Indian sub-continent is well known as the Land of temples. Same possess hundreds of temples which are over 1000 years old. Although same has been destroyed by the, invading forces, destructive forces of time and weather the temples of India remain as the greatest legacy of the ancient Indians. It has been a practice in India to remember the divinity by building magnificent temples. Therefore, India is also known as the country of temples.
In the north and south India consist of the distinct architectural styles of temple construction. Same was the result of the broad geographical, racial, historical, and climate difference.
The Vastu Shastras, the ancient canonical texts on architecture, classify temples into three different orders:
- The Nagara or the Indo-Aryan or Northern style,
- The Dravida or the Southern style and
- The Vesara or Mixed styles of temple architecture.
Nagara style is very popular in northern India. It’s a square shaped temple with a number of graduated projections. A tower gradually curving inwards & capped by a spheroid slab with ribs round the edge give the elevation. Originally in nagara style, there were no pillars. In Nagara style temples, the structure consists of two buildings, the main shrine taller including an adjoining shorter mandapa. The main disparity between these two is the shape of the shikhara.
The Dravida Architectural style is associated with the temples of southern India or Deccan. Where the temples are built in the Dravida style, the square inner sanctum is set within a large covered enclosure. The external walls are divided into niches by pilasters. Pillars and pilasters are vastly used in this architectural style.
The Vesara is a hybrid style that borrowed from the northern and southern styles. So, temple architecture is a blend of both Nagara and Dravida styles. Temples built in the southern India under the later Chalukyas of Kalyani and Hoysalas are considered examples of this style. Even though the numbers of tiers are retained, Vesara style reduces the height of the temple towers.
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