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Nagar Style Or North India Temple Style

Nagara Style Or North India Temple Style

Ancient Indian temples are classified in three broad types. This classification is based on different architectural styles, employed in the construction of the temples. Three main style of temple architecture are the Nagara or the Northern style, the Dravida or the Southern style and the Vesara or Mixed style.

Nagar Style of Temple Architecture

  • Style of temple architecture that became popular in northern India
  • a square temple with a number of graduated projections (rathakas)
  • A tower (sikhara) gradually curving inwards and capped by a spheroid slab with ribs round the edge (Amalaka) give the elevation
  • Prominent features  Shikaras (Spiral roofs), Garbhagriha (sanctum) & Mandap (pillared hall)

Modern Example: The Ram Mandir at Ram Janmabhoomi

The Ram Mandir under construction at Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya is set to undergo significant enhancements. With the addition of five domed ‘mandaps’ and one ‘shikhar,’ the temple’s height will soar to an impressive 161 feet. According to the project’s architects, this expansion, based on Vastushastra principles, will result in a three-storey structure.

Initially conceptualized in 1990, the temple was designed with two storeys, three ‘mandaps,’ and a ‘shikhar,’ reaching a height of 141 feet. The planned alterations are anticipated to take approximately three to three-and-a-half years to complete, thus culminating in a more elaborate and elevated architectural marvel at the revered site.

Chief architect of the temple is Chandrakantbhai Sompura, whose grandfather Prabhakarji Sompura, had designed Somnath temples.

The Nagara style Ram Mandir is is designed keeping specifications of Shilpa Shastra. All calculations are very particular.For instance, no dimension can exceed that of the ‘garbhagriha,’ and the orientation of the ‘garbhagriha’ is also carefully determined.

Ram Mandir at Ram Janmabhoomi
Image Credit: TOI

The initial blueprint was with three ‘mandaps’ – the ‘garbhgriha’ or the sanctum sanctorum, ‘kudu mandap,’ and ‘nritya mandap.

Read Also: Buddhism, India’s soft power projection tool

Subtype of Nagar Style Temple based on shape of Shikhara:

Rekha Prasad / Latina
  • Simple Shikhara  Square at the base and the walls curve inward to a point on the top.
  • Latina types are mainly use for housing the garbhagriha
  • The top called ‘latina’ or the rekha-Prasad type of Shikhara.
Rekha Prasad / Latina
  • Phamsana buildings tend to be broader and shorter than latina buildings.
  • Several slabs compose their roofs, gently rising to a single point over the center of the building, unlike the Latina ones, which resemble sharply rising tall towers.
  • They do not curve inwards, instead they slope upwards on a straight incline.
  • Many North Indian temples used Phamsana for the mandapa and latina for the Garbhgriha.
  • Rectangular building with a roof that rises into a vaulted chamber.
  • They are usually called as wagon vaulted buildings.

Three sub schools developed under Nagar style:

Odisha School
  • Most of the main temple sites are located in ancient Puri and Konark.
  • Here the shikhara, called deul in Odisha, is vertical almost until the top when it suddenly curves sharply inwards.
  • Deuls are preceded, as usual, by mandapas called jagamohana in Odisha.
  • The ground plan of the main temple is square, which, in the upper reaches of its superstructure becomes circular in the crowning mastaka.
  • The exterior of the temples are lavishly carved, their interiors generally quite bare.
  • Odisha temples usually have boundary walls.
  • Example: Konark Temple, Jagannath temple, Lingaraj temple.
Khujuraho/Chandel school
  • Khajuraho’s temples are famous for their extensive erotic sculptures.
  • Formation Period: Patronized by Chandela kings of Bundelkhand (10th and 11th century).
  • One of the world’s greatest artistic wonders comprises these 22 temples, a subset of the original 85.
  • The finest among them, known as Kandariya Mahadev, a Shaivite temple, built around the 10th century by King Ganda.
  • The standard type of Khajuraho temple has a shrine room, an assembly hall, and an entrance portico.
  • In the Odishan style, they conceived these entities as separate elements, unlike treating them as a whole.
  • The central tower curves for its whole length, while miniature sikharas emerge from it.
  • Smaller towers progressively rise up to crown the halls and porticos of the temple.
  • Vishnu Temple at Chaturbhunj (MP) is another prominent temples at Khajuraho.
Solanki School
  • Formation Period: Patronized by Solanki kings (later Chalukya) of Gujarat (11th to 13th century).
  • The Vimala, Tejpala and Vastupala temples at Mount Abu exhibit this style.
  • Dilwara temple in Mt Abu – Highest Jain pilgrimage
  • Exquisite example is Sun temple at Modhera, built by Raja Bhimdev-I of the Solanki Dynasty in 1026
  • There is a massive rectangular stepped tank called the suryakund in front of it.
  • 108 miniature shrines are carved in between the steps inside the tank.
  • A huge ornamental arch-torana leads one to the sabha mandapa (the assemblyhall) which is open on all sides.
  • Every year at the time of the equinoxes, the sun shines directly into the central shrine.

Read Also: Dravida Style Of Temple Architecture

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