Most of the architectural structures from medieval and ancient India are religious in nature. When one comes to know about the architectural history of India; so, knowing about the schools of temple architecture is a vital part. The Schools of Temple Architecture of India reflect the culture, arts, beliefs, Dharma, ideals, way of life, and values of the people of ancient and medieval India. In Vastu Shastras and Shilpa Shastras, the principles of architecture of temples are described.
Schools of Temple Architecture in India
The School of Architecture of India is broadly classified into three types. These are Nagara School of Temple Architecture, Vesara School of Temple Architecture, and Dravidian School of Temple Architecture. The Indian peninsula is divided into two – the northern region of India is having Nagara School of Temple Architecture, the southern part of India is having Dravidian School of Temple Architecture and the Vesara School of Temple Architecture is a mixture of these two schools of temple architecture present at the central part of the Indian peninsula.
Types of Schools of Temple Architecture of India are Discussed Below
Nagara School of Temple Architecture
The Nagara School of Temple Architecture emerged during the period of Gupta i.e. called as Gupta Period. It is an architectural style of a temple that is most common in the regions of Karnataka and Telangana. In this type of temple, the bases are higher than the ground level and are generally made up of stones. Nagara School of Temple Architecture generally does not contain any boundary walls or gateway. The main element to distinguish the Nagara style of the temple is the shikhara; the main Shikhara is the tallest among the structure of the temple. These temples commonly have curvilinear growth from the starting of the temple to the end, multiple numbers of shikhara are present in this architecture. The idols of Gods and Goddesses are placed inside the temple. The design of the river Ganga and Yamuna are crafted at the entrance of the Nagara School of Temple Architecture; these structures are personified in the front of the sanctum sanctorum.
Vesara School of Temple Architecture
Vesara School of Architectural style is the combination of both the Nagara and Dravidian style of architecture with selected components from both. This type of temple is generally found in the central region which is the deccan region that mostly comes under the southern part mainly in the region of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The main feature to distinguish the Vesara School of Temple from others is that they have multiple projections on the walls and the base structure is the stellate plan (Star-like shape) . Due to this shape the temple has both a dark side and a bright side in every curve. These temples have alternate projections on the walls and other parts of the temple, this creates a depth and solidity of the temple. Vesara types of temples are built with soft stones and do minor detailing on the walls of the temples.
Dravidian School of Temple Architecture
In this style, the largest and most beautiful temples were built. The Dravidian School of Temple Architecture was commonly built in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and parts of Telangana. Single Shikhara is present in these types of temples. The main element to distinguish Dravidian Architecture temples from other temples is that these types of temples have Gopuram. Vesara architectural style adopted gopuram from the Dravidian Architectural style. In this type of school of architecture, the front door or the entrance of the temples is constructed in a particular way so that the entrance consists of Dwarapalakas. In these types of temples, The idols of Gods and Goddesses are placed outside the temple. The temples of these types are constructed on the ground level and the boundary around the temple is essential.
It is to conclude that there are three types of Schools of Temple Architecture in India, they are Nagara School of Temple Architecture, Vesara School of Temple Architecture, and Dravidian School of Temple Architecture. Each of these types has different features and is situated in a different location.