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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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
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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 elsewhere. Their
colonial extensions made it possible for the Dravidian temple
architectural styles to reach the shores of South-East Asia.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Bengal and Assam terracotta temples,
notable 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 elsewhere.
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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.
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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.
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Maharashtra also has a rich culture of a variety of temple
forms ranging from traditional styles to rock-cut temples (continued in the