Sadashivpet - Sarvatobhadra town design

Sadashivpet  or Sadasivapet is a town in Sangareddy district of Telangana, was planned on the basis of ‘Sarvatobhadra’ town design. 

Sarvatobhadra is typically suited for big towns and villages, where the site selected for planning a town/village is a square If you log on to Google Earth to search Sadasivapet, a town in Sangareddy district of Telangana, you will be surprised to find an exhilarating chequered square locket studded with diamonds tagged to a black cord that is national Highway No.9 connecting Hyderabad and Mumbai, surrounded by natural landscape.

This town conceived and founded by Rani Lingayamma daughter of Sadashiva Reddy (1632-1650) during her regime between 1680-1692. Raminedu, one of the ancestors of Sadashiva Reddy was gifted Kalpagooru Pargana by Sultan Ferosah of Bahmani Sultanate during 1400 – 1450 AD after the downfall of Recherla Padmanayaka Kings, who ruled the present Medak area.

Kakatiya kings reigned this area prior to the conquer by the Sultans - Andole was the capital and Sadashiva Reddy was the 5th ruler in the hierarchy of Raminedu. The present population is 45,500 as per 2011 census. The town is located at 1755 ft from sea level and its latitude and longitude are 17.400N and 77.580E respectively. In the ancient Vaastu texts like Manasara, Silparatna, Mayamata and Viswakarma Vaastu Shastra, different types of plans for Pattana, Nagaraa and Grama were described.

According to Manasara there are eight types of plans for designing towns 
  1. Dandaka
  2. Sarvatobhadra, 
  3. Nandyavartha, 
  4. Padmaka, 
  5. Swastika, 
  6. Prastara, 
  7. Karmuka, 
  8. Chaturmukha. 
Sadasivapet is planned as Sarvatobhadra type. This type of plan is adopted to design larger villages and also towns, where the selected site is a square. It is chessboard pattern town (grid-iron) with 10 divisions on each side making total 100 divisions facing to coordinal points.

In the ancient days if it is adopted by a town then a fort wall was constructed around it with ramparts and moat all around, but for villages, rampant and moat were not necessary. 

The central space called Brahmasthana should be occupied by a temple. 

Sadasivapet is divided into 10 divisions on each side. It is surrounded by a fort wall with four gates on four sides. The roads are laid exactly facing North – South and East-West direction. In central Space, which is called Brahmastana according to the Vaastu Shastras, a temple for Shiva was constructed. 

The specialty of this town is, it is satisfying the requirements of Koorma Vrusta Vaastu. In this, the central place (Brahmastana) will be at a higher level and the four sides and four corner points will be at low level. 

The central point of Sadasivapet is 25 feet elevated from the periphery. This is an eye-opener to the present day Vaastu Pandits who preach day and night that south-west (Niruthi) of the site must be higher and Northeast (Eeshanya) should be at lower level. 

This town is occupied by houses of various descriptions and inhabited by all classes of people as prescribed by Manasara. 

Jaipur Four to five decades after the founding of Sadasivapet, the old Jaipur in Rajasthan, was founded on November 17, 1727 by King Sawai Jai Singh (1700-1743). The architect for conceiving the plan of that town was Vidyadhar Bhattacharya. Many scholars have attributed the basic concept plan of Old Jaipur as being a Prastara type of mandala mentioned in Manasara, one of the ancient treatises on Hindu town planning. The scholars say that Prastara plan is both square or oblong in form and divided into four, nine or 16 major wards by an appropriate number of roads, which run East-West and North-South and the wards in turn planned as a chessboard pattern. Wards with the larger size plots are for people of higher ranks while the smaller plots are inhabited by people of lower ranks. 

In 1946, M Fayazuddin, the then town planner to the Nizam’s local government published a surveyed map of Sadasivapet showing the road pattern and physical development. This plan shows vacant areas in South-East and North-East corners utilised for cultivation. A temple is shown in the centre of the city which is called Brahmastana(at present there is no such temple) and to the south East corner of Brahmastana ward is shown occupied by Gadi, which is supposed to be occupied by the ruler of the town. And different wards were shown as occupied by Vyshyas, Gold Smiths, Black Smiths, Stone Cutters, Kassabins (Katika), Hunters, Weekly Market, etc. 

The highest contour level is 1785 at the centre of the town, 1760 near the periphery of the town. The town was encircled with a fort wall comprising four gates on four sides leading to Nandi Kandi on East, Siddapuram on South, Kohir on West, Atmakur on North. Presently, there are no such gateways. 

After scrutinising the town map in Google Earth and the map prepared by M Fayazuddin, it is found that during the last six decades buildings have come up in the cultivated lands and spread outside the fort walls in a haphazard manner due to the urbanisation. One more unique thing of Sadasivpet is the usage of ancient land measuring unit called Nivarthana for each ward. 

Nivarthana is an area measuring unit in the medieval period. One 40 yds x 40 yds. This was mentioned in Abhona plates inscription of the Kalachuri ruler Sankaragana of 597 AD. (Source 1) Most of the wards of this town confirm to the Nivarthana measurement served by roads of 5 dandas (30ft) of width. Two main roads passing through the center of the town are 6 dandas (36ft). Generally, in town planning, the method of using rectangular blocks is in vogue. For instance, the contemporary Indian city, Chandigarh is planned with rectangular blocks measuring half a mile by three-fourth mile. But using square blocks is a unique concept. Further study regarding the sub-division of these blocks may reveal some innovative concept of ancient day Indian Planning. 

In independent India, no other ancient city other than Jaipur invited so much attention from the scholars, architects and town planners for its unique town planning based on the tenets of Vaastu Shastras. But only a few know that there is also one ancient town called Sadasivapet in Telangana built as per the principles of ancient science called Vaastu Shastras based on ancient land measuring unit, Nivarthana. 

The Government should take appropriate action to conserve this town for its uniqueness in town planning for the posterity. 

By: Avala Buchi Reddy The writer is former chairman of Indian Institute of Architects A.P. Chapter (1992-94).