by D. N. Shukla | 1960 | 69,139 words | ISBN-10: 8121506115 | ISBN-13: 9788121506113
This page describes Group A: Early Lata Temples which is chapter 6 of the study on Vastu-Shastra (Indian architecture) fifth part (Temple architecture). This part deals with This book deals with an outline history of Hindu Temple (the place of worship). It furtherr details on various religious buildings in India such as: shrines, temples, chapels, monasteries, pavilions, mandapas, jagatis, prakaras etc. etc.
The classification is based on a typical shape typified in a particular temple. We have already seen the classification of Agnipurāṇa having five classes of typical shapes with a number of varieties forming that class. From the five Vimānas on which the Gods travel in the air and from five temple shapes built in their likeness, Agnipurāṇa derived forty five varieties of temples—square, rectangular, circular, elliptical and octagonal, nine of each kind.
The Samarāṅgaṇa Sūtradhāra (ch. XL1X) from the self same five shapes of Vimānas, derives sixty-four kinds of temples, Vairāja the square one, having twenty four varieties and Kailāśa and others having ten varieties each. They are to be built in towns and made of stone or burnt brick and this indicates that they belong to Nāgara style; but as I have already enunciated that they belong to Lāṭa style which is a branch of the all-pervading and universal style—the Nāgara. As the text definitely mentions this style in connection with the “twenty temples”, the traditional temple types of Nāgara style, I have grouped these under Lāṭa (the early phase) style.
Agni-purāṇa, [a pre-Samarāṅgaṇa source], calls these Prāsādas as specimens of the Lāṭa, and they are forty-five in number, but the Samarāṅgaṇa Sūtradhāra makes them sixty-four as we can see them at a glance tabulated hereunder:—
I: The Rucaka etc. 64 Temples.
(i) Vairāja—the Square (Vimāna of Brahmā):
(ii) Kalāśa—The Circular (Vimāna of Śiva)
(iii) Puṣpala—the Oblong (Vimāna of Kubera).
(iv) Māṇika—The Elliptical (Vimāna of Varuṇa).
(v) Triviṣṭapa—The Octagonal (Vimāna of Indra or Viṣṇu)
Now if we just compare the two lists—15 temples of Agni and 64 temples of Samarāṅgaṇa Sūtradhāra, we find that though the shape of their horizontal sections together with their prototypes in heaven remain the same, the number and the arrangement, have undergone a change The Square varieties have increased beyond proportion from nine to twenty-four, though others are stationary. Similarly certain temples in the list of Agni have assumed another shape in the list of Samarāṅgaṇa Sūtradhāra, e.g., Haṃsa elliptical is octagonal here; Mahāpadma circular is also octagonal here. Meru, the most prominent temple type is conspicuous by its absence here in this list; though the author of Samarāṅgaṇa Sūtradhāra has bestowed the highest extollaton on the Prāsādarāja Meru in other lists not once but several times, as we shall presently see.
I have already indicated in the preceding pages that some of the temple types were so much renowned that they stood as proto-types for others. Vairāja is such a type which gave rise not only to the twenty-four varieties of Hall Temples with the super-structure of double or triple (even further that cf. 49th Chapter) roofs, but it served as a proto-type to the temples having curvilinear super-structure—the Śikhara and the eight superior varieties of this class of temple are Rucaka, Vardhamānaka, Avataṃsa, Bhadra, Sarvatobhadra, Muktakoṇaka, Meru and Mandara (vide Samarāṅgaṇasūtradhāra Chapter 52.21-22), These eight pristine varieties of this type ramified in my opinion in another Rucaka etc. 64 temples as tabulated here under were as many as of four classes: twenty-five varieties of Lalita (is it for Lāṭa?). nine varieties of Miśraka (the mixed); twenty-five again of Sāndhāra Prāsādas and lastly, the five-fold Nigūḍha Prāsādas—vide chap. 56. It is difficult to say what the Nigūḍha indicates.
(i) 25 Lalita Prāsādas.
(ii): Nine Mixed Varieties
(iii) 25 Sāndhāra Prāsāda:
- Meru (Prāsādarāja).
(iv): 5 Nigūḍha Prāsāda
N.B.—The chief characteristics of the twenty five varieties of temples, as already hinted at, are the applications of abundant cupolas in them from one to one hundred Meru the Prāsāda-rāja has as many as one hundred cupolas.
III: Storeyed edifices:
This group of sixty four Prāsādas is so diverse in their individual types (cf. Layana, Paṭṭiśa, etc.) that a definite location to them is unwarranted. The text does not say anything regarding their style. It only says that these are the Prāsādas given by Brahmā, the Primordial Creator to the Primordial Architect, Viśvakaramā, and lays down a definite dedication; of, these to the particular deities. Their early origin, therefore, is beyond doubt and accordingly in my opinion, that may be regarded as representing a mixed style to which Drāviḍa and Nāgara both have contributed. More so of their varieties are similar to those found in the Southern texts like I. G. P. (cf. Nalina etc). The reason, Why I have placed them under Lāṭa Style is their ornamental superstructure together with some of these varieties being common to the 45 varieties of Agni-purāṇa.
More fittingly these Prāsādas are Sārvadeśika in nature (cf. Kāmikāgama).
(i) 3 Prāsādas of Śiva:
(ii) 8 Prāsādas of Viṣṇu:
(iii) 8 Prāsādas of Brahmā
(iv) 8 Prāsādas of Sūrya (The Sun),
(v) 8 Prāsādas of Caṇḍikā.
(vi) 8 Prāsādas of Vināyaka.
(vii) 8 Prāsādas of Lakṣmī
(viii) 8 Prāsādas common to all deities,