Building, Paintings and Books CBSE Class 6 History Chapter 11 Notes

BoardCBSE Board, UP board, JAC board, HBSE Board, Bihar Board, PSEB board, RBSE Board, UBSE Board
Class6th Class
SubjectHistory | Social Science
ChapterChapter 11
Chapter NameBuilding, Paintings and Books
TopicBuilding, Paintings and Books CBSE Class 6 History Chapter 11 Notes
Especially Designed Notes forCBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA, UPSC, SSC, NDA, All Govt. Exam

Building, Paintings and Books

The Iron Pillar

  • The iron pillar at Mehrauli, Delhi is a noticeable example of the skill of Indian crafts persons.
  • The iron pillar is 7.2 m high and weighs over 3 tonnes.
  • It was made about 1500 years ago.
  • This date could be known through an inscription on the pillar mentioning a ruler named Chandra, who probably belonged to the Gupta dynasty.
  • The amazing fact about the pillar is that it has not rusted in all these years.

Buildings in Brick and Stone

  • The skills of our crafts persons are also visible in the buildings that have remained, such as stupas.
  • The word stupa means a mound.
  • While there are various kinds of stupas, round and tall, big and small, these have certain common features.

Relic Casket

  • Generally, there is a small box placed at the centre or heart of the stupa.
  • This may contain bodily remains (such as teeth, bone or ashes) of the Buddha or his followers, or things they used, as well as precious stones and coins.
  • This box, called as a relic casket, was covered with earth.
  • Later, a layer of mud brick or baked brick was added on top.
  • The dome like structure then was sometimes covered with carved stone slabs.

Pradakshina Patha

  • Often, a path, known as the pradakshina patha, was laid around the stupa.
  • It was surrounded with railings.
  • Entrance to the path was through gateways.
  • Devotees walked around the stupa, in a clockwise direction, as a mark of devotion.
  • The stupa’s railings and gateways were time to time decorated with sculpture.


  • Amaravati was a place where a magnificent stupa once existed.
  • Many of the stone carvings for decorating the stupa were built around 2000 years ago.
  • Other buildings were hollowed out of rock to make artificial caves.
  • Some of these were very carefully decorated with the sculptures and painted walls.


  • The earliest temples of Hindus were also built at this time.
  • Deities such as Vishnu, Shiva and Durga were worshipped in these shrines.
  • The most important part of the temple was the room called as the garbhagriha, where the image of the chief deity was placed.
  • The priests performed the religious rituals at the garbhagriha, and devotees offered worship to the deity.


  • Often, as at Bhitargaon, a tower, known as the shikhara, was built on top of the garbbagriba, to mark this out as a sacred place.
  • Building shikharas required careful planning.
  • Most temples had a space called as the mandapa.
  • It was a hall where people could assemble.
  • Some of the finest stone temples were built in Mahabalipuram and Aihole.

How were stupas and Temples built

There were various stages in building a stupa or a temple. Mostly, kings or queens decided to build these as it was an expensive affair. The stages were as follows:

  1. Firstly, good quality stone had to be found, quarried and transported to the place that was often carefully chosen for the new building.
  2. Secondly, these rough blocks of stone had to be shaped and sculpted into pillars and panels for walls, floors and ceilings.
  3. Thirdly, all these had to be placed in precisely right position.
  • Kings and queens very likely spent money from their treasury to pay the crafts persons who worked to build these very impressive and beautiful structures.
    • As well as, when devotees came to visit the temple or the stupa, they mostly brought gifts, which were used to decorate the buildings.
    • For example, an association of ivory workers paid for one of the greatest gateways at Sanchi.
  • Among the others who paid for decorations were merchants, farmers, garland makers, perfumers, smiths and hundreds of men and women who are recognised only by their names which were inscribed on pillars, railings and walls.


  • In Ajanta, there were many caves which were hollowed out of the hills over centuries.
  • Many of these were monasteries for Buddhist monks and some of them were decorated with paintings.
  • Most of these paintings were done in the light of torches.
  • The colours, which are bright even after 1500 years, were made of plants and minerals.
  • The artists who created these very impressive and beautiful works of art remain unknown.

The World of Books

  • During this period, some of the best-known epics were written.
  • Epics are grand, long compositions about heroic men and women, and also include stories about Gods.


  • Ilango was famous poet who composed the Tamil epic, the Silappadikaram, around 1800 years ago.
  • It is the story of a merchant named Kovalan, who lived in Puhar and fell in love with a courtesan named Madhavi, neglecting his wife Kannagi.
  • Later, he and Kannagi left Puhar and went to Madurai, where he was wrongly accused of theft by the court jeweller of the Pandya king.
  • The king sentenced Kovalan to death. Kannagi, who still loved him, was full of grief and anger at this injustice, and destroyed the entire city of Madurai.


  • Another Tamil epic, the Manimekalai was composed by Sattanar around 1400 years ago.
  • This describes the story of the daughter of Kovalan and Madhavi.
  • These beautiful compositions were lost to scholars for many centuries.
  • About a hundred years ago, its manuscripts were rediscovered.
  • Other writers like Kalidasa wrote in Sanskrit.

Recording and Preserving Old Stories

Many Hindu religious stories were also written around the same period. These include the Puranas?.


  • Purana literally means old.
  • The Puranas contain stories about Gods and Goddesses, such as Vishnu, Shiva, Durga or Parvati.
  • They also include details on how they were to be worshipped.
  • There are accounts about the creation of the world and about kings.
  • The Puranas were written in simple Sanskrit verse and were meant to be heard by everybody, including women and shudras, who were not permitted to study the Vedas.
  • They were probably recited in temples by priests, and people came to listen to them.

The Sanskrit Epics

  • There were two important Sanskrit epics known as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.
  • Both had been popular for a very long time and till date too.

The Mahabharata

  • The Mahabharata tells the story of a war fought between the Kauravas and Pandavas, who were cousins.
  • This war was all about to gain the control of the throne of the Kurus and their capital, Hastinapur.
  • The story of the Mahabharata was an old one, it was written 1500 years ago.
  • Both the Puranas and the Mahabharata are believed to have been compiled by Vyasa.
  • The Bhagavad Gita is also a part of the Mahabharata.

The Ramayana

  • Like the Mahabharata, this was an old story that was written down now.
  • Valmiki is known as the author of the Sanskrit Ramayana.
  • The Ramayana is about Rama, a prince of Kosala, who was sent into exile.
  • His wife Sita was abducted by the king of Lanka, named Ravana.
  • Rama had to fight a battle to get her back. He won and returned to Ayodhya, the capital of Kosala, after his victory.
  • The Mahabharata and the Ramayana, both have several versions.
  • These epics are very popular amongst people in different regions of the sub-continent.

Stories Told by Ordinary People

  • The common people also told stories, composed poems and songs, sang, danced and performed plays.
  • Some of these are kept up in collections of stories such as the Jatakas and the Panchatantra
  • The stories from the Jatakas were mostly shown on the railings of stupas and in paintings in places such as Ajanta.

Writing Books on Science

  • Aryabhata, a mathematician and astronomer, wrote a book in Sanskrit known as the Aryabhatiyam in this period.
  • He claimed that day and night were caused by the rotation of the earth on its axis.
  • He developed a scientific explanation for eclipses.
  • He also found a way of calculating the circumference of a circle, which is nearly as accurate as the formula we use now-a-days.


  • While numerals had been used earlier, mathematicians in India now discovered a special symbol for zero.
  • The system of counting was adapted by the Arabs and then spread to Europe. It continues to be in use throughout the world.

  1. Stupa: A stupa is a mound like or hemispherical structure containing Buddhist relics, typically the ashes of Buddhist monks, used by Buddhists as a place of meditation.
  2. Pradakshina patha: it is a form of circular path around the stupa. This was surrounded with railings.
  3. Mandapa: A place in temples where people could assemble or organise.
  4. Painting: It is the practice of applying paints, pigment, colour or other medium to a surface or support base.
  5. Epic: Very big book is called epic. In this book, great events of one or more people in an elevated style narrating continuously.
  6. Story: It is an account of imaginary or real people and events told for the entertainment.
  7. Puranas: These are ancient Hindu texts eulogising various deities, primarily the divine Trimurti God in Hinduism through divine stories.
  8. Panchatantra It is the collection of stories for children with useful moral conclusions on lessons.

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