In 83 chapters, subjects treated are town planning, house architecture, temple architecture and sculptural arts together with Mudras (the different hand poses and the poses of the body as well as the postures of legs), the canons of painting, and a chapter on the art of mechanical contrivances, the yantras (chapter 31).
Here are some verses from Samarangana Sutradhara, which describes characteristics a "sthapati" i.e. architect (based on translation by Punya Mishra).
- The architect should be well-versed in the science involving the significance of objects to be created and their specifications. He should know the theory and the practice; he should have the insight and the skill accompanied with procedure.[this quote needs a citation]
- That person is said to be an expert in workmanship who knows how to sketch the ground plan, draftsmanship, the horizontal and vertical measurements, the details of ground work of the plot, the 14 kinds of sketch lines, the cutting of the logs and stones etc., and seven kinds of circular sections; well finished joinings of the joints and proper demarcation of upper, lower and outer lines.[this quote needs a citation]
- An sthapati should know eightfold workmanship, the draftsmanship and sketches of various kinds, and variety of carpentery, stone-masonry and gold-smithy. The engineer equipped with these merits invokes respect. One who knows the fourfold engineering with its eight constituents and who is pure in his mind gets status in the assembly of engineers, and is endowed with a long life.[this quote needs a citation]
Samarangana Sutradhara also includes a chapter about the decoration of palaces, which describes the construction of mechanical contrivances (automata), including mechanical bees and birds, fountains shaped like humans and animals, and male and female dolls that refilled oil lamps, danced, played instruments, and re-enacted scenes from Hindu mythology.
- Sastri, T.G. (1924)
- Kumar, Pushpendra, Bhoja's Samarangana-Sutradhara : Vastushastra. 2 Vols, New Bharatiya Book Corporation (2004), ISBN 81-87418-92-3.
- Sharma, Sudarshan Kumar, Samarangana Sutradhara of Bhojadeva : An Ancient Treatise on Architecture, 2 Vols. (2007), ISBN 81-7110-302-2..
- Varadpande, Manohar Laxman (1987). History of Indian Theatre, Volume 1. p. 68.
- Wujastyk, Dominik (2003). The Roots of Ayurveda: Selections from Sanskrit Medical Writings. p. 222.
- Needham, Joseph (1965). Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 4, Physics and Physical Technology Part 2, Mechanical Engineering. p. 164.