List of Important features of Indian Temple

The Indian temples are symmetry-driven structure, with many variations, on a square grid of padas, depicting perfect geometric shapes such as circles and squares. Susan Lewandowski states that the architectural principle of Indian temple is moving around the belief that all things are one, everything is connected. Decoration is one of the major parts of Indian temples. It is reflected in the multitude details of figured sculpture as well as in the architectural elements. The Indian temples were decorated in the multitude details of figured sculpture as well as in the architectural elements which are discussed below:

Important features of Indian Temple

1. Garbhagriha: It is referring to the sanctum sanctorum, the innermost sanctum of a temple where resides the murti (idol or icon) of the primary deity of the temple. The literally means ‘womb-house’ and is a cave like sanctum. Garbhagriha is made to house the main icon (main deity)

2. Mandapa: It is a porch-like structure which is designed as a pillared outdoor hall or pavilion for public rituals. It is used for religious dancing and music and is part of the basic temple compound. The temples which has more than one madappa called by different names such as Artha Mandapam or Ardh Mandapam, Asthana Mandapam, Kalyana Mandapam, Maha Mandapam, Nandi Mandapam (or Nandi mandir), Ranga Mandapa, Meghanath Mandapa, Namaskara Mandapa and Open Mandapa.

3. Shikhara: It is derived from Sanskrit word 'Shikar' which means mountain peak. It is a curving shape which is mountain like spire of a free standing temple. It is mainly found in North Indian temples.  

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4. Vimana: It is pyramidal like structure refers to the rising tower in the temple architecture of North India. It is prevalent in South India.

5. Amalaka: It is term used for a stone disc like structure at the top of the temple shikara.

6. Kalasha: It is topmost point of the temple above Amalaka.

7. Antarala (Vestibule): It is a place between the Garbhagriha and the temple’s main hall (mandapa).

8. Jagati: It is the term used for the platform where people sit for praying.

9. Vahana: This term is used for the vehicle of the temple’s main deity along with a standard pillar or Dhvaj.

The distinct architectural style of temple construction in different parts of India was a result of geographical, climatic, ethnic, racial, historical and linguistic diversities. The type of raw materials available in different regions had a significant impact on construction techniques, carving possibilities and the overall temple appearance.

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