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Engineering Skills and Construction

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Engineering Skills and Construction - Lesson Summary

The Qutub Minar was built in an era when other than manual labour, very few engineering tools were available for construction. The first storey of Qutub Minar was constructed in 1199 by India’s first Muslim ruler Qutubuddin Aibak, while the rest were built by Iltutmish in 1229.

Between the 8 th and the 18 th centuries, kings and their officers usually built two kinds of structures: the first were forts, palaces and tombs, and the second were structures meant for public use. Several rooms, doors and windows were built in mosques, tombs, temples and buildings attached to large stepped-wells or baolis. This was done by using the “trabeate” or “corbelled” style of architecture.

In the corbelled technique, roofs, doors and windows are made by placing a horizontal beam across two vertical columns. This technique is also used to construct an arch. The structure above the ground is called a superstructure.

The weight of the superstructure above the doors and windows were supported by arches. This style of architecture is called arcuate. From the beginning of the 12th century, the arcuate style of architecture came into being, and limestone cement was used in construction.

Two stylistic developments took place in the twelfth century, i.e. the arcuate style of architecture and the usage of limestone cement. An example of this is the Kandariya Mahadev temple of Khajuraho built by King Dhangadeva of the Chandela dynasty in 999 for Lord Shiva. The Rajarajeshvara temple at Thanjavur, one of tallest shikharas, or pinnacles, has a stone weighing 90 tonnes at the top of the shikhara.

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