Book: Vistara – The Architecture of India

The re-mastered book and film from the iconic travelling exhibition on Indian Architecture curated by Charles Correa.

The document was a part of the seminal ‘Vistara: The Architecture of India’ exhibition, 1986 that travelled the world. This is an attempt to resurrect and preserve one of the most crucial and complex comments on the Architecture of India. The exhibition was accompanied by this book and the Vistara film – a projection system – chronicling powerful ideas, elements and epochs that represented our architecture and the practice of habitat-making.

VISTARA was part of ‘The Festival of India’ – a series of major exhibitions in the 1980’s organized by Pupul Jayakar, that the Govt. of India presented around the world: in London, New York, Moscow, Tokyo, Berlin, and so forth.  This particular exhibition on the Architecture of India was put together by a small committee headed by Charles Correa, which included Pravina Mehta, Devangana Desai, Uttam Jain and Dilip Purohit.

VISTARA presented not only the great monuments of Indian history but also examples of the vernacular habitat that existed alongside – and the beliefs and mythic imagery that had generated them both. The video you are about to see is a single-screen condensation of a 9-projector multi-media presentation created by Imtiaz Dharker to articulate the central themes of the exhibition.


VISTARA examined this enormous range of Architecture, and its vital relation to the other arts – to dance, to music and sculpture, as well as the textiles and jewellery of India.  Dow the centuries, the mythic beliefs change –  the Jain Cosmograph is augmented by the Vastu-Purush-Mandala of Hinduism and then later by the Islamic Garden of Paradise – and later yet, in the 18th century, by the European belief in Science and Rationality.   And each time this happens, architecture is transformed – and a new VISTARA opens up.

Credits: The book was digitised with efforts by Ruturaj Parikh, Maanasi Hattangadi,  Sharmila Chakravorty, Shalmali Wagle, Prasenjit Bhowmick, Rashmi Naicker, Ayishwariya Balagopal and Christina D’sa of Indian Architect & Builder Magazine. (2013)

The film – scripted by Charles Correa and Imtiaz Dharker has been digitized and re-mastered through personal efforts by Imtiaz Dharker and Alpesh Taylor.


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