History - Class 7

Our Past - II

Chapter 5: Rulers And Buildings

Intext Questions:

Question 1: What would have been the impact of a building like the Qutb Minar on observers in the thirteenth century?

Answer: The observers in thirteenth century definitely could have astonished and impressed by these huge buildings. They could have given huge respect to their rulers and could felt proud of their culture and their Kingdom. And they could have emotionally connected to their region and became ready to give respect to Muslim rulers of that time.

Question 2: What differences do you notice between the Shikharas of the two temples? Can you make out that the Shikhara of the Rajarajeshvara temple is twice as high as that of the Kandariya Mahadeva?


  1. Shikhara of Rajarajeshvara temple is bigger than that of the Kandariya temple.
  2. Yes.

Question 3: Compare Fig. 2(a) and 2(6) with Fig. 5(a) and 5(b). (NCERT Page 63)


  1. Fig. 2 (a) shows the screen in the Quwwat-al-Islam mosque, Delhi.
  2. Fig. 2 (b) shows the Corbelled technique used in the construction.
  3. Fig. 5 (b) shows an image of True arch, details from Alai Darwaza of Quwwat- al-Islam mosque.
  4. Fig. 5 (a) shows the ‘arcuate’ form of architecture. The ‘keystone’ at the centre of the arch transfers the weight of the superstructure to the base of the arch.
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Question 4: Describe what the laborers are doing, the tools shown, and the means of carrying stones.

Answer: Labourers are involved in the construction of a huge gate. They are using old tools like hammers, and techniques for breaking the stone. Stones are carried manually.

Question 5: Why were temples targeted?


  1. Kings built temples to demonstrate their devotion to God and their power and wealth.
  2. When they attacked one another’s kingdoms, they often targeted these buildings.
  3. In the early ninth century when the Pandyan king Shrimara Shrivallabha invaded Sri Lanka and defeated the king, Sena I (831-851) it is believed that “he removed all the valuables the statue of the Buddha made entirely of gold in the Jewel Palace and the golden images in the various monasteries’.
  4. The blow to the pride of the Sinhalese ruler had to be avenged. The next Sinhalese ruler, Sena II, ordered his general to invade Madurai, the capital of the Pandyas.
  5. His expedition made a special effort to find and restore the gold statue of the Buddha.
  6. In the same way in the early eleventh century, when the Chola King Rajendra I built a Shiva temple in his capital he filled it with prized statues which he seized from defeated rulers.
  7. An incomplete list included.
    • A Sun-pedestal from the Chalukyas.
    • A Ganesha statue and several statues of Durga.
    • A Nandi statue from the eastern Chalukyas.
    • An image of Bhairava (a form of Shiva) and Bhairavi from the Kalingas of Orissa.
    • A Kali statue from the Palas of Bengal.

Question 6: In what ways do you think the policies of Rajendra I and Mahmud of Ghazni were a product of their times? How were the actions of the two rulers different?


  1. King Rajendra, looted the temples of defeated rulers and put the images in the newly constructed temples Mahmud of Ghazni destroyed and looted temples to give himself the credit of being a great hero of Islam.
  2. In this way both were different -one constructed the temple, another destroyed the temple.


Question: You are an artisan standing on a tiny wooden platform held together by bamboo and rope fifty metres above the ground. You have to place an inscription under the first balcony of the Qutb Minar. How would you do this?


  • I would first fix packings in the wall.
  • Then chisels would be got through the inscription at its four comers.
  • Then the inscription would be fixed on the wall below the balcony


Question 1: How is the ‘trabeate’ principle of architecture different from the ‘arcuate’!

Answer: In the trabeate principle of architecture roofs, doors and windows were made by placing a horizontal beam across two vertical columns. In the arcuate principle of architecture, the weight of the superstructure above the doors and windows was carried by arches.

Question 2: What is a Shikhara?

Answer: Shikhara is a superstructure above the main shrine (garbhagriha) in which the main deity is placed in the temples. The construction of shikhara was the most tedious and long-lasting task in the temple construction.

Question 3: What is pietra-dura?

Answer: Pietra dura refers to the coloured, hard stones placed in depressions carved into marble or sandstone which create beautiful ornate patterns.

Question 4: What are the elements of a Mughal Chahar bagh garden?

Answer: The elements of a Mughal Chahar bagh garden are as under :

  • The garden was placed within rectangular walled enclosures and divided into four quarters by artificial channels.
  • The four divisions were symmetrical.


Question 5: How did a temple communicate the importance of a king?

Answer: Kings usually constructed temples to demonstrate their devotion to God and their power and wealth. Here we can mention the Rajarajeshvara temple which was built by King Rajarajadeva for the worship of his god, Rajarajeshvaram. It is noticeable that the names of the ruler and the god are very similar. The king took the god’s name because it was auspicious and he wanted to appear like a god. Through the rituals of worship in the temples one god le. Rajarajadeva honoured another le., Rajarajeshvaram.
Kings usually constructed the largest temples. The other, lesser deities in the temple were gods and goddesses of the allies and subordinates of the ruler. The temple was a miniature model of the world ruled by the king and his allies. As they worshipped their deities together in the royal temples, it seemed as if they brought the just rule of the gods on earth.

Question 6: An inscription in Shah Jahan’s diwan-i Khas in Delhi stated: “If there is Paradise on Earth, it is here, it is here, it is here.” How was this image created?

Answer: The architectural design of Shah Jahan’s diwan-i Khas (audience hall) in Delhi’s Red fort, created the image of Paradise on Earth. Some of the main features are as under:

  1. Emperor’s throne was placed in the west direction. In Islam, it is the direction towards Mecca from India. Therefore, the emperor was equated with the place of God in Islam?
  2. Everyone who attended the court faced west, a direction faced by Muslims while praying.
  3. The depiction of legendary Greek God Orpheus behind the king’s throne gave the message that the king’s justice would treat the high and low as equals, creating a world where all could live together in harmony.
  4. These features gave the image of Paradise on earth.

Question 7: How did the Mughal court suggest that everyone—the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak—received justice equally from the emperor?

Answer: The Mughal court suggested that everyone—the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak received justice equally from the emperor as the Diwan-i am was for all. All could collect there and put their grievances before the emperor without any bias or discrimination. The Pietra Dura work behind the throne suggests the same.

Question 8: What role did the Yamuna play in the layout of the new Mughal city at Shahjahanabad?

Answer: The river Yamuna had a very significant role in the layout of the new Mughal city at Shahjahanabad. Shah Jahan preferred the river-front garden in the layout of the Taj Mahal. He developed the same architectural form as a means to control the access that the nobles had to the river. In the new city of Shahjahanabad, the imperial palace also commanded the river-front. Only the most favoured nobles were given access to the river. Other than those had to construct their homes in the city away from the river Yamuna. It expanded the layout of the city.


Question 9: The rich and powerful construct large houses today. In what ways were the constructions of kings and their courtiers different in the past?


  • The constructions of kings were done over a large area with special raw materials such as red sandstone, marble, diamonds, etc.
  • On the other hand, buildings had plans for the water systems, tanks, and gardens.
  • The directions were of special considerations. For example, placing the throne in diwan-i khas in the west direction.
  • The new innovations were always welcomed in the constructions by kings. For example, pietra-dura.
  • Buildings made by kings often had a fusion of regional architecture such as Gujarati, Rajasthani, and Bangla domes.
  • It can be assumed the buildings of nobles must not have had such features.

Question 10: Look at the Figure below. How could that building be constructed faster today?


Answer: Such buildings can be constructed faster today with the help of cranes and other modern machines. And with latest technology different designs and sky-high buildings can be constructed.


Question 11: Find out whether there is a statue or a memorial to a great person in your village or town. Why was it placed there? What purpose does it serve?


  • Yes, it is of Mahatma Gandhi. It was placed there to commemorate the Father of the Nation’.
  • It renews the sacrifice of the father to the nation daily when one passes by it.

Question 12: Visit and describe any park or garden in your neighbourhood. In what ways is it similar to or different from the gardens of the Mughals?

Answer: The gardens of Mughals gardens were spread over a very large area. There was a large variety of flowers. They were well-decorated and protected. But the garden in my neighbourhood is not so large. Everyone has easy access to this garden. So the flowers are not safe. Thus, we don’t find any similarities.