Shikhara, aka: Sikhara, Śikhara; 18 Definition(s)


Shikhara means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Buddhism, Pali, 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.

The Sanskrit term Śikhara can be transliterated into English as Sikhara or Shikhara, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

[Shikhara in Natyashastra glossaries]

Śikhara (शिखर, “peak”) refers to a gesture (āṅgika) made with a ‘single hand’ (asaṃyuta), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 8. The hands (hasta) form a part of the human body which represents one of the six major limbs (aṅga) used in dramatic performance. With these limbs are made the various gestures (āṅgika), which form a part of the histrionic representation (abhinaya).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

One of the Twenty-eight Single Hands (hasta):—Śikhara (spire): in the same hand, the thumb is raised. Usage: the God of Love (Madan), bow, pillar, silence, husband, tooth,entering, questioning, the body, saying “No!”, recollection, intimate suggestion (ahhinayāntara) , untying the girdle, embrace, lover, letting fly śakti and tomara weapons, sound of abell, pounding.

According to another book: same definition. It originates from Candraśekhara (Śiva), when he held Mt. Meru as his bow. It originates from that Meru-bow, its sage is Jihna, its race Gandharva, its colour dusky, the God of Love (Rati-vallabha) itspatron deity. Usage: gratifying the ancestors, steadiness, establishing a family, hero, spire, friend, cleaning the teeth with to and fro movement, plying a palmyra fan, difference, saying “What?”, drinking water from a spouted vessel (bhṛṅgāra), thenumber four, letting fly śakti or tomara weapons, enjoying consequences, demure attitude of an amorous girl, bashfulness,bow, the God of Love (Smara), saying " No ! ", charity, permanentmood (sthayi-bhāva), Vināyaka, Mahiṣa-mardinī, heroism, galloping of a horse, half-moon, brow-spot, etc., making the signof the hair-knot, sapphire, intensity.

(Source): The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)

Śikhara (शिखर, “peak”).—A type of gesture (āṅgika) made with a single hand (asaṃyuta-hasta);—(Instructions): In this very hand (muṣṭi) the thumb raised.

(Uses): It is used to represent reins, whip, goad, bow, throwing a javelin (tomara) or a spike *(śakti), painting the two lips and feet and raising up hairs.

(Source): Natya Shastra
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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[Shikhara in Purana glossaries]

Śikhara (शिखर).—A varṣa round the Candra hill of Plakṣa.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 49. 14.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Vastushastra (architecture)

[Shikhara in Vastushastra glossaries]

Śikhara (शिखर) refers to the “cupola” of a temple (prāsāda or vimāna). It is considered the fifth part in the ṣaḍvarga structure.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra

Śikhara (शिखर).—A type of moulding;—Any roof form may be called a ‘śikhara’, a term used for the main dome of a vimāna. It is important not to confuse this Southern usage with the Northern, in which ‘śikhara’ is used for tre whole sperstructure of a temple, not just its crown.

(Source): Google Books: Indian Temple Architecture: Form and Transformation

Śikhara (शिखर) is the most important member of the prāsāda assembly. It corresponds to the “head” of the body of the temple. On plan it may be caturaśra (square), āyata (rectangular), aṣṭāśra (octagonal), vṛtta (circular), vṛttāyata (oval), gajapṛṣṭa (apsidal) or even āyatavṛtta (rectangular with its two narrower ends made semicircular). Śikhara may be monolithic or masonry in nature. The bottom of the śikhara is always flat.

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

Śikhara (शिखर, “tower”) refers to a common concept found in the ancient Indian “science of architecture” (vāstuvidyā).—Śikhara (for north Indian temples) or vimāna (for south Indian temple) is the tower over the garbhagṛha.

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

[Shikhara in Shilpashastra glossaries]

Śikhara (शिखर) refers to “bow-hold, crest” and represents one of the thirty-two mudrās (hand gestures) of the single-hand type, commonly used by the deities in sculptures of Hindu gods and goddesses.—In this posture, the four fingers are held bent into the palm while the thumb is held vertically upward away from them.

(Source): Shodhganga: The significance of the Mula beras in the Hindu temples of Tamilnadu
Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Katha (narrative stories)

[Shikhara in Katha glossaries]

Śikhara (शिखर) is the name of a merchant (vaṇij) from Lampā, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 67. Accordingly as Candrasāra said to Naravāhanadatta: “... one day I saw, at a spring festival in a garden, a handsome girl, the daughter of a merchant named Śikhara. I was quite carried off my feet by her, who was like a wave of the sea of love’s insolence, and when I found out who she was, I demanded her in marriage from her father.”.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Śikhara, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Katha book cover
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

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Ayurveda (science of life)

[Shikhara in Ayurveda glossaries]

1) Śikhara (शिखर) refers to “peak” or “summit” of a mountain (giri) according to the second chapter (dharaṇyādi-varga) of the 13th-century Raj Nighantu or Rājanighaṇṭu (an Ayurvedic encyclopedia). The Dharaṇyādi-varga covers the lands, soil, mountains [viz., Śikhara], jungles and vegetation’s relations between trees and plants and substances, with their various kinds.

2) Śikhara (शिखर) refers to the “end part” of a tree or a creeper, as mentioned in a list of four synonyms, according to the second chapter (dharaṇyādi-varga) verse 2.32.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Raj Nighantu
Ayurveda book cover
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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

[Shikhara in Hinduism glossaries]

Śikhara (शिखर) as a ‘peak’ of a mountain is found in the Kauṣītaki-brāhmaṇa (xxvi. 1), and often in the Epic.

(Source): Vedic index of Names and Subjects

Śikhara (शिखर).—Curved temple tower or spire. The roof of the sanctum sanctorum. It is crowned by a cakra in a Lord Viṣṇu temple and a trident in a Lord Śiva temple

(Source): ISKCON Press: Glossary

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[Shikhara in Pali glossaries]

sikhara : (nt.) the top; summit; peak of a mountain.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Sikhara, (cp. Sk. śikhara) the top, summit of a mountain J. VI, 519; Miln. 2; a peak DhA. III, 364 (°thūpiyo or °thūpikāyo peaked domes); the point or edge of a sword M. I, 243; S. IV, 56; crest, tuft J. II, 99; (this is a very difficult reading; it is explained by the C. by sundara (elegant); Trenckner suggests singāra, cp. II. 98); a bud Th. 2, 382. (Page 708)

(Source): Sutta: The Pali Text Society's 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

[Shikhara in Marathi glossaries]

śikhara (शिखर).—n (S) The peak or summit of a mountain; the top or extremity of a tree, pointed building &c.; apex, vertex, top, or crest generally. 2 A spire or pinnacle; a minaret. 3 fig. The pinnacle, acme, culmen (as of greatness, of any virtue or vice): the conclusion or terminating point (of a business). śikharīṃ kāṭhyā lāgaṇēṃ (Because at jējurī or at maḍhī the followers of Khanḍoba proceed in formal procession with music &c. to Khanḍoba's temple, and apply long kāṭhyā or poles with flags or cloths to its crest or summit.) To accomplish one's undertaking; to attain the pinnacle, goal, crown, consummation. śikharīṃ pōṭa lāgaṇēṃ (The belly to swell so as to reach the head.) To become very distended;--as the belly through gorging or disease, as the womb through pregnancy.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

śikhara (शिखर).—n The peak of a mountain, a top generally. A spire. Fig. The pinnacle. The conclusion.

(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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Relevant definitions

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Bhujaśikhara (भुजशिखर).—n. the shoulder. Derivable forms: bhujaśikharam (भुजशिखरम्).Bhujaśikhar...
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Śikharasvāmin (शिखरस्वामिन्) is an example of a Śaivite name mentioned in the Gupta inscription...
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