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India's temple architecture is developed from the sthapathis' and shilpis'
creativity. In general these are from the vishwakarma community.A small Hindu temple consists
of an inner sanctum, thegarbha
griha or womb-chamber, in
which the image is housed, often circumambulation, a congregation hall, and
possibly an antechamber and porch. The sanctum is crowned by a tower-like shikara.
At the turn of the first millennium CE two
major types of temples existed, the northern or Nagara style and the
southern or Dravida type of temple. They are distinguishable by the shape
and decoration of theirshikharas (Dehejia
- Nagara style: The tower is beehive
- Dravida: The tower consists of
progressively smaller storeys of pavilions.
The earliest Nagar temples
are in Karnataka (e.g.
and some very early Dravida-style
temples (e.g. Teli-ka-Mandir at Gwalior)
are actually in North India. A complex style termed Vesara was
once common in Karnataka which
combined the two styles.
This may be seen in the classic Hindu temples
of India andSoutheast
Asia, such as Angkor
Main article: Vastu
The temple is
a representation of the macrocosm (the universe)
as well as themicrocosm (the
empire rose with the Shishunaga
dynasty in around 650 BC. The Ashtadhyayi of Panini,
the great grammarian of the 5th century BC speaks of images that were used
in Hindu temple
worship. The ordinary images were called pratikriti and the images for
worship were called archa (see As. 5.3.96-100). Patanjali,
the 2nd century BC author of the Mahabhashya commentary
on the Ashtadhyayi, tells us more about the images. Deity images for salewere
called Shivaka etc., but an archa of Shiva was just called Shiva.Patanjali mentions
Shiva and Skanda deities. There is also mention of the worship of Vasudeva (Krishna).
We are also told that some images could be moved and some were immoveable.
Panini also says that an archa was not to be sold and that there were people
(priests) who obtained their livelihood by taking care of it.
Panini and Patanjali mention temples which were called prasadas. The earlier
Shatapatha Brahmana of the period of the Vedas, informs us of an image in
the shape of Purusha which was placed within the altar.
The Vedic books describe the plan of the temple to be square. This plan is
divided into 64 or 81 smaller square, where each of these represent a
Amongst the foremost interpreters of Indian art and architecture are Dr.
V. Ganapati Sthapati, Stella
Vatsyayan, and Dr.
Jessie J. Mercay . The
greatest living traditional temple architect is Dr. V. Ganapati Sthapati
(Chennai) the only living Shilpi Guru. He is followed by his grand nephew
Santhanam Krishna Sthapati of Chennai. Both are associated with The American
University of Mayonic Science and Technology, which teaches Vaastu Shastras
and building architecture of Sthaptya Veda. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan
Mandir & Complex in Lilburn, Georgia (USA) is a great example of how
traditional hindu architectural elements have been combined with modern
building codes and construction techiques. Tony Patel, Partner with
Alpharetta, Georgia (USA) based Newport Design Group Architects served as
the projects Coordinating Architect for the project. The firm has been
involved in several other significant indian religious projects as well.
style originated during A.D.
450 in Aihole and
perfected in Pattadakal and Badami.
The period of Badami
Chalukyas was a glorious era
in the history of Indian architecture. The capital of the Chalukyas, Vatapi
Karnataka in Karnataka)
is situated at the mouth of a ravine between two rocky hills. Between 500
and 757 AD, Badami
Chalukyas established the
foundations of cave temple architecture, on the banks of the Malaprabha
River. Those styles mainly include Aihole, Pattadakal and Badami.
The sites were built out of sandstone cut
into enormous blocks from the outcrops in the chains of the Kaladgi hills.
At Badami, Chalukyas carved
some of the finest cave
the large trees under which the shrine nestles.
known as the "Cradle of Indian
architecture," there are over 150 temples scattered around the village.
The Ladkhan temple is the oldest. The Durga Temple is notable for its
semi-circular apse, elevated plinth and the gallery that encircles the
sanctum sanctorum. A sculpture of Vishnu sitting
atop a large cobra is at Hutchimali Temple. The Ravalphadi cave temple
celebrates the many forms of Shiva. Other temples include the Konthi temple
complex and the Meguti Jain temple.
Pattadakal is a (World
Heritage Site), where one finds the Virupaksha temple; it is the biggest
temple, having carved scenes from the Ramayana and
Other temples at Pattadakal are
Mallikarjuna, Kashivishwanatha, Galaganatha and Papanath.
The Gadag style
of architecture is also called Western
style flourished for 150 years (1050 to 1200 CE); in this period, about 50
temples were built. Some examples are the Saraswati temple in theTrikuteshwara temple
complex at Gadag,
Temple at Lakkundi,
and the Amriteshwara temple at Annigeri.
which is marked by ornate pillars with intricate sculpture. This
style originated during the period of the Kalyani
Chalukyas (also known asWestern
The design which flourished in eastern Indian state of Orissa and
Northen Andhra Pradesh are called Kalinga style of architecture.The style
consists of three distinct type of temples namely Rekha
Deula,Pidha Deula andKhakhara
Deula.The former two are associated with Vishnu,Surya and Shivatemple
while the third is mainly with Chamunda and Durga temples.The
Rekha deula and Khakhara deula houses the sanctum sanctorum while the Pidha
Deula constitutes outer dancing and offering halls.The example of Rekha
deula are Lingaraj
Temple, Puri.The example of Khakhara deula are Vaital
Sun Temple is an living
example of Pidha deula.
Māru-Gurjara Temple Architecture originated
somewhere in sixth century in and around areas of Rajasthan. Māru-Gurjara
Architecture show the deep
understanding of structures and refined skills of Rajasthani craftmen of
bygone era.Māru-Gurjara Architecture has
two prominent styles Maha-Maru and Maru-Gurjara.
According to M. A. Dhaky,Maha-Maru style
developed primarily in Marudesa, Sapadalaksa, Surasena and
parts of Uparamala whereas Maru-Gurjaraoriginated
in Medapata, Gurjaradesa-Arbuda, Gurjaradesa-Anarta and some areas of
Gujarat.  Scholars
such as George Michell, M.A. Dhaky, Michael W. Meister and U.S. Moorti
believe that Māru-Gurjara
Temple Architecture is
entirely Western Indian architecture
and is quite different from the North Indian Temple architecture. This
further shows the cultural and ethnic separation of Rajasthanis from North
Indian culture. There is a connecting link betweenMāru-Gurjara
Architecture and Hoysala Temple
Architecture. In both of these styles architecture is treated sculpturally.