Mention the distinctive features of Dravida style and discuss how it developed under the Pallavas and Cholas describing the architecture of one temple of each dynasty.

Dravidian style temples consist almost invariably of the four following parts:
The principle part, the temple itself, is called the Vimana (or Vimanam). It is always square in plan and surmounted by a pyramidal roof of one or more stories; it contains the cell where the image of the god or his emblem is placed.

  • The porches or Mandapas (or Mantapams), which always cover and precede the door leading to the cell.
  • Gate-pyramids, Gopurams, which are the principal features in the quadrangular enclosures that surround the more notable temples.
  • Pillared halls or Chaultris—properly Chawadis — used for various purposes, and which are the invariable accompaniments of these temples.

Besides these, a temple always contains temple tanks or wells for water (used for sacred purposes or the convenience of the priests), dwellings for all grades of the priesthood are attached to it, and other buildings for state or convenience.
Earlier there was no royal patronage to temple building of Dravida style but the tradition of direct patronization of the temples began with the Pallavas.
Under the ablest kings such as Mahendravarman, Pallavas extended their territories to the Tamil Nadu. From the time of great Mahendravarman, finest examples of Pallava art were created in Tamil Nadu such as Shore Temple and 7 pagodas of Mahabalipuram.
Kailasanatha Temple, Kanchipuram is best building created during the reign of Pallava King Narsimhamvaraman.
The Chola period saw the culmination of Dravida temple art resulting in the most sophisticated buildings of medieval India. The Tamil Nadu temples were fully evolved in their style and design by the 8th century.
The Dravidian Style got fully developed after a transition from the rock cut structures of the Pallava Period.
Vijayalaya Cholisvara Temple, Thanjore dedicated to lord Shiva is a classic example of Dravida style temple of Cholas.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Mention the distinctive features of Dravida style and discuss how it developed under the Pallavas and Cholas describing the architecture of one temple of each dynasty.

Published: May 1, 2016 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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