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About the Temple

In general a basic temple is comprised of a square garbhagraha and a mandapa in front. An antarala connects garbhagraha to the mandapa. In the beginning the temple was very simple in terms of its plan and elevation having a square garbhagraha with flat roof. With the improvement of Vastu-Vidhya the development in basic/simple forms of temple was taken place. Gradually, the other parts include sabha-mandapa, mukha-mandapa, ardha-mandapa high sikhara were added to it. The mandapa of temple became highly ornamented and adorned with various decorative motifs on pillars, pilasters, ceilings and architraves. Various projections were provided to high sikhara especially in North Indian temples.
The temple in India broadly divided into following three styles :
1. Nagra Style (North Indian Style)
2. Dravidian Style (South Indian Style).
3. Vesara Style (Mixture of both).

The basic feature of northern style temple contains a square garbhagraha with pillared porch(mandapa) and a curvilinear sikhara above sanctum .Sometimes, they are of panchayatana type in which the main temple is surrounded by four miniature shrines on all four corners. The temple normally stands upon a high platform termed as jagati which can be approached through a flight of stapes from all three sides or one side.

The sikhara above the garbhagraha is high and possesses curvilinear shape. It bears three basic projections the central one is known as bhadraratha, while the projection of cardinal point is called as karnaratha. and the projection in between both is called as prathiratha. In the course of time the sikhara was provided with three, five, seven and nine projections. The most distinguished feature of the sikahra is the amalaka fixed on the top just below the crowning finial.

Contrary to above the south Indian temple has different features. Here, the temples are termed as Vimana.The temples stand upon a square base with high pyramidial tower obtained by superimposing diminishing stories. Haras (rows of miniature shrines) composed of Kutas and Salas around each of these storeys form the most distinguished feature of South Indian Vimanas. The other unique feature of South Indian temple style is the Gopuram or temple gateway. Which forms various storeys in oblong plan. The storey on ground floor has vertical walls are adorned with pilaster and niches. The two storeys are separated from each other by a horizontal mouldings. Like Vimana, it also has pyramidal super structure adorned with haras. It is crowned by a barrel vault roof along with a row of stupis (finials). The Prakara (enclosure wall) is another important feature of South Indian temple. The prakara is provided with the series of cell might be constructed for meditational purpose. The prakara encloses main shrine as well as other structures inside. A bathing tank is also constructed along with south Indian Temple which is necessary in the hot climate of the South.