Introduction to Indian Architecture and Sculpture- The Hindu Temple -

A Hindu temple serves as the abode of a primary deity (known as the ‘pradhana devata’) and provides a place for his or her devotees to make offerings and worship them. The deity is represented in a figurative sculptural form and is located within the ‘garbhagriha’, literally meaning "womb chamber" and otherwise known as the sanctum sanctorum, or inner sanctuary. (Kolapen 2008)

Ravana Phadi cave at Aihole, Karnataka, India


The outside of Hindu temples are typically decorated with highly elaborate bas-relief carvings and sculptures that depict a conglomeration of scenes and images taken from everyday life, the myths of Hindu scriptures, significant political events and even portraits of royal and secular patrons. (Kolapen 2008)

A "Sikhara" from the Chennakesava Temple, Belur, Karnataka, IndiaSomanathapura_Keshava_templeprofile_2.jpg

Classical North Indian temples are characterized by the "sikhara", which literally translates as “mountain peak”. These are towers which emulate the grandeur of the natural terrain of northern India, with the highest one located above the inner sanctuary. The classical temple architecture of the South is identified by the "gopuram", which are ornately carved towers that crest the gateways of the outer temple walls. Like in the North, a monumental tower is reserved to crown the primary chamber. (Kolapen 2008)

The "gopuram" of Varadaraja Perumal temple in the city of Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu, India

A History of Indian Architecture and Sculpture - Harappan Civilization -->