India’s oldest and one of the largest higher education institution, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur believes that one can not be a good architect unless one has learnt the basic of Vastu Shastra. So, in order to produce well-rounded architects and restore traditional Indian architect study, IIT-Kharagpur has made ‘Vastu Shastra’ a mandatory subject for architecture students.

IIT-Kharagpur will introduce the basic principles of Vastu to first and second-year undergraduate architecture students from August, while those students pursuing post-graduation or research scholars in infrastructure will get to study the subject in detail. Till now, Vastu Shastra did not figure in the architecture and infrastructure syllabi, as a concept.

According to the faculty members, the architect students are being taught Western concepts. Along with that, they should be taught to conserve ancient architectural traditions.

The Ranbir and Chitra Gupta School of Infrastructure Design and Management (RCGSIDM) of IIT-K held its first workshop on the subject, ‘Vastu in Global Perspective’ on April 16.

During the workshop, Joy Sen, Head of RCGSIDM and a faculty member of the architecture department said, “there is a renewed interest in ancient Indian knowledge across the globe in the changing time. So, it is natural that we will tweak our syllabus to include Vastu in architecture and infrastructure classes.”

Vastu will be introduced in graded modules to UG architecture students, who are taught courses like basic design and history of architecture. At the PG level, solar principles, sacred diagrams, 9 circuit placements or the nabagraha mandal, sacred altars and design semiotics and semantics are some of the things students will be taught.

What is Vastu Shastra?

The term Vastu Shastra is derived from Sanskrit manuals of architecture which mean knowledge of dwelling or foundation of a house. The ancient architectural manuscripts on Vastu Shastra describe principles of design, layout, measurements, ground preparation, space arrangement and spatial geometry.

The concept of Vastu revolves around the healthy relationship of nature and infrastructure. The designs are intended to attach architecture with nature, the relative functions of various parts of the structure, and ancient beliefs utilising geometric patterns and directional alignments.

Ancient Vastu Shastra principles include those for the design of Hindu temples and the principles for the design and layout of houses, towns, cities, gardens, roads, shops and other public areas.

Soon after the news broke about IIT-K introducing ‘ Vastu Sastra’, people took to microblogging site Twitter with their epic reactions. Some Twitterati supported this move, while other slammed it.