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Ratnastyle Temples with an Ambulatory - Selected temple concepts in Bengal and the Kathmandu Valley

This study considers stone and brick temples related to the north Indian Shikhara with an ambulatory structure.The focus is on those temple types showing an amalgamation with local temple concepts and stylistic features in Bengal and in Nepal. In Bengal, the focus is on sanctuaries belonging to the group of ratna-style temples built between the16th and 19th centuries CE. Ratna-style temples have to be seen in a wider context as a sub-group of the typical temple with a curvilinear roof of Bengal. In the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, the investigation focuses on Shikhara temples with an ambulatory gallery built from the 17th century CE onwards and on domed temples showing Islamic influence built since 1800 CE. The objective of this study is to explain the different typological approaches in both regions with the aim of discovering local architectural solutions for the same function. History and religious movements in both areas are primarily responsible for different architectural developments, but environmental factors,such as the availability of building material and the skills related to them, are also important. Above all, the exchange of ideas with areas of activity in north India is a central issue when looking at individual developments in Bengal and the Kathmandu Valley. To a lesser extent there are some traces of direct stimulation between these two regions.

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