Temples Styles in North India (Nagara Style)
Elements of Hindu Temples
|Shikhara or Vimana||
Classification of Indian Temples
- Nagara (North India)
- Dravida (South India)
- Vesara style→ an independent style → mixure of Nagara and Dravida styles
Nagara School of Architecture
- Style of temple architecture that became popular in northern India
- a square temple with a number of graduated projections (rathakas)
- A tower (sikhara) gradually curving inwards and capped by a spheroid slab with ribs round the edge (Amalaka) give the elevation
- Prominent features → Shikaras (Spiral roofs), Garbhagriha (sanctum) & Mandap (pillared hall)
- Thus the two major characteristics of this style are the cruciform ground plan and the curvilinear tower
Three subtypes of Nagara temple depending upon the shape of Shikhara:
Rekha Prasad / Latina
- Simple Shikhara → Square at the base and the walls curve inward to a point on the top.
- Latina types are mainly used for housing the garbhagriha
- The top is called ‘latina’ or the rekha-Prasad type of Shikhara.
- Phamsana buildings tend to be broader and shorter than latina buildings.
- Their roofs are composed of several slabs that gently rise to a single point over the center of building, unlike the latina ones which look like sharply rising tall towers.
- They do not curve inwards, instead they slope upwards on a straight incline.
- In many North Indian temples Phamsana was used for mandapa and latina for Garbhgriha.
- Rectangular building with a roof that rises into a vaulted chamber.
- They are usually called as wagon vaulted buildings
Three sub schools developed under Nagara style:
- Most of the main temple sites are located in ancient Puri and Konark.
- Here the shikhara, called deul in Odisha, is vertical almost until the top when it suddenly curves sharply inwards.
- Deuls are preceded, as usual, by mandapas called jagamohana in Odisha.
- The ground plan of the main temple is square, which, in the upper reaches of its superstructure becomes circular in the crowning mastaka.
- The exterior of the temples are lavishly carved, their interiors generally quite bare.
- Odisha temples usually have boundary walls.
- Example: Konark Temple, Jagannath temple, Lingaraj temple.
- Khajuraho’s temples are known for their extensive erotic sculptures
- Patronized by Chandela kings of Bundelkhand (10th and 11th century).
- These 22 temples (out of the original 85) are regarded as one of world’s greatest artistic wonders.
- The finest among them is Shaivite temple known as Kandariya Mahadev, built around 10th century by King Ganda
- The standard type of Khajuraho temple has a shrine room, an assembly hall, and an entrance portico.
- These entities were treated as a whole, whereas in the Odishan style they were conceived as separate elements.
- The sikhara is curved for its whole length, and miniature sikharas emerge from the central tower.
- The halls and porticos of the temple are also crowned with smaller towers which rise progressively upto the main tower.
- Vishnu Temple at Chaturbhunj (MP) is another prominent temples at Khajuraho.
- Patronized by Solanki kings (later Chalukya) of Gujarat (11th to 13th century).
- The Vimala, Tejpala and Vastupala temples at Mount Abu exhibit this style.
- Dilwara temple in Mt Abu – Highest Jain pilgrimage
- Exquisite example is Sun temple at Modhera, built by Raja Bhimdev-I of the Solanki Dynasty in 1026
- There is a massive rectangular stepped tank called the suryakund in front of it.
- 108 miniature shrines are carved in between the steps inside the tank.
- A huge ornamental arch-torana leads one to the sabha mandapa (the assemblyhall) which is open on all sides.
- Every year at the time of the equinoxes, the sun shines directly into the central shrine.