Subjects /Art and Culture - UPSC & Other STATE PSC SSC & BANKING GK / Temple Architecture and its Types
Different styles of Temples found in India are:
- Nagara in North
- Dravida in South
- Vesara – independent style created through the selective mixing of Nagara and Dravida.
Pala and Sena Style
Basic Structure of Hindu Temple
A gradual progression from the flat-roofed, monolithic temples to sculptured shikhara is seen in the temple architecture. However, the basic structure of the temples included:
- Garbhagriha (cave-like Sanctum Sanctorum): Single entrance chamber to house main icon which is the focus of much ritual attention.
- Mandapa: Entrance to the temple that incorporates space for large number of worshippers.
- Shikhar and Vimana: Free standing temples tend to have mountain-like spire which tool shape of curving shikhar in North India and pyramidal tower called Vimana in South India.
- Vahan: mount or vehicle of temple’s main deity along with a standard pillar.
North Indian Temple Styles-Nagara
- The entire temple is built on single stone platform with steps leading up to it. It doesn’t have elaborate boundary walls of gateways.
- Garbhagriha: It is always located directly under the tallest tower.
- Assembly halls or mandaps: It is present in front of the main deity.
- Pradakshina Path: The ambulatory path around the Garbhagriha is covered.
- The temple wall is divided into vertical planes called rath:
- If divided into 3 vertical planes, then called trirath.
- If divided into 5 vertical planes, then it is called pancharatha.
- Later on, saptaratha and navaratha temples came into existence.
- Subdivisions of Nagar temples based on the shape of the Shikhara:
- Rekha-prasada Type: Shikhara is square at the base and walls slope inward to a point on top called latina or rekha-prasada.
- Phamsana: Buildings are broader and shorter than latina. Roofs are composed of several slabs that gently rise to a single point over the centre of the building. Phamsana roofs slope upwards on straight incline.
- Valabhi Type: Rectangular buildings with a roof that rises into a valuted chamber. The edge of chamber is rounded.
- In Nagar, different sub-schools emerged, namely:
- Central Temple Styles
- Western Temple Styles
- Eastern Temple Styles
- The Hills
Central India Temples
- It includes the area of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
- The temples are made of Sandstone.
- At Deogarh temple:
- It is in Panchayatana style i.e. main shrine built on rectangular plinth of four smaller subsidiary shrines at the four corners.
- Tall and curvilinear shikhara.
- It is a classic Nagar temple.
- It is west-facing temple with female figures of Ganga and Yamuna on doorway.
- The temple depicts Vishnu in various forms. Also, called Dasavatara temple.
- Three main reliefs if Vishnu on the walls: Sheshashayana, Nara-Narayan and Gajendramoksha.
- Lakshmana Temple dedicated to Vishnu is the grandest temple of Khajuraho built in 954 by the Chandela king, Dhanga.
- He also founded Jain temple, Chausanth Yogini temple.
Western India Temples
It includes Gujarat and Rajasthan
- The Sun temple, Modhera, Gujarat:
- It was built by Raja Bhimdev I of Solanki dynasty (branch of later Chaulakyas).
- It has Surya kund, a massive rectangular stepped tank.
- Huge ornamental arch-torana leads one to the Sabha mandapa.
- Mandapa: It housed the idol of the Sun God before being plundered by Mahmud Ghazni.
- The walls of central small shrine are devoid of carvings.
- At time of equinoxes, Sun shines directly into central shrine.
- In 2014, the Modhera Sun Temple was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.