specimen of the style: and at Avantipur, Vāngath, Payer and Pāndrethan are other interesting examples of the style. That at Pāndrethan about 3 m. from Srinagar is a well-preserved little temple, built between A.D. 906 and 921, and perhaps exhibits the most clearly the characteristics of the style.
In the Himālayas the architecture is still largely wooden,
raised on stone basements and is often picturesque. In the
Nepal valley we meet with hemispherical chaityas or stūpas
Fig. 3.—Temple of Pāndrethan. on low bases with lofty brick spires, and some of them of great antiquity, along with temples having three or four storeys divided by sloping roofs, and others in the modern Hindu style of northern India.
In South Kanara, especially at Mūdbidare (Mudbidri), there are also Jain temples and tombs with double and triple sloping roofs that resemble the native temples of Nepal, with which, however, they had no connexion. The whole style is closely in imitation of wooden originals, the forms of which have been derived from the local thatched dwellings of the district. The interiors of the Kanara temples are often very rich in carving, the massive pillars being carved like ivory or the precious metals. Associated with these and other temples are elegant, monolithic pillars placed on square bases, the shafts richly carved and the capitals widespreading, some of them supporting, on four very small colonnettes, a square roof elaborately modelled. These stambhas or pillars are the representatives of the early Buddhist lāts or columns raised at their temples, and bear emblems distinctive of the sects to which they respectively belong.
The southern portion of the peninsula is peopled by a race known as Dravidians, and to the style of architecture practised over most of this area we may conveniently apply the name of the race. This Dravidian architecture was essentially different from that of other regions of India and is of one type. One of the best-known groups of monuments in this style is that of the “Seven Pagodas” or the Māmallapuram raths, on the seashore, south from Madras. These raths are each hewn out of a block of granite, and are rather models of temples than such. They are the earliest forms of Dravidian architecture and belong to the 7th century. To the same age belongs the temple of Kailāsanāth at Conjeeveram, and to the following century some of the temples in the south of the Bombay Presidency, and the famous monolithic temple of the Kailās at Ellora near Aurangābād.
Reproduced, by permission of Mr John Murray, from Dr Burgess’s The Cave Temples of India.
|Fig. 5.—Plan of Kailās at Ellora.|
Buildings in the Dravidian style are very numerous in proportion to the extent of the area in which they are found. The temples generally consist of a square base, ornamented externally by thin tall pilasters, and containing the cell in which the image is kept. In front of this may be added a mantapam or hall, or even two such. Over the shrine rises the spire, of pyramidal form, but always divided into storeys and crowned by a small dome, either circular or polygonal in shape. The cornices are of double curvature, whilst in other Indian styles they are mostly straight with a downward slope. Another feature of these temples, especially those of later date, is the gopurams or great gateways, placed at the entrances to the surrounding courts, and often on all four sides. In general design they are like the spires over the shrines, but about twice as wide as deep, and very frequently far more imposing than the temples themselves.
The style is distinctly of wooden origin, and of this the very attenuated pilasters on the outer walls and the square pillars of small section are evidences. As the contemporary northern styles are characterized by the prevalence of vertical lines, the Dravidian is marked by horizontal mouldings and shadows, and the towers and gopurams are storeyed. The more important temples are also surrounded by courts enclosing great corridors and pillared halls.
One of the best examples of this style is the great temple at Tanjore. It would appear to have been begun on a definite plan, and not as a series of extensions of some small temple which, by accident, had grown famous and acquired wealth by which successively to enlarge its courts, as that at Tiruvallur seems to have grown by a series of accretions. The body of the Tanjore temple is of two storeys and fully 80 ft. high, whilst the sikhara or pyramidal tower rises in eleven storeys to a total height of 190 ft. This dominates the gopurams over the entrances to the court in which it stands, and to an outer court, added in front of the first, but which does not, as in other cases, surround it. The central shrine, so far as we know, was erected about A.D. 1025.
The Srirangam temple in Trichinopoly, the largest in India, is architecturally the converse of this: it is one of the latest in date, the fifth court having been left unfinished in the middle of the 18th century. The shrine is quite insignificant and distinguished only by a gilt dome, whilst proceeding outwards, the gopurams to each court are each larger and more decorative than the preceding. The successive independent additions, however, proved incompatible with any considered design or arrangement of parts.
Most of the Deccan was ruled by the Chalukya dynasty from early in the 6th century, and the style prevailing over this area,