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Posts Tagged ‘Chakra vyuha’

What does I mean by “Indian labyrinth”? Therewith I understand at first a simple 3- or more circuit labyrinth (round two turning points) with a spiral in the middle. The spiral can have any number of lines. We therefore deal with a composite design.

The Labyrinth Society (TLS) classifies it as “Other Classical Seed Patterns”, whereby as subtypes are named the “Chakra-Vyuha Labyrinth” and the “Baltic Labyrinth”.

This type is still floating around, and is it as a decoration on a birthday tart, as recently did Lisa Gidlow Moriarty (USA):

Chakra Vyuha on a tart

Chakra Vyuha on a birthday tart, created and © Lisa Moriarty

Such a labyrinth can be generated from a seed pattern which is based on a triangle. It is also called Chakra Vyuha. However, there are also other seed patterns known (see related Posts below).

And therefore it is diffculty to classify all the types in a common typology, partly because they emerge quite differently in time and space.

I start with a simple labyrinth. It is found in Hermann Kern’s book and dates from the 12th century.

Chakra Vyuha

The Indian Labyrinth, Source: Hermann Kern, Labyrinthe (1982), fig. 602, p. 422 (German edition)

The Babylonian visceral labyrinth on a clay tablet with the number 9560 in the Vorderasiatisches Museum Berlin is about 2000 years older. The archeologist Ernst Friedrich Weidner (read more here) shows it in a report from 1917 as fig. 4:

The Babylonian visceral labyrinth

The Babylonian visceral labyrinth VAT 9560, fig. 4

This does not look as if it had been made from a basic pattern.

The visceral labyrinth in three moves

The visceral labyrinth in three moves

But it can be drawn in three moves. I begin in the middle, draw the spiral, make a loop outwards on the right side and shift in a bow to the left side (green line). Then I begin a new line inside the loop, round the preceding line and end the line at the underside of the spiral (blue line). The third line begins near the preceding line and shifts to the left (yellow line).

The Chakra Vyuha can be drawn the same way:

The Chakra Vyuha in two moves

The Chakra Vyuha in two moves

The path of the labyrinth, Ariadne’s thread, must be drawn in one move.

This can be done from the inside outwardly or also vice versa.


I had described a method to generate walk-through labyrinths from the type Wunderkreis with any desired circuits in the post “Variations on the Wunderkreis” (see related posts below).

This method, easily modified, can be also used to generate the composite labyrinths with spirals from any desired twists and simple labyrinths with three and more circuits.

Once again briefly the principles:

I begin in the middle and draw a spiral with at least one, however, also any desired turns. The boundary lines are colored in green, the path (Ariadne’s thread) in brown.

Round the spiral I add the desired number of labyrinthine circuits, at least three up to more (endlessly). But always an odd number.

From the outside inwards I draw the loops (in yellow). Because I must have an odd number of line ends for the boundary lines on every side, I begin or finish one line at the underside of the spiral.

In order to draw the boundary lines the middle free line inside the loops is extended forwards (in red).

In order to draw Ariadne’s thread I extend the most internal line forwards on the side with the odd number of line ends (in red). The remaining free line ends are connected in loops (in yellow).

In the last example I turn one more “lap of honour” (in black) around the whole. So I may produce with the right number of circuits the  historically verified Windelburg of Stolp.

The Windelburg of Stolp

The Windelburg of Stolp

The Windelburg of Stolp had a 3 circuit spiral and 15 labyrinthine circuits plus an additional circuit completely around.

How should one now classify the presented examples properly? One surely can not label all as Indian labyrinths. The Windelburg belongs rather to the Troy Towns and is also counted to the Baltic labyrinths. However, they all have the same pattern, belong to the same type.

To be able to build a labyrinth, one must bring it in a geometrically correct form. For this I choose the Windelburg, make less circuits and provide it in a layout drawing.

A new Windelburg

A new Windelburg

I present it as sort of prototype with 1 meter dimension between axes, a 2 circuit spiral and 9 labyrinthine circuits as a PDF file to look at, to print or to download.

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The type Baltic wheel is an own form of a labyrinth, for some strict experts it is even none. Since it often has branching paths and a second one, mainly short path from or to the middle. And often at that an outer path with more choices.
The best historical example is the Rad in der Eilenriede in Hannover (Germany). And the restored Wunderkreis of Kaufbeuren (Germany). Others have not survived and are only known in literature.
There is an affinity with the Indian labyrinth (Chakra Vyuha), because it is based like this on the triangle as a basic pattern.

A Baltic Wheel

A Baltic Wheel

Here I present a sort of prototype with a dimension between axes of 1 m which is so rotated that the central axis runs by the middle of the widening in the inner part. The eight circuits are surrounded by an outer ring and embedded in a circle with a total of 22 m for the diameter.

The whole is scaleable, that means the dimensions can be changed proportionally by multiplication with a factor. Every measurement multiplied by say 0.5 generates a labyrinth with a diameter of 11 m and a dimension between axes of 0.5 m and cut in halves all radii.
Best of all one starts in the middle and fixes at first the main axis with the points M1 and AX1. The remaining centres M2 to M4 are defined by intersecting the distances from two different (predetermined) points. M5 lies rectangular to the centre M1.

The salient points

The salient points

Then the axes of the different limitation lines are specified in their designated area starting from the precedent fixed centres of the circles. The different arcs follow each other freely of crease, because they come together in the common tangent vertically to the centre. This sounds more complicated than it is.

Design drawing

Design drawing

Here all measurements in a design drawing.

Here you may see, copy or print the design drawing as a PDF file

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This labyrinth has a triangle as a basic pattern. It is as easy to construct as the classical labyrinth. We do not know by whom it was invented. We also do not know whether his origin lies in the Indian cultural space . Often it is called Chakra Vyuha, a strategical battle formation which plays a role in the Hindu Mahabharata.

It has only two turning points and a centre that looks like a spiral (but however is not a real spiral). Variations are very slightly possible. Then one must add only some more sections to the basic triangle. Or form the centre a little bit differently, or make it bigger.

We begin with an easy implementation by dividing the sides of the triangle into 4 equal segments.

The basic pattern

The basic pattern

We start at the top and connect arched-shaped point 1 with the free end 1 of the line below.

The first steps

The first steps

Then we connect step by step from the left to the right in same distance every free end of a line or a point round the before drawn line from 2 to 6. The result is a labyrinth with two turning points and 5 circuits.

The complete labyrinth

The complete labyrinth

The exact centres and radii can be taken from the following drawing. The labyrinth is built by different arcs with different radii and different starting and endpoints. However, they stumble freely of crease each other. Thereby harmonious lines arise.

The layout

The layout

This labyrinth has another “feeling” than the classical 7-circuit labyrinth. One notices this if one is walking the labyrinth. This can be done really or with the eyes, e.g., here on the screen.
But typically as with all “real” labyrinths is, that from the beginning one turns immediately inside, goes back and outwardly and arrives unexpectedly suddenly the centre. This is also expressed in the path sequence: 3 – 2 – 1 – 4 – 5 – 6.

Here you will get the drawing as a PDF file to see, to print, to download, to copy it.

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