Temple construction

Hara was the parapet around the shikhara, the Harantara being its primary elements. Sala (rectangular), Kuta (square), and Panjara were the miniature shrines (aedicules) on the shikhara (mainly in southern Indian shikharas).

Temple construction

Nasi in a Dravida shikhara is a spade/leaf-shaped decorative frame with a deity engraved upon it. Alpa Vimana is the upper temple. Dhwaja was the sacred flag, part of the temple iconography.

Temple construction

Gavaksha are the opaque windows with a shoe arch or spade-shaped roof on shikhara and gabhara, symbolising the eyes of the lord that see the outside world. They are the Nagara counterparts of the Nasis in the Dravida style.

Temple construction

Garbhagriha/gabhara is the sanctum sanctorum, analogous to the embryo inside the womb, whereby the garbhagriha acts as the womb and where the central idols (the embryo) are located. In Shaivite temples the gabhara is the house of the Lingum or the phallic representation of Lord Shiva.

Temple construction

Ganesh patti - Lord Ganesha holds the place in Hindu scriptures as the first god to be worshipped and hence his engraving is generally present on the frame of the doorway of the sanctum. The ganesha also represents auspiciousness and general well being, and the devotee pays his respects to this god before stepping inside the sanctum.

Temple construction

Gomukhi pranala - the cowhead-shaped (gargoyle) spout is a vent in the external wall of the temple to drain out water and other liquids offered at the sanctum of the temple. It generally resembles the face of a cow, hence the name gomukhi.

Temple construction

Antarala (left) is the temple vestibule which separates the garbhagriha from the sabhamandapa. In Shaivite temples, one inadvertently finds a Nandi idol (as per Hindu mythology, Nandi was a holy bull and the carrier or vehicle of Lord Shiva).

Temple construction

Sabhamandpa/mahamandapa (right) is the square or rectangular assembly hall.