Further, it states that a wall, six dandas (180cms approx.) high and twelve dandas wide, should be built around the settlement. Beyond this wall, three moats of 14 feet, 12 feet, and 10 feet wide respectively should be built four arm-lengths apart.
Also, the three-fourths of the breadth should be the depth. The town should be divided by three east-west routes and three north-south roads. The main roads should be eight dandas broad, while secondary roads should be four dandas wide.
Based on the shapes of the town prescribed by the Vastu Shastra, there can be eight distinct types of towns built. They are as follows:
These are the major recommendations pertaining to architectural planning, design and construction available in the ancient Indian scriptures and treatises. When these principles are well-followed, it is guaranteed that the quality of life, health, prosperity, safety and happiness of all individuals residing in the concerned area will definitely be enhanced multiple folds.