Discuss the Basic Structure of a Hindu Temple outlining the key differences between Nagara, Dravida, Vesra, Gadag and Kalinga style of temple architecture.

A simple Hindu temple comprises the following the following parts essentially: Garbhagriha, Mandapa, Shikhara / Vimana and Vahana.
The temples can be distinguished with the Shikhara or Vimana. On this basis, there are two types of temple viz. Nagara which is North Indian and Dravida, which is South India.
The northern-style (Nagara), Shikhara is shaped like a beehive and is made up of layer upon layer of architectural elements called kapotas and gavakshas. The temple also has a very unusual, open ambulatory around the sanctum, with pillars and no wall on the outside.
In Dravida style, tower consists of progressively smaller storeys of pavilions.
The Vesara style has characters of both Nagara and Dravida.
The Gadag style is a feature of the Western Chalukya temples and it is characterized by ornate columns.
The Kalinga architecture is has Rekha Deula, Pidha Deula and Khakhara Deula types of temples. Out of them the Khakhara Deula is essentially of a female deity such as Durga or Chamunda. Konark Sun temple is a Pidha Deula.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Discuss the Basic Structure of a Hindu Temple outlining the key differences between Nagara, Dravida, Vesra, Gadag and Kalinga style of temple architecture.

Published: May 1, 2016 | Modified:October 15, 2020

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