Surprisingly, though being thousands of miles apart, Indian and and an equally ancient culture, Mayan, artisans and architects, employed similar analogous and Design Doctrines and Masonry Methods Machu Picchu high in the rugged Andes Mountains of Peru, South America, some archeologists measured with tape, compass and a lay-out story pole, two ancient Incan structures – a temple and a residence.
They has confirmed that the layout of these structures, locations for doors, windows, proportions of width to length, roof styles, degree of slopes for roofs, column sizes, wall thicknesses, etc., all conform completely to the principles and guidelines as prescribed in the Vastu Shastras of India. Residential layouts are identical to those found in Mohenjodaro. The temple layouts are identical to those that he is building today and that can be found all over India.
These startling discoveries came during a May 1998, visit of a team of architects and archeologists to the region. Like boys on holiday,” they described their exciting trek of discovery which began 11,000 feet high in central Peru at the famed Incan site of Machu Picchu which remained hidden until 1911.
They opine that Mayan, the creator of Indian architecture, originated from the Mayan people of Central America. In Indian history, Mayan appears several times, most significantly as the author of Mayamatam, “Concept of Mayan” which is a Vastu Shastra, a text on art, architecture and town planning. The traditional date for this work is (8,000 BC). Mayan appears in the Ramayana (2000 BC) and again in the Mahabharata (1400 BC)-in the latter he designs a magnificent palace for the Pandava brothers. Mayan is also mentioned in Silappathikaram, an ancient Tamil scripture, and is author of Surya Siddhanta, one of the most ancient Hindu treatises on astronomy.
The fundamental principle of Mayan’s architecture and town planning is the “module.” Buildings and towns are to be laid out according to certain multiples of a standard unit. Floor plans, door locations and sizes, wall heights and roofs, all are determined by the modular plan. More specifically, Mayan advocated the use of an eight-by-eight square, for a total of 64 units, which is known as the Vastu Purusha Mandala. The on-site inspection was to determine if the Incan and Mayan structures did follow a modular plan and reflect the Vastu Purusha Mandala. The group also intends to examine the stone working technology-his particular field of expertise.
The moment the team approached the ancient Incan residential building at Machu Picchu, an expert on Vaasthu pointed to the wall – That is a thickness of one kishku hasta-33 inches, a standard measure in South India first promulgated by Mayan.
On closer inspection, it was discovered each was indeed built on a module-based plan following the system of Mayan’s eight-by-eight squares. The module method was followed within small fractions of an inch. The buildings were oriented toward certain points of the compass, also a principle of Mayan, rather than randomly placed. The lengths of buildings were never more than twice their width, as Mayan stipulated.
From Machu Picchu the three adventurers traveled to Saqsayhuman, an Incan site dated from 400 bce to 1400 ce. Here are the famous stone walls made of rocks weighing up to 160 tons and fitted together so expertly that a knife blade cannot be put in any joint.
“Nobody knows how these stones were put in place,” when they first arrived on the site. Our team, politely differed, and pointed out the insets chiseled into the base of many stones, as well as small knobs left on their faces. “These are for the use of levers, the exact same system we continue to use in India to move large stones. Thirty to forty men can move these very large rocks with this method,” he explained to the guide’s astonishment.
They could see other details of the stone working were identical to what is practiced in India, such as the method of quarrying stones by splitting off slabs. So too was the jointing and fitting of stones, the use of lime mortar, leveling with a plumb line and triangle, and the corbeling for the roofs.
Corbeling is the method by which stones are drawn in layer by layer until they meet or nearly meet to allow a roof slab to be placed on top. The similarity of this technology to that used in India is considered to to be very significant. The use of the horizontal lintel and the absence of the arch are additional noteworthy points of correspondence between the two traditions.
Land of the Mayans
At sunset on the equinox, a shadow is cast by the steps of the Pyramid of the Castle upon the side of the staircase to the top. The shadow creates the image of a serpent’s body which joins a stone carving of a serpent’s head at the bottom of the stair case. It is a stunning demonstration of Mayan astronomical and architectural precision.
Standard academia archeologists consider this as bordering on superstition and refuse to even talk to anyone partial to Mayan mysticism. A recent study has shown that that the Mayan pyramids were actually castles for the wealthy and that what were once thought to be monuments to the Gods were in fact tributes to the dynasties of various kings. Not likely.
Native Mayan teachers such as Hunbatz Men, whom the team met while in the Yucatan, are taking advantage of the interest to spark a revival of the original Mayan religion among the Mayans themselves. Since their brutal conquest and forced conversion to Catholicism by the Spaniards in the 16th century, Mayans have lived an oppressed and impoverished existence.
The team again unsheathed their tape measures and closely examined the Pyramid of the Castle It too conformed to the Vastu Vedic principles of Mayan. The temple structure at the top was exactly 1/4th of the base. And the stepped pyramid design derived from a three-dimensional extension of the basic eight- by-eight grid system. The temple room at the top was also modular in design, with the wall thickness determining the size of doorways, location of columns, thickness of columns and the width and length of the structure.
Most interesting was the name of this structure-chilambalam, meaning a sacred space. It is presumed that the Mayans worshiped the very concept of space, specifically a space made according to the modular system. This same idea is found in the sacred room in the center of the Chidambaram Siva Temple in South India, where space or akasha is worshiped- there is no idol. It is like chilambalam, means “hall of consciousness.” The concept of sacred space is at the center of the mystical shilpi tradition of India.
The richly decorated Mayan buildings provid a feast for a sculptor’s eye. There is a very common feature called a “mask” by the archeologists, but known to the Mayans as “Big Nose.” A nearly identical face is a common feature of Indian iconography, seen, for example, at the top of the arch placed behind a deity. In India it is called – `Maha Nyasa’-Big Nose!” Several other details of the sculptures were similar or identical to India, such as the earrings, ear plugs, teeth, head dresses, even buckles around the waist. There are bas reliefs of priests sitting in lotus posture meditating. The group thenn went to Uxmal, where they observed the snake and “bindu” designs on the wall faces. There are thousands of pyramids, all laid out to conform to a grid pattern and oriented in astronomically significant directions.
As in Indian buildings, Mayans too have been using lime mortar for all of their stone and brick buildings. This can been seen in the monumental creations in Mahaba-lipuram and also in the stone temples of Souhern India.The outer surfaces were plastered, embellishments worked out in lime mortar, then painted. All the structures had a plaster coating painted with many colors.
What is the Connection?
The group, after deep thought reached the conclusion that the divine architect of Indian tradition, came from Central America. Ancient Tamil literature speaks of lands to the south of India 30,000 years ago. According to scientists 160 million years ago India did lie physically close to Africa, South and Central America, but has since moved away as a result of continental drift. At that date, it would have been dinosaurs and not Mayans who wandered from the America to India, but perhaps the time frame for the continental drift is not correct. Architecture aside, there are significant similarities too.
There are other explanations. The simplest is boats. In 1970 the Norwegian Thor Hyerdal sailed a reed boat from Africa to the Americas in 57 days using no modern equipment. The boat, Ra II, was built for him by the Aymaro Indians, of Lake Titicaca, Peru, neighbors of the ancient Incans. The double-hulled catamarans of India are also capable of long sea voyages. Historians discount contact between ancient people, but many cultures, such as the ancient Hawaiians, had remarkable sea-faring skills.
Perhaps the coincidences of stone working are just that, coincidence -a favorite “explanation” of archeologists. Stone workers will discover the same techniques naturally, without need for outside help, they say, and can point to historical incidents of simultaneous discovery. But this explanation hardly accounts for the similarities in motifs and modular design.
Another explanation is mystical-that Mayan, who is a divine being in Indian histories, appeared to both peoples. He could have conveyed the knowledge through visions and dreams.
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