Gopura, aka: Go-pura; 10 Definition(s)

Introduction

Gopura means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Buddhism, Pali, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Vastushastra (architecture)

1) Gopura (महाद्वार) refers to the “tower” built above the main entrance (mahādvāra) of the prākāras (‘enclosure’) of the temple complex. There are five kinds of gopuras defined:

  1. dvāraśobha,
  2. dvāraśāla,
  3. dvāraprāsāda,
  4. dvāraharmya,
  5. dvāragopura.

To match the seven types of prākāras (‘enclosure’), the following are added as per tradition:

  1. dvāramaryāda,
  2. mahāmaryāda.

2) Gopura also refers to a tower build above the gateways of houses, palaces and Buddhist monasteries. There are various types of gopuras defined:

  1. śrīkara,
  2. ratikānta,
  3. kāntavijaya,
  4. vijayaśālaka,
  5. viśālālaya,
  6. vipratīkānta,
  7. śrīkānta,
  8. caturmukha,
  9. keśaviśālaka,
  10. svastika,
  11. dvisvastika,
  12. mardala,
  13. mārtāṇḍa,
  14. śrīviśāla,
  15. śrīkeśa.
Source: Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra

Gopura (गोपुर) is a tower built above the mahādvāra of the temple. This term is also applied to the towers built above the gateways of the houses, palaces and Buddhist monasteries. The method of construction of the gopura is almost similar to the construction of the main shrine of the temple. Here also, from foundation to the entablature, the method followed is one and the same. Gopura, in almost all cases, is provided with an upapīṭha. Occasionally double upapīṭha is also provided.

The Texts classify the gopuras into three categories i.e. adhama, madhyama and uttama based on the number of talas built above the mahādvāra. Texts prescribe that the shape of the coping of the gopura should be of sabhākāra i.e. rectangular on plan and the coping is of śāla type. Texts also prescribe that they can be provided with gavākṣas and jālakas.

Gopura in Sanskrit means a “town-gate”. The etymology of the term gopura is obscure. The word obviously presents a sense connected to ‘go’ i.e. cow. It is possible that all the towers of south Indian temples possess, at the two ends of their coping, a pair of semi circular cresting in the form of a cows horn. It is possible that due to this ornamental member, the name gopura is given for this structure.

Source: Shodhganga: Temples of Salem region Up to 1336 AD

Gopura (गोपुर) refers to an “elaborate gateway”, a common concept found in the ancient Indian “science of architecture” (vāstuvidyā).—Gopura is an elaborate gateway, especially in south Indian temples, generally in the
form of a tower.

Source: Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Architecture (1): Early and Classical Architecture
Vastushastra book cover
context information

Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Gopura (गोपुर).—The gopura is principally a development of the 11th century middle-Colā period of temple construction in Tamilnādu. After a long gap of hundred years, the Vijayanagara architects revived the gopura structures as well as they made it a pan-south Indian feature of temple architecture, spreading across the whole of Tamilnādu and much of Āndhra Pradesh and Karnātaka, in which most of the Tāntric images portraying the tāntric rites, images of Nātha-siddhas are sculpted in different styles and forms, either in stucco in the upper part of the gopura or in the granite in the lower parts of the gopura.

Source: DSpace at Pondicherry: Siddha Cult in Tamilnadu (shaivism)
Shaivism book cover
context information

Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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India history and geogprahy

Gopura.—(EI 3, 19, 24) a gateway; the gateway of a temple; a tower. Note: gopura is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary
India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Gopura in Pali glossary... « previous · [G] · next »

gopura : (nt.) gateway; gate tower.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

gōpura (गोपुर).—m n (S) The building over the gate (of a city, of the encircling wall of a temple, palace &c.) 2 A gate so overbuilt. 3 A gate gen. 4 The figures drawn by women on the walls in the month caitra. 5 A grass, Cyperus rotundus.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

gōpura (गोपुर).—m n The building over the gate (of a city, &c.). A gate so overbuilt.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Gopura (गोपुर).—

1) a town-gate; उत्तुङ्गसौधसुरमन्दिरगोपुरम् (uttuṅgasaudhasuramandiragopuram) Māl.9.1.

2) a principal gate; दधतमुच्चशिलान्तरगोपुराः (dadhatamuccaśilāntaragopurāḥ) Ki.5.5.

3) the ornamental gateway of a temple.

Derivable forms: gopuram (गोपुरम्).

Gopura is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms go and pura (पुर).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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