Chalukyan - the Chalukya dynasty came to rule
parts of Karnataka from their capital at Badami sometime in the fifth
century. Their reign continued for between three to four hundred years and
witnessed a flourishing in temple architecture.
Hoysala - this dynasty arose in the eleventh
century and ruled around Mysore in Karnataka. They left behind a vast
trove of temples, such as at Belur, Halebidu, Somnathpura, and Amrutpura.
The intricacy of their craftsmanship was truly astounding and is a visual
treat for successive generations.
Vijayanagara - these kings created a vast empire
at Hampi, Karnataka, in the fifteenth century. Their golden reign created the
most beautiful temple architecture at the internationally renowned Hampi and
other regions in Karnataka, such as Bhatkal, Ankola, Kolar, and Koppal.
Kadamba - this dynasty ruled northern Karnataka and
Goa in the fourth century. They patronised a very rich culture of temples of which
the most prominent feature was their stepped pyramidal shikhara which became
well known as the Kadamba shikhara. Their temples can be seen at Banvasi,
Degaon-Kittur, Tambdi Surla-Goa, and elsewhere.
Pallava - this dynasty ruled at Kanchi in Tamil Nadu,
in the southern peninsula of India. Their temples at Mahabalipuram (the Shore
Temple) and Kanchipuram are now a tourist's delight.
Chola - (left) this was an old dynasty and probably the
longest surviving to rule the Tamil lands, surviving into the thirteenth century.
Their temples exist at Darasuram, Gangakondaicholapuram, Thanjavur, and others.
Their colonial extensions made it possible for the Dravidian temple architectural
styles to reach the shores of South-East Asia.
Kalinga - (right) this style evolved in the modern
states of Orissa and northern Andhra Pradesh. The world famous temples of
Konark and Puri are examples of this style and were patronised by dynasties
such as the Eastern Gangas.
Maru Gurjara - this evolved in Gujrat and Rajputana,
symbolising the synthesis in architecture of these two regions. It is characterised
by Rajasthani architectural elements such as Jaali (latticed window), Jharoka (an
overhanging turret-like balcony), Chatri (umbrella/dome pavilions), and Bowdi (stepped
well), etc. Examples include Somnath and Dilwara.
Sekhari - this style developed in northern India and
was distinctive due to its shikhara structure which comprised a central
mulasringa/curvilinear latina spire with rows of minor spires
/urahsringa around it.
Chandela - this tenth century dynasty ruled parts of
central India and gave rise to the awe inspiring temples at Khajuraho (a UNESCO
World Heritage site) in Madhya Pradesh, which are famous for their temple erotica.
Bengal and Assam terracotta temples, distinguished by
their use of terracotta and unique shapes (curved roofs). This style is evident
in the modern north-eastern states of Bengal and Assam. The fourth century Guptas
and their successors also patronised it. Dakshineshwar Temple near Kolkata is a
fine example, along with temple sets at Bishnupur and other locations.
Kerala temple architecture is conspicuous by
its roofed shikharas (including slanting and pointed/conical roofs), and
skeletal wooden structure (similar to those found in the Himalayan regions
and South Asia), multi-tiered brass lamps, etc.
Goa - the Goan temples are unique in their appearance.
They are a fusion of Indian and Portuguese styles. Fine examples include temples
at Mangueshi, Mahalaxmi, and Shantadurga.
Maharashtra also has a rich culture of a variety of temple
forms ranging from traditional styles to rock-cut temples (continued in the