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Lexicography whatever be its field and scope is eschewed by erudite scholars; for it demands of them nothing short of omniscience. The fact that Prof. P. K. Acharya became one in his own sphere is itself sufficient to vouchsafe the merits of his Dictionary of Hindu Architecture.
Dictionaries in general include technical terms only when these become commonplace. There is always a need for a dictionary which can illumine, technical terms. This dictionary devotes itself exclusively to the terminology of Hindu encompasses all activities of man connected with the satisfaction works, epigraphic records and Vastu sastra are presented here. The entries are arranged according to the alphabetical order of Sanskrit. The derivative and original significant of every technical word is investigated and illustrated by quotations from original sources to bring out every shade of its meaning to cite an instance the word Mandap a runs into twenty-seven pages with its eighty six illustrative examples.
Two appendices one furnishing important Sanskrit works on architecture and the other giving information about the famous Indian architects of the past are added. Thus this dictionary is a complete reference work on Indian architecture.
Origin and scope of the work - This dictionary owes its name to the University of London. A glossary of the architectural terms used in the Manasara, the standard work on Hindu architecture was prepared for my private use when I found it indispensable after struggling for two and half years to edit for the first time and translate into English a text which is written in five different scripts, possesses eleven badly preserved manuscripts has undergone five recensions and comprises more than 10,000 lines of a language rightly remarked by Dr. Buhler as the most barbarous Sanskrit. In this connection there arose an occasion for me to express to the University the opinion that an Encyclopaedia of Hindu architecture was badly needed. Architectural expressions appear throughout the whole field of general Sanskrit literature and the epigraphical records as well as in the extensive special branch of literature known as Vastu Sastras more familiarly called Silpa - Sastras. Existing dictionaries in Sanskrit English or any other language do not elucidate architectural expressions: and the texts of the Vastu-Sastras have been waiting for hundreds of years to be unearthed from manuscripts which are quite inaccessible without the guidance of a special dictionary that would also be instrumental in bringing to light many new things hitherto left unexplained in inscriptions and general literature. The University selected me as the person most immediately concerned and entrusted me with the task suggesting that I should make a full dictionary of all architectural terms used in the Manasara with Explanations in English and illustrative quotations from cognate literature where available for the purpose.
Thus the terms included in this dictionary are primarily those found in the Manasara. But all the new architectural terms of any importance discovered in all the known architectural treatises epigraphical documents and general literature have also been added. I should estimate the new terms at about one-fourth of the total numbering approximately three thousand. No record has however been kept of the extent of the architectural manuscripts or the general literature searched but some 50,000 pages of archaeological documents have been gone through almost line by line.
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