The Center for Art & Archaeology has a large repertoire of manually made measured architectural drawings, created through several documentation programs of the Center. Some of the earliest drawings were made in 1966 when the Center started its first project of surveying and documenting the historical buildings, particularly temple architecture of India. The types of architectural drawings housed in the archives of the CA & A include maps, site plans, floor plans, elevations, sections, mouldings and individual drawings of specific architectural components. The maps depict political regions of various dynasties of the subcontinent. All the drawings that are part of the above collection are made by the Center’s draftsmen who visited each of these sites and buildings, measured and created about 10,000 drawing including 6000 hand-drawn measured sketches.
This section represents the photographic collections of the Center for Art and Archaeology (CA&A) that covers more than 7000 monuments and ancient buildings from about 3000 archaeological and historical sites in all regions of India. The Photo-archives of the Center cover nearly all phases of ancient and medieval Indic architecture.
'Special Collections' include thematically organised image catalogues culled from the CA&A archives. Also, it comprises of photograph collections of global contributors who have associated with the CA&A for sharing their images on the VMIS.
'Views of Benares' is a vintage Photo-Album gifted to the Center for Art and Archaeology by His Highness Maharaja of Benares Vibhuti Narayan Singh while the Center was located in Ramnagar, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, from 1965-1998. This picture book that is now lodged in the rare books collection of the Center for Art and Archaeology, gives a beautiful visual narrative of the mystifying city of Benares. The album unfolds a collection of rare images of Benares, its tranquil Ghats lined with temples, buildings, royal residences, photographs of Buddhist remains from Sarnath, and also colonial structures of Benares. The National Emblem of India, the Lion capital of the Ashokan pillar also finds a special place in this album; it records the initial moments of discovery of the Lion capital in Sarnath while it was still lying at the site. The caption attached with the photograph of the Lion capital mentions ‘Raghunath Prasad, artist, and photographer to H.H. Maharaja of Benares’ which clearly indicates its attribution to the then court photographer to H.H. Prabhu Narayan. H.H. Prabhu Narayan was presumably the king responsible for documentation and compilation of this album also in the early 20th century as his own portrait photograph shot in 1929 is assigned the most prominent place in the album as the first photograph of this picture book.