Hindu temple architecture

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Dodda Basappa Temple at Dambal,Karnataka is a unique 24-pointed, uninterrupted stellate (star-shaped), 7-tiered dravida plan, 12th century CE
The main entrance to Angkor
Shiva temple, the main shrine of Prambanan,Central Java

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 1997).

  • Nagara style: The tower is beehive shaped.
  • Dravida: The tower consists of progressively smaller storeys of pavilions.

The earliest Nagar temples are in Karnataka (e.g. Galaganath atPattadakal) 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 Wat, Brihadisvara Temple,Khajuraho, Mukteshvara, and Prambanan.

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[edit]Design and history

Dravida Style Thanjavur temple, Tamil Nadu

The temple is a representation of the macrocosm (the universe) as well as themicrocosm (the inner space).

The Magadha 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 specific divinity.

Amongst the foremost interpreters of Indian art and architecture are Dr. V. Ganapati Sthapati, Stella Kramrisch, Vidya Dehija, M.A. Dhaky, Lokesh Chandra, Kapila 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.

[edit]Badami Chalukya architecture

Mallikarjuna and Kasivisvanatha temples atPattadakal

The Chalukya style originated during A.D. 450 in Aihole and perfected in Pattadakal and Badami.[1]

The period of Badami Chalukyas was a glorious era in the history of Indian architecture. The capital of the Chalukyas, Vatapi (Badami, inBagalkot district, North 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 temples.Mahakuta, the large trees under which the shrine nestles.

In Aihole, 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 the Mahabharata. Other temples at Pattadakal are Mallikarjuna, Kashivishwanatha, Galaganatha and Papanath.

[edit]Gadag Architecture style

Ornate Gadag style pillars at Sarasvati Temple, Trikuteshwaratemple complex at Gadag

The Gadag style of architecture is also called Western Chalukya architecture.[2]The 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, the Doddabasappa Temple atDambal, the Kasivisvesvara Temple at Lakkundi, and the Amriteshwara temple at Annigeri. which is marked by ornate pillars with intricate sculpture.[3] This style originated during the period of the Kalyani Chalukyas (also known asWestern Chalukya) Someswara I.

[edit]Kalinga Architecture style

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,Jagannath Temple, Puri.The example of Khakhara deula are Vaital Deula.TheKonark Sun Temple is an living example of Pidha deula.

[edit]Māru-Gurjara Temple Architecture

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. [4] 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.[5] 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.[6]

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[edit]See also