Vastu-shastra (5): Temple Architecture

by D. N. Shukla | 1960 | 69,139 words | ISBN-10: 8121506115 | ISBN-13: 9788121506113

This page describes Temples of Orissa (2): Puri 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 other notable example of the middle period is the famous temple of Lord Jagannātha at Puri, an appreciably larger building than the Liṅgarāja. though inferior in architectural workmanship. Its situation however on the shore of the sea, is remarkable and gives it an eminence, characteristic of the legends that are house-hold of Hindu devotees. Naturally it presents a singularly commanding appearance, its soaring deal providing an imposing landmark across the low-lying country for many miles around. This site has many associations. There are records that it was originally built as pillar of victory by Ghora Ganga, the conqueror of Kaliṅga in 1030 A.D. There is yet another tradition which associates this site with Buddhism. It is said that there was some still more ancient monument, not improbably the shrine of Buddha’s tooth at Dantapura, before that precious relic was transported to Ceylone [Ceylon]. Though built on the same principle as the Great Temple at Bhuvaneśvara and consisting of the same four edifices in one alignment, but for its impressive proportions, the architectural effect of this temple is disappointing as in its treatment it is merely an arid replica of its predecessor at Bhuvaneśvara. There are however some features in the Jagannātha temple at Puri which have considerable significance and implying affinities of a widely separate kind (See Brown page 128, 3rd para).

A very remarkable feature of this temple is in regard to the enshrined deity, Jagannātha who is accompanied by his brother Balarāma and sister Subhadrā. The enshrinement of the principal deity with his consort in the principal shrine has been a time honoured tradition; but in this particular temple it is altogether new introduction which might have been influenced by the Buddhist tradition of Trika.

Now as regards the third period or later style of Orissan architecture which flourished about 1200 A.D., it is represented by a number of temples, none of which is large but are remarkable for their rich and finished appearance betokening the ornamental development.

The most graceful and elegant example of this period is however the Rājarānī temple whose affinity with the Śikharottamas of Kajuraho is another landmark in our position that the Nāgara style of temple architecture as 13 illustrated in the temples of Bhuvaneśvara and Khajuraho have a common fountain and are a manifestation of one movement. This temple displays a refinement in its curves and contours denoting not only an advance in the art of composition, but an appreciation on the part of the craftsman of a more subtle feeling for form. Much of the improved effect has been obtained in the composition of the Śikhara which is remarkable for its beauty and elegance. Its affinity with Khajuraho art is simply bewildering and gives us a guess that whole movement was a national exuberance of the day. Rāja-rānī temple is not only a type by itself at Bhuvaneśvara, so for as its artistic execution is concerned there is yet another factor in its design which is a further indication that this example is a departure from all others of the group. It is the diognal [diagonal?] treatment of the temple-plan.

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