An altar is a structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are found at shrines, temples and other places of worship, they are used in Christianity, Buddhism and Judaism used such a structure until the destruction of the Second Temple. Many historical faiths made use of them, including Roman and Norse religion. Altars in the Hebrew Bible were made of earth or unwrought stone. Altars were erected in conspicuous places; the first altar recorded in the Hebrew Bible is. Altars were erected by Abraham, by Isaac, by Jacob, by Moses. After the theophany on Mount Sinai, in the Tabernacle—and afterwards in the Temple—only two altars were used: the Altar of Burnt Offering, the Altar of Incense. Altars in antiquity The word "altar", in Greek θυσιαστήριον, appears twenty-four times in the New Testament. In Catholic and Orthodox Christian theology, the Eucharist is a re-presentation, in the literal sense of the one sacrifice being made "present again". Hence, the table upon which the Eucharist is consecrated is called an altar.
Altars occupy a prominent place in both Eastern and Western branches. Among these churches, altars are placed for permanent use within designated places of communal worship. Less though nonetheless notable, altars are set in spaces occupied less such as outdoors in nature, in cemeteries, in mausoleums/crypts, family dwellings. Personal altars are those placed in a private bedroom, closet, or other space occupied by one person, they are used for practices of piety intended for one person. They are found in a minority of other Protestant worship places, though the term "Communion table", which avoids the sacrificial connotations of an altar, is preferred by Churches in the Reformed tradition; the altar plays a central role in the celebration of the Eucharist, which takes place at the altar on which the bread and the wine for consecration are placed. The area around the altar is seen as endowed with greater holiness, is physically distinguished from the rest of the church, whether by a permanent structure such as an iconostasis, a rood screen, altar rails, a curtain that can be closed at more solemn moments of the liturgy, or by the general architectural layout.
The altar is on a higher elevation than the rest of the church. In Reformed and Anabaptist churches, a table called a "Communion table", serves an analogous function. Churches have a single altar, although in the Western branches of Christianity, as a result of the former abandonment of concelebration of Mass, so that priests always celebrated Mass individually, larger churches have had one or more side chapels, each with its own altar; the main altar was referred to as the "high altar". Since the revival of concelebration in the West, the Roman Missal recommends that in new churches there should be only one altar, "which in the gathering of the faithful will signify the one Christ and the one Eucharist of the Church." But most Western churches of an earlier period, whether Roman Catholic or Anglican, may have a high altar in the main body of the church, with one or more adjoining chapels, each with its own altar, at which the Eucharist may be celebrated on weekdays. Architecturally, there are two types of altars: those that are attached to the eastern wall of the chancel, those that are free-standing and can be walked around, for instance when incensing the altar.
In the earliest days of the Church, the Eucharist appears to have been celebrated on portable altars set up for the purpose. Some historians hold that, during the persecutions, the Eucharist was celebrated among the tombs in the Catacombs of Rome, using the sarcophagi of martyrs as altars on which to celebrate. Other historians dispute this, but it is thought to be the origin of the tradition of placing relics beneath the altar; when Christianity was legalized under Constantine the Great and Licinius, formal church buildings were built in great numbers with free-standing altars in the middle of the sanctuary, which in all the earliest churches built in Rome was at the west end of the church. "When Christians in fourth-century Rome could first begin to build churches, they customarily located the sanctuary towards the west end of the building in imitation of the sanctuary of the Jerusalem Temple. Although in the days of the Jerusalem Temple the High Priest indeed faced east when sacrificing on Yom Kippur, the sanctuary within which he stood was located at the western end of the Temple.
The Christian replication of the layout and the orientation of the Jerusalem Temple helped to dramatize the eschatological meaning attached to the sacrificial death of Jesus the High Priest in the Epistle to the Hebrews." The ministers, celebrated the Eucharist facing east, towards the entrance. Some hold. After the sixth century the contrary orientation prevailed, with the entrance to the west and the altar at the east end; the ministers and congregation all faced east during the whole celebration. Most rubrics in boo
Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life practised in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal tradition", or the "eternal way", beyond human history. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder; this "Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE, after the end of the Vedic period, flourished in the medieval period, with the decline of Buddhism in India. Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies, it is linked by shared concepts, recognisable rituals, shared textual resources, pilgrimage to sacred sites. Hindu texts are classified into Smṛti; these texts discuss theology, mythology, Vedic yajna, agamic rituals, temple building, among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas and Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Āgamas.
Sources of authority and eternal truths in its texts play an important role, but there is a strong Hindu tradition of questioning authority in order to deepen the understanding of these truths and to further develop the tradition. Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include the four Puruṣārthas, the proper goals or aims of human life, namely Dharma, Artha and Moksha. Hindu practices include rituals such as puja and recitations, meditation, family-oriented rites of passage, annual festivals, occasional pilgrimages; some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions engage in lifelong Sannyasa to achieve Moksha. Hinduism prescribes the eternal duties, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings, forbearance, self-restraint, compassion, among others; the four largest denominations of Hinduism are the Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Smartism. Hinduism is the world's third largest religion. Hinduism is the most professed faith in India and Mauritius, it is the predominant religion in Bali, Indonesia.
Significant numbers of Hindu communities are found in the Caribbean, North America, other countries. The word Hindū is derived from Indo-Aryan/Sanskrit root Sindhu; the Proto-Iranian sound change *s > h occurred between 850–600 BCE, according to Asko Parpola. It is believed that Hindu was used as the name for the Indus River in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. According to Gavin Flood, "The actual term Hindu first occurs as a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus", more in the 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I; the term Hindu in these ancient records did not refer to a religion. Among the earliest known records of'Hindu' with connotations of religion may be in the 7th-century CE Chinese text Record of the Western Regions by Xuanzang, 14th-century Persian text Futuhu's-salatin by'Abd al-Malik Isami. Thapar states that the word Hindu is found as heptahindu in Avesta – equivalent to Rigvedic sapta sindhu, while hndstn is found in a Sasanian inscription from the 3rd century CE, both of which refer to parts of northwestern South Asia.
The Arabic term al-Hind referred to the people. This Arabic term was itself taken from the pre-Islamic Persian term Hindū, which refers to all Indians. By the 13th century, Hindustan emerged as a popular alternative name of India, meaning the "land of Hindus"; the term Hindu was used in some Sanskrit texts such as the Rajataranginis of Kashmir and some 16th- to 18th-century Bengali Gaudiya Vaishnava texts including Chaitanya Charitamrita and Chaitanya Bhagavata. These texts used it to distinguish Hindus from Muslims who are called Yavanas or Mlecchas, with the 16th-century Chaitanya Charitamrita text and the 17th-century Bhakta Mala text using the phrase "Hindu dharma", it was only towards the end of the 18th century that European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus. The term Hinduism spelled Hindooism, was introduced into the English language in the 18th century to denote the religious and cultural traditions native to India. Hinduism includes a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, but has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet nor any binding holy book.
Because of the wide range of traditions and ideas covered by the term Hinduism, arriving at a comprehensive definition is difficult. The religion "defies our desire to define and categorize it". Hinduism has been variously defined as a religion, a religious tradition, a set of religious beliefs, "a way of life". From a Western lexical standpoint, Hinduism like other faiths is appropriately referred to as a religion. In India the term dharma is preferred, broader than the Western term religion; the study of India and its cultures and religions, the definition of "Hinduism", has been shaped by th
A cloister is a covered walk, open gallery, or open arcade running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle or garth. The attachment of a cloister to a cathedral or church against a warm southern flank indicates that it is part of a monastic foundation, "forming a continuous and solid architectural barrier... that separates the world of the monks from that of the serfs and workmen, whose lives and works went forward outside and around the cloister."Cloistered life is another name for the monastic life of a monk or nun. The English term enclosure is used in contemporary Catholic church law translations to mean cloistered, some form of the Latin parent word "claustrum" is used as a metonymic name for monastery in languages such as German; the early medieval cloister had several antecedents, the peristyle court of the Greco-Roman domus, the atrium and its expanded version that served as forecourt to early Christian basilicas, certain semi-galleried courts attached to the flanks of early Syrian churches.
Walter Horn suggests that the earliest coenobitic communities, which were established in Egypt by Saint Pachomius, did not result in cloister construction, as there were no lay serfs attached to the community of monks, thus no separation within the walled community was required. In the time of Charlemagne the requirements of a separate monastic community within an extended and scattered manorial estate created this "monastery within a monastery" in the form of the locked cloister, an architectural solution allowing the monks to perform their sacred tasks apart from the distractions of laymen and servants. Horn offers as early examples Abbot Gundeland's "Altenmünster" of Lorsch abbey, as revealed in the excavations by Frederich Behn. Another early cloister, that of the abbey of Saint-Riquier, took a triangular shape, with chapels at the corners, in conscious representation of the Trinity. A square cloister sited against the flank of the abbey church was built at Inden and the abbey of St. Wandrille at Fontenelle.
At Fulda, a new cloister was sited to the liturgical west of the church "in the Roman manner" familiar from the forecourt of Old St. Peter's Basilica because it would be closer to the relics. Coomans, Thomas. "Life Inside the Cloister. Understanding Monastic Architecture: Tradition, Adaptive Reuse". Leuven University Press. ISBN 9789462701434. Horn, Walter. "On the Origins of the Medieval Cloister". Gesta. 2: 13–52. Doi:10.2307/766633. JSTOR 766633; the Code of Canon Law, cf canons 667 ff. New Advent Encyclopaedia III ff. on "Nuns, properly so called "Cloister" in the New Advent encyclopaedia New Advent Encyclopaedia on "Religious Life Photos and information on cloisters in France and Spain
A stupa is a mound-like or hemispherical structure containing relics, used as a place of meditation. A related architectural term is a chaitya, a prayer hall or temple containing a stupa. In Buddhism, circumambulation or pradakhshina has been an important ritual and devotional practice since the earliest times, stupas always have a pradakhshina path around them. Stupas may have originated as pre-Buddhist tumuli in which śramaṇas were buried in a seated position called chaitya; some authors have suggested that stupas were derived from a wider cultural tradition from the Mediterranean to the Indus valley, can be related to the conical mounds on circular bases from the 8th century BCE that can be found in Phrygia, Lydia, or in Phoenicia. Religious buildings in the form of the Buddhist stupa, a dome shaped monument, started to be used in India as commemorative monuments associated with storing sacred relics of the Buddha. After the parinirvana of the Buddha, his remains were cremated and the ashes divided and buried under eight mounds with two further mounds encasing the urn and the embers.
The relics of the Buddha were spread between eight stupas, in Rajagriha, Kapilavastu, Ramagrama, Pava and Vethapida. The Piprahwa stupa seems to have been one of the first to be built. Guard rails —consisting of posts, a coping— became a feature of safety surrounding a stupa; the Buddha had left instructions about how to pay homage to the stupas: "And whoever lays wreaths or puts sweet perfumes and colours there with a devout heart, will reap benefits for a long time". This practice would lead to the decoration of the stupas with stone sculptures of flower garlands in the Classical period. According to Buddhist tradition, Emperor Ashoka recovered the relics of the Buddha from the earlier stupas, erected 84.000 stupas to distribute the relics across India. In effect, many stupas are thought to date from the time of Ashoka, such as Sanchi or Kesariya, where he erected pillars with his inscriptions, Bharhut, Amaravati or Dharmarajika in Gandhara. Ashoka established the Pillars of Ashoka throughout his realm next to Buddhist stupas.
The first known appearance of the word "Stupa" is from an inscribed dedication by Ashoka on the Nigali Sagar pillar. Stupas were soon to be richly decorated with sculptural reliefs, following the first attempts at Sanchi Stupa No.2. Full-fledged sculptural decorations and scenes of the life of the Buddha would soon follow at Bharhut, Bodh Gaya, again at Sanchi for the elevation of the toranas and Amaravati; the decorative embellishment of stupas had a considerable development in the northwest in the area of Gandhara, with decorated stupas such as the Butkara Stupa or the Loriyan Tangai stupas. The stupa underwent major evolutions in the area of Gandhara. Since Buddhism spread to Central Asia and Korea and Japan through Gandhara, the stylistic evolution of the Gandharan stupa was influential in the development of the stupa in these areas; the Gandhara stupa followed several steps moving towards more and more elevation and addition of decorative element, leading to the development of the pagoda tower.
The main stupa type are, in choronological order: 1) The Dharmarajika Stupa with a near-Indian design of a semi-hemispheric stupa directly on the ground surface dated to the 3rd century BCE. Similar stupas are the Manikyala stupa or the Chakpat stupa. 2) The Saidu Sharif Stupa and quincunxial, with a flight of stairs to a dome elevated on a square platform. Many Gandhara minutiures represent this spectacular type. 3) The Loriyan Tangai Stupa, with a elongated shape and many narrative reliefs, in many way the Classical Gandharan stupa. 4) The near-pyramidal Jaulian stupa. 5) The cruciform type, as in the Bhamala Stupa, with flights of stairs in the four cardinal directions. 6) The towering design of the second Kanishka stupa. It is thought that the temple in the shape of a truncated pyramid may have derived from the design of the stepped stupas which developed in Gandhara; the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya is one such example, formed of a succession of steps with niches containing Buddha images, alternating with Greco-Roman pillars.
The structure is crowned by the shape of an hemispherical stupa topped by finials, forming a logical elongation of the stepped Gandharan stupas such as those seen in Jaulian. Although the current structure of the Mahabdhodi Temple dates to the Gupta period, the "Plaque of Mahabhodi Temple", discovered in Kumrahar and dated to 150-200 CE based on its dated Kharoshthi inscriptions and combined finds of Huvishka coins, suggests that the pyramidal structure existed in the 2nd century CE; this is confirmed by archaeological excavations in Bodh Gaya. This truncated pyramid design marked the evolution from the aniconic stupa dedicated to the cult of relics, to the iconic temple with multiple images of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas; this design was influential in the development of Hindu temples. Stupa architecture was adopted in Southeast and East Asia, where it became prominent as a Buddh
Architecture of India
The architecture of India is rooted in its history and religion. Indian architecture progressed with time and assimilated the many influences that came as a result of India's global discourse with other regions of the world throughout its two millennia-old past; the architectural methods practiced in India are a result of examination and implementation of its established building traditions and outside cultural interactions. Though old, this Eastern tradition has incorporated modern values as India became a modern nation-state; the economic reforms of 1991 further bolstered the urban architecture of India as the country became more integrated with the world's economy. Traditional Vastu Shastra remains influential in India's architecture during the contemporary era; the Indus Valley Civilization covered a large area beyond. In its mature phase, from c. 2600–1900 BCE, it produced several cities marked by great uniformity within and between sites, including Harappa and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Mohenjo-daro.
The civic and town planning and engineering aspects of these are remarkable, but the design of the buildings is "of a startling utilitarian character". There are granaries, water-courses and tanks, but neither palaces nor temples have been identified, though cities have a central raised and fortified "citadel". Mohenjo-daro has wells which may be the predecessors of the stepwell; as many as 700 wells have been discovered in just one section of the city, leading scholars to believe that'cylindrical brick lined wells' were invented by the Indus Valley Civilization. The architectural decoration is minimal, though there are "narrow pointed niches" inside some buildings. Most of the art found is in miniature forms like seals, in terracotta, but there are a few larger sculptures of figures. In most sites fired mud-brick is used as the building material, but a few such as Dholavira are in stone. Most houses have two stories, uniform sizes and plans; the large cities declined quickly, for unknown reasons, leaving a less sophisticated village culture behind.
From the time of the Mahajanapadas and moated cities with large gates and multi-storied buildings which used arched windows and doors and made an intense use of wooden architecture, are important features of the architecture during this period. The reliefs of Sanchi, dated to the 1st centuries BCE–CE, show cities such as Kushinagar or Rajagriha as splendid walled cities during the time of the Buddha, as in the Royal cortege leaving Rajagriha or War over the Buddha's relics; these views of ancient Indian cities have been relied on for the understanding of ancient Indian urban architecture. Archaeologically, this period corresponds in part to the Northern Black Polished Ware culture. Geopolitically, the Achaemenid Empire started to occupy the northwestern part of the subcontinent from c, 518 BCE. Various types of individual housing of the time of the Buddha, resembling huts with chaitya-decorated doors, are described in the reliefs of Sanchi; the Jetavana at Sravasti, shows the three favourite residences of the Buddha: the Gandhakuti, the Kosambakuti and the Karorikuti, with the throne of the Buddha in the front of each.
The Jetavana garden was presented to the Buddha by the rich banker Anathapindika, who purchased it for as many gold pieces as would cover the surface of the ground. Hence, the foreground of the relief is shown covered with ancient Indian coins, just as it is in the similar relief at Bharhut. Although the reliefs of Sanchi are dated to the 1st centuries BCE–CE, portraying scene taking place during the time of the Buddha, four centuries before, they are considered an important indication of building traditions in these early times. Buddhist cavesDuring the time of the Buddha, Buddhist monks were in the habit of using natural caves, such as the Saptaparni Cave, southwest from Rajgir, Bihar. Many believe it to be the site in which Buddha spent some time before his death, where the first Buddhist council was held after the Buddha died; the Buddha himself had used the Indrasala Cave for meditation, starting a tradition of using caves, natural or man-made, as religious retreats, that would last for over a millennium.
MonasteriesThe first monasteries, such as the Jivakarama vihara in Rajgir, were built from the time of the Buddha, in the 6th or 5th centuries BCE. The initial Jivakarama monastery was formed of two long parallel and oblong halls, large dormitories where the monks could eat and sleep, in conformity with the original regulations of the samgha, without any private cells. Other halls were constructed long, oblong building as well, which remind of the construction of several of the Barabar caves; the Buddha is said to have been treated once in the monastery, after having been injured by Devadatta. StupasReligious buildings in the form of the Buddhist stupa, a dome shaped monument, started to be used in India as commemorative monuments associated with storing sacred relics of the Buddha; the relics of the Buddha were spread between eight stupas, in Rajagriha, Kapilavastu, Ramagrama, Pava and Vethapida. The Piprahwa stupa seems to have been one of the first to be built. Guard rails—consisting of posts, a coping—became a feature of safety surrounding a stupa.
The Buddha had left instructions about how to pay hommage to the stupas: "And whoever lays wreaths or puts sweet perfumes and colours there with a devout heart, will reap benefits for a long time". This practice would lead to the decoration
Historic England is an executive non-departmental public body of the British Government sponsored by the Department for Culture and Sport. It is tasked with protecting the historical environment of England by preserving and listing historic buildings, ancient monuments and advising central and local government; the body was created by the National Heritage Act 1983, operated from April 1984 to April 2015 under the name of English Heritage. In 2015, following the changes to English Heritage's structure that moved the protection of the National Heritage Collection into the voluntary sector in the English Heritage Trust, the body that remained was rebranded as Historic England. Historic England has a similar remit to and complements the work of Natural England which aims to protect the natural environment; the body inherited the Historic England Archive from the old English Heritage, projects linked to the archive such as Britain from Above, which saw the archive work with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland to digitise and put online 96,000 of the oldest Aerofilms images.
The archive holds various nationally important collections and the results of older projects such as the work of the National Buildings Record absorbed by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England and the Images of England project which set out to create a accessible online database of the 370,000 listed properties in England at a snapshot in time at the turn of the millennium. Historic England inherits English Heritage's position as the UK government's statutory adviser and a statutory consultee on all aspects of the historic environment and its heritage assets; this includes archaeology on land and under water, historic buildings sites and areas, designated landscapes and the historic elements of the wider landscape. It monitors and reports on the state of England's heritage and publishes the annual Heritage at Risk survey, one of the UK Government's Official statistics, it is tasked to secure the preservation and enhancement of the man-made heritage of England for the benefit of future generations.
Its remit involves: Caring for nationally important archive collections of photographs and other records which document the historic environment of England and date from the eighteenth century onwards. Giving grants national and local organisations for the conservation of historic buildings and landscapes. In 2013/14 over £13 million worth of grants were made to support heritage buildings. Advising central UK government on which English heritage assets are nationally important and should be protected by designation. Administering and maintaining the register of England's listed buildings, scheduled monuments, registered battlefields, World Heritage Sites and protected parks and gardens; this is published as an online resource as'The National Heritage List for England'. Advising local authorities on managing changes to the most important parts of heritage. Providing expertise through advice and guidance to improve the standards and skills of people working in heritage, practical conservation and access to resources.
In 2009–2010 it trained around 200 professionals working in local authorities and the wider sector. Consulting and collaborating with other heritage bodies and national planning organisations e.g. the preparation of Planning Policy statement for the Historic Environment Commissioning and conducting archaeological research, including the publication of'Heritage Counts' and ‘Heritage at Risk’ on behalf of the heritage sector which are the annual research surveys into the state of England's heritage. It is not responsible for approving alterations to listed buildings; the management of listed buildings is the responsibility of local planning authorities and the Department for Communities and Local Government. It owns the National Heritage Collection of nationally important historic sites in public care; however they do not run these sites as this function is instead carried out by the English Heritage Trust under licence until 2023. English Heritage Historic England Archive Cadw Historic Scotland Northern Ireland Environment Agency Manx National Heritage Department for Culture and Sport Conservation in the United Kingdom Heritage at Risk Historic houses in England National Trust Properties in England Heritage Open Days List of Conservation topics List of heritage registers List of museums in England Heritage film Official website The Historic England Archive: Search over 1 million catalogue entries describing photographs and drawings of England's buildings and historic sites, held in the Historic England Archive.
Britain from Above: presents the unique Aerofilms collection of aerial photographs from 1919-1953. Images of England website Heritage Explorer: Education site for teachers Department for Culture Media and Sport
A chaitya, chaitya hall, chaitya-griha, or caitya refers to a shrine, temple or prayer hall in South Asian religions. The term is most common in Buddhism. Speaking, the chaitya is the stupa itself, the Indian buildings are chaitya halls, but this distinction is not observed. Outside India, the term is used by Buddhists for local styles of small stupa-like monuments in Nepal, Cambodia and elsewhere. In the historical texts of Jainism and Hinduism, including those relating to architecture, chaitya refers to a temple, sanctuary or any sacred monument. Most early examples of chaitya that survive are Indian rock-cut architecture. Scholars agree that the standard form follows a tradition of free-standing halls made of wood and other plant materials, none of which has survived; the curving ribbed. In the earlier examples, timber was used decoratively, with wooden ribs added to stone roofs. At the Bhaja Caves and the "Great Chaitya" of the Karla Caves, the original timber ribs survive; these ribs were rock-cut.
Elements in wood, such as screens and balconies, were added to stone structures. The surviving examples are similar in their broad layout, though the design evolved over the centuries; the halls are rather narrow. At the far end stands the stupa, the focus of devotion. Parikrama, the act of circulambulating or walking around the stupa, was an important ritual and devotional practice, there is always clear space to allow this; the end of the hall is thus rounded, like the apse in Western architecture. There are always columns along the side walls, going up to the start of the curved roof, a passage behind the columns, creating aisles and a central nave, allowing ritual circumambulation or pradakhshina, either around the stupa, or around the passage behind the columns. On the outside there is a porch very elaborately decorated, a low entrance way, above this a gallery; the only natural light, apart from a little from the entrance way, comes from a large horseshoe-shaped window above the porch, echoing the curve of the roof inside.
The overall effect is similar to smaller Christian churches from the Early Medieval period, though early chaityas are many centuries earlier. Chaityas appear at the same sites as the vihara, a contrasting type of building with a low-ceilinged rectangular central hall, with small cells opening, off it on all sides; these have a shrine set back at the centre of the back wall, containing a stupa in early examples, or a Buddha statue later. The vihara was the key building in Buddhist monastic complexes, used to live and pray in. Typical large sites contain several viharas for every chaitya. "Caitya", from a root cita or ci meaning "heaped-up", is a Sanskrit term for a mound or pedestal or "funeral pile". It is a sacred construction of some sort, has acquired different more specific meanings in different regions, including "caityavṛkṣa" for a sacred tree. According to K. L. Chanchreek, in early Jain literature, caitya mean temples where monks stayed, it meant where the Jain idol was placed in a temple, but broadly it was a symbolism for any temple.
In some texts, these are referred to as arhat-caitya or jina-caitya, meaning shrines for an Arhat or Jina. Major ancient Jaina archaeological sites such as the Kankali Tila near Mathura show Caitya-tree, Caitya-stupa, Caitya arches with Mahendra-dvajas and meditating Tirthankaras; the word caitya appears in the Vedic literature of Hinduism. In early Buddhist and Hindu literature, a caitya is any'piled up monument' or'sacred tree' under which to meet or meditate. Jan Gonda and other scholars state the meaning of caitya in Hindu texts varies with context and has the general meaning of any "holy place, place of worship", a "memorial", or as signifying any "sanctuary" for human beings in the Grhya sutras. According to Robert E. Buswell and Donald S. Lopez, both professors of Buddhist Studies, the term caitya in Sanskrit connotes a "tumulus, sanctuary or shrine", both in Buddhist and non-Buddhist contexts; the "chaitya arch", gavaksha, or chandrashala around the large window above the entrance appears repeated as a small motif in decoration, evolved versions continue into Hindu and Jain decoration, long after actual chaitya halls had ceased to be built by Buddhists.
In these cases it can become an elaborate frame, spreading rather wide, around a circular or semi-circular medallion, which may contain a sculpture of a figure or head. An earlier stage is shown here in the entrance to Cave 19 at the Ajanta Caves, where four horizontal zones of the decoration use repeated "chaitya arch" motifs on an otherwise plain band. There is a head inside each arch. Early Chaitya halls are known from the 3rd century BCE, they followed an apsidal plan, were either rock-cut or freestanding. The earliest surviving spaces comparable to the chaitya hall date to the 3rd century BCE; these are the rock-cut Barabar Caves, excavated during the reign of Ashoka by or for the Ajivikas, a non-Buddhist religious and philosophical group of the period. According to many scholars, these became "the prototype for the Buddhist caves of the western Deccan" the chaitya halls excavated between the 2nd century BCE and 2nd century CE. Early chaityas enshrined a stupa with space for congregational worship by the monks.
This reflected one of the early differences between early Buddhism and Hinduism, with Buddhism favoring congregational worship in contrast to Hindu