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Plan and elevation

The Nagara style which developed for the fifth

century is characterized by a beehive shaped tower
(called a shikhara, in northern terminology) made up
of layer upon layer of architectural elements such as
kapotas and gavaksas, all topped by a large round
cushion-like element called an amalaka.
The plan is based on a square but the walls are
sometimes so broken up that the tower often gives
the impression of being circular.
Moreover, in later developments such as in the
Chandella temples, the central shaft was surrounded
by many smaller reproductions of itself, creating a
spectacular visual effect resembling a fountain

The adhisthana,the plinth the tall platform with one
or more flights of steps leading up it .
The ardhamandapa , a hypostyle entrance porch
The mandap a hypostyle room with pyramidal
The antrala , a hall the space that joins the mandap
to the inner sanctum .
The garha-gihra the square inner sanctum that
houses the murti of the divinity
The shikhara ,the ogival structure that stands over
the inner sanctum , is perhaps ,influcened by the
ancient vedic altar covering made bamboo.

Location: Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh,India

The Khajuraho temples are a pinnacle of the

North Indian Nagara architectural style.
The Nagara style's primary feature is a central
tower (shikhara) whose highest point is directly
over the temple's primary deity. This is often
surrounded by smaller, subsidiary towers
(urushringa) and intermediate towers; these
naturally draw the eye up to the highest point,
like a series of hills leading to a distant peak.
Setting the temple on a raised base

(adhisthana) also shifts the eye upward, and

promotes this vertical quality.
The true arch was unknown in classical India.
The arches in Khajuraho's temple are made by
a technique known as corbelling, in a dome or
arch is created by overlapping masonry
courses .

Amalaka: a stone disk, usually with ridges on the rim,

that sits atop the temple's main tower. According to
one interpretation, the amalaka represents a lotus,
and thus the symbolic seat for the deity below.

Another interpretation is that it symbolizes the sun,

and is thus the gateway to the heavenly world. The
amalaka itself is crowned with a kalasha (finial), from
which a temple banner is often hung.
Entrance Porch (Ardhamandapa): The entrance porch
formed a transitional area between the outside world
and the mandapa or hall. Most temple buildings
have some sort of transitional space between the
central shrine (garbhagrha) and the outside world,
but only the largest, most developed temples will
have all of these elements.
Hall (Mandapa): A hall in the temple, forming a
transitional space between the ardhamandapa and
mahamandapa. In smaller or less architecturally
developed temples, this was usually omitted.

Inner Sanctum (Garbhagrha): The temple's inner

sanctum, containing the image of the temple's
primary deity. The basic function of a Hindu temple
is to serve as the deity's dwelling-place. The word
garbha can mean either "womb" or "embryo;" both
meanings connote potentiality, hiddenness, and a
sense of development. The garbhagrha was located
directly below the summit of the highest tower, with
the primary deity directly under the highest point.
Smaller temples may only have a small shrine room
at the back end of the temple but larger temples
often also have a processional pathway around the
central shrine, via which devotees can circle around
the deity as a gesture of respect and worship.
Secondary Tower (Urushringa): smaller towers on
the temple's exterior to lead the eye up to the
highest point. Their shape often replicates that of
the tallest central tower, and serves to draw the eye
upward toward it.
Base Platform (Adhishsthana): The raised base
on which a temple was built. These are particularly
high in the temples at Khajuraho, and by their height
accentuate these temple's upward thrust.


Dravidian architecture was an architectural idiom

that emerged in the southern part of the Indian
subcontinent or south India.
It consists primarily of temples with pyramid-shaped
towers and is constructed of sandstone, soapstone or
Mentioned as one of three styles of temple building
in the ancient book Vastu Shastra, the majority of the
existing structures are located in the southern Indian
states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Andhra
Various kingdoms and empires such as the Cholas
the Chera, the Pandya, the Pallavas, The Gangas,
the Rshtrakutas the Chalukyas the Hoysalas
and Vijayanagara Empire among others have made
substantial contribution to the evolution of Dravidian
Hence, the Dravidian architecture developed into its
own form and tradition.
Temples were not only place of worship but also
center of learning. Along with elaborate religious
rituals, festivals, performances of dances, dramas
based on religious theme were continued.
Dravidians being fine craftsman, temples were
designed most elegantly with great interest to
display ornamentation and fine art that covered
every part of the temple.

Dravidian architecture which dates back from 600 AD

to 1000 AD may broadly be divided into rock-cut
monuments to structural monuments.
Dravidian architecture is sub divided into 5 styles:
1. Pallava style
2. Chola style
3. Pandya style
4. Vijayanagar style
5. Late Pandya style or Madhura style

Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu




temple comes under the category: VIJAYANAGAR STYLE.

Srirangam is home to significant population of
Srivaishnavites followers of Lord Vishnu.
The temple complex is the biggest functioning Hindu
temple in the world as it covers an area of about

631,000 sq m (6,790,000 sq ft) with a perimeter of 4

km (10,710 sq ft).
The temple complex is 156 acres (0.63 sq km) in
The complex is composed of 7 concentric walled
sections and 21 magnificent towers or gopuram.
The gopuram of the temple is called the
Rajagopuram and is 236 feet (72m) tall, is the tallest
in Asia.
It also consists of 39 pavilions, 50 shrines, a hall of
thousand pillars and several small water bodies
The Srirangam temple complex follows Dravidian
style of architecture.
This temple is glorified in the divya prabandha, the
early tamil literature canon of the alvar saints from
the 6th to 9th century AD.
This temple is also counted as the first and the
foremost among the 108 Divya desams dedicated to
Lord Vishnu.
The annual 21 day festival conducted during the
Tamil month of margazhi (december-january) attracts
one million visitors very year.
The construction of the main gopuram was started
during the reign of Achyuta Deva Raya of

- The main gopuram of

Sriranganatha swamy
temple, Srirangam,

are 21

which is the
towering 236
of the main
The 73m high 13
built in 1987 by
Ahobila Mutt
dominates the landscape for miles around, while
the remaining gopurams were built during 14th to
17th centuries.
The structure of the rajagopuram remained
incomplete at the base 17m high for 400years.
It was consecrated on 25th march 1987 after a span
of 8 years.
The dimensions at the base of the gopuram is
166ft x 97ft, while at the top is 98ft x 32ft.

Befitting the gargantaun dimensions of the

structure , everyone of the 13 glistening copper
kalasams atop the tower weighs 135kg and
measures 3.12m (height) and 1.56m (diameter).
Google Earth view:


hall of 1000 pillars

(actually 953) is a
fine example of a
planned theatre-like
structure and
opposite to it is
sesha mandapa
with its intricacy in
sculpture, is a delight.

The hall is made of granite and was constructed in

vijayanagara period (1336-1565) on the site of the
old temple.
The pillar consists of wildly rearing horses bearing
riders on their backs and trampling with their hoofs
upon the heads of rampant tigers.
The great hall is traversed by one side aisle in the
centre for the whole of its greater length, and
intersected by transepts of like dimensions running
across right angles.
There still remain seven side aisles on each side, in
which all the pillars are equally spaced out.
A free standing shrine inside the hall contains a
large seated figure of garuda; the eagle headed god
faces the north towards the principal sanctum.
The hall is celebrated for the leaping animals carved
on to the piers at its northern ends.