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Subject- History of Architecture

Topic- Typical plan of temple architecture

The sanctuary as whole is known as the

Vimana that consist of two parts.

The upper part of the

Vimana is called as the sikhara.

The lower portion inside the vimana is called as the.

Garbhagriha (cella or inner chamber)
Sikhara meaning the tower or the spire

It is the pyramidal or tapering portion of the temple which

represents the mythological Meru or the highest
mountain peak
The shape and the size of the tower vary from region to

Garbhagriha meaning the womb chambher

It is nucleus and the innermost chambher of the temple

where the image or idol of the deity is olaced
The chambher is mostly square in plan and is entered by a
doorway on its eastern side
The visitors are not allowed inside the chamber
Pradakshina patha means the ambulatory passageway.

It consist of enclosed corridor carried around the outside of

garbhagriha .

The devotees walk around the deity in clockwise direction

as a workship ritual and symbol of respect to the temple god
or goddess.
Mandapa is the pillared hall in front of the garbhagriha ,
for the assembly of the devotees.

It is used by the devotees to sit , pray , chant , meditate

and watch the priest performing the rituals.

It is also known as Natamandira meaning temple hall of

dancing , where in olden days ritual of music and dance
was performed.

In some of the earlier temples the mandapa was an

isolated and separate structure from the santuary.
Antarala meaning the vestibule or the intermediate

It unites the main sanctuary and the pillared hall of the


Ardhamandapa meaning the front porch or the main

entrance of the temple leading to the mandapa.
Some other essential elements found in the hindu temples

Gopurams meaning the monumental and ornate tower at

the entrance of the temple complex, specially found in
south india.

Pitha the plinth or the platform of the temple.

Toranas the typical gateway of the temple mostly found in

north indian temple.

The Amalaka the fluted disc like stone placed at the apex
of the shikhara.

Dravidian style
Nagara style
Kalinga style

In the southern Dravidian style, the tower or gopuram

consists of progressive smaller stories of pavilions.

These temples were square in plan and pyramidal in

shape; included porches (mandapams) and pillard halls
(chaultris or chawadis); and contained tanks or wells for
water to be used for sacred purposes or the convenience
of the priests.

For example Brihadeshwar temple.


Located at Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu.


This temple took 12 years to complete ,and king Raja

Raja Chola.
It was constructed in 1011A.D ..
The central attraction is the great vimana built over the
sanctum, which is 216 feet height.
It has 14 storeys of intricate sculpting with pilasters and
niches ,and images of god.
The main sanctum of the temple is the Mahalingam, a
huge lingam that is 23 feet in circumference and 9 feet
An interesting note is the central stone of the vimana,
which weighted 235 lbs and was carried to the top by a
scaffold built especially for this purpose, which was 4
miles long.

The plan is square with number of gradual projections

in the middle of each side which imparts it a cruciform
In Nagara style temples, the structure consist of 2
buildings, the main shrine taller and an adjoining
shorter mandapa.
The main difference between these two is the shape of
the shikhara.
In this style, the temple mainly are formed of 4
chambers, first the Garbhagriha, then second
Jagmohan, third Natyamandir, and fourth chamber
the Bhogamandir.
For example khajuraho temple
Khajuraho temple

Located at Chhatarpur, Madhya pradesh

Khajuraho temple

This temple was built during the reign of the

It is constructed between 950 and 1050 A.D.
Originally 85 temples, of which only 22 still exist.
Building raised platform- terraces of about 2.5M
height by using assorted granite blocks.
Spires rise gradually in height from the porch to the
The main shikhara over the garbha griha has smaller
spires clustered around.
Not of great size, the largest only slightly over 100ft in

In kalinga architecture, basically a temple is made in 2

parts, a tower and a hall.
The tower is called deul and the hall is called Jagmohan.
The walls of both the deul and the Jagmohan are lavishly
sculpted with architectural motifs and a profusion of
The most repeated form is the horseshoe shape, which
has come from the earliest times, starting with the large
windows of the Chaitya-grihas.
It is the deul or deula which makes 3 distinct types of
temples in kalinga architecture.
3 types of deula are Rekha deula, pidha deula, khakra
For example Sun Temple of konark.
Sun Temple Konark

Located at Konark,Odisha
Sun temple konark

This temple was built by king Narasimhadeva I of easten

ganga dynasty in 1255CE.
The temple has been built in the form of a giant
ornamented chariot of the Sun god, Surya.
It has 12 pairs of elaborately carved stone wheels which
are 3 meters wide and is pooled by a set of 7 horses.
It is carefully oriented towards the east so that the first
rays of sunrise strikes the principal entrance.
The temple is built from khondalite rocks.
The original temple had a main sanctum sanctorum,
which was supposedly 229 feet tall.
Temple view