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jagadamba - Newest pictures
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ॐl|l░South Indian Temples░l|lॐ

Jagadamba Temple - Khajuraho - Madhya Pradesh
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The Nagara style which developed for the fifth century is characterized by a beehive shaped tower (called a shikhara, in northern terminology)made up of layer upon layer of architectural elements such as kapotas and gavaksas, all topped by a large round cushion-like element called an amalaka. The plan is based on a square but the walls are sometimes so broken up that the tower often gives the impression of being circular. Moreover, in later developments such as in the Chandella temples, the central shaft was surrounded by many smaller reproductions of itself, creating a spectacular visual effect resembling a fountain.
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Brihadeeswarar Temple Thanjavur - Tamilnadu
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Chennakesava Temple, Belur - Karnataka
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In the border areas between the two major styles, particularly in the modern states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, there was a good deal of stylistic overlap as well as several distinctive architectural features. A typical example is the Hoysalatemple with its multiple shrines and remarkable ornate carving. In fact such features are sometimes so significant as to justify classifying distinct sub-regional groups.
The type of raw materials available from region to region naturally had a significant impact on construction techniques, carving possibilities and consequently the overall appearance of the temple. The soft soap-stone type material used bythe Hoysala architects of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries allowed sculptors working inthe tradition of ivory and sandalwood carving to produce the most intricate and ornate of all Indianstyles. Hard crystalline rocks like granite typical ofthe area around Mamallapuram prevented detailed carving and resulted in the shallow reliefs associated with Pallava temples of the seventh and with centuries. In areas without stone, such as parts of Bengal, temples constructed of brick had quite different stylistic characteristics.
Royal patronage also had a very significant effect on the stylistic development of temples, and as we have already seen, regional styles are often identified by the dynasty that produced them. Forexample we speak of Pallava, Chola, Hoysala, Gupta, Chalukya and Chandella temples.
It might be assumed that temple styles would be different for the various Hindu cults. In fact, this was never the case in India. Even Jain temples such as those at Khajuraho were often built in almost identical styles to the Hindu temples.
From the eighth century onward with the development of ever more sophisticated rituals and festivals, the Hindu temple especially in the south started to expand and become more elaborate. There were more mandapas for variouspurposes such as dancing, assembly, eating, or, for example. To house Nandi, Shiva’s sacred mount; more subsidiary shrines and other structures; and more corridors and pillared halls such as the ‘thousand-pillared halls’.
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Bhaktavatsalar Temple, Tirukkalunkundram - Tamilnadu
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But the most significant visual difference betweenthe later northern and southern styles are the gateways. In the north the shikhara remains the most prominent element of the temple and the gateway is usually modest. In the south enclosure walls were built around the whole complex and along these walls, ideally set along the east-west and north-south axes, elaborate and often magnificent gateways called gopurams led the devotees into the sacred courtyard. These gopurams led the devotees into the superstructures and capped with a barrel-shaped roofs were in fact to become the most striking feature of the south Indian temple. They become taller and taller, dwarfing the inner sanctum and its tower and dominating the whole temple site. From the Vijayanagara period (fourteenth to sixteenth century) onward, these highly embellished and often brightly painted structures become extremely numerous. The width of the storeys of pavilions and other architectural elements were carefully adjusted to create a concave contour which is a distinctive characteristic of the Dravida temples seen throughout the south, particularly in Tamil Nadu


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