Sunday, January 6, 2013

Nagara Style - Indian Temple Styles



Another great achievement of Indian architecture is seen in the temple architecture. With its stately height and dignified proportions, varied forms and wealth of carvings and sculptures, the Indian temples are most impressive structures.

The Gupta period (4-5th century A. D. ) marks the beginning of Indian temple architecture. The Gupta temples are simple and unpretentious structures but their bearing upon later developments is of great significance. The most notable Gupta temples are the Dasavatra temple at Deograh (Jhansi district U. P. ) and the brick temple at Bhitargaon (Kanpur district, U. P. ). Each consists of a square sanctum cella supported on a high basement and covered by a squat Shikhara. In the post-Gupta period the temple architecture underwent further developments and to have crystallized to form three distinctive temple styles - the Nagara, the Dravida and the Vesara, each spread in its geographic region.

[caption id="attachment_2345" align="aligncenter" width="442"]The Nagara Style The Nagara Style Temple[/caption]

The Nagara Style was prevalent in Northern India in the region between the Himalayas and the Vindhyas. There appeared regional variations and ramifications in the formal development of the style, though they did not alter its basic characteristic. The Nagar type of temples were built on a cruciform ground- plan, on a raised platform with projections rathas or rathakas on the sides of its walls. Initially there were three projections, but later on they increased to five (pancharathas) and seven (saptarathas) and nine (navarathas). The floor pain of the temple was divided into five distinct sections. The visitor enters through the portico (ardhamandapa into the assembly hass (mandapa) which leads to the sanctum where the idol is enshrined. There is a vestibule (antarala) to cross and then finally the garbhagriha or cell-shaped sanctum. Around this shrine is the ambulatory or processional passage (pradakshina-patha). In the smaller temples this last feature is omitted as is the assembly hall. But the most remarkable feature of the Nagara style temples is the curvill near tower or Shikhara - spire - surrounded and flanked by countless sister towards. Of all the regional developments of the Nagara style the temples of Orissa are most remarkable.




The Redaresvara and Lingaraja temples at Bhubaneswar are the best examples of Nagara style of architecture. The Sun temple at Konark represents the fulfillment and finality of the Orissan architectural movement.

In Central India was developed another expression of the Nagara style, typical temples being found at Khajuraho (District Chhatarpur, M. P. ). The direction of development of the Nagara design here was almost the same as in Orissa. The interior and exterior of the temples is covered with hundreds of sculptured figures. Turning and twisting, carving and almost alive, they are, dazzling in their profusion and astounding in their detail - many of them being erotic fantasies.

In Gujarat and Rajasthan there was another ramification of the Nagara temple style. This development in Gujarat has been called Solanki or Chalukyan after the rulers. The Jain temple at Dilwara and the Sun temple at Modhera are the best examples of this style. The Jain temples at Dilwara have put to admirable use of white Makrana marbles of Rajasthan.


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