Early Chola Temples

by S. R. Balasubrahmanyam | 1960 | 105,501 words

This volume of Chola Temples covers Parantaka I to Rajaraja I in the timeframe A.D. 907-985. The Cholas of Southern India left a remarkable stamp in the history of Indian architecture and sculpture. Besides that, the Chola dynasty was a successful ruling dynasty even conquering overseas regions....

The Torana is a decorative element over the gateway or the devakoshta. The earliest extant examples of an ornamental gateway are those at the four main gates of the Sanchi stupa. Another good example is the one at the entrance to the Muktesvara temple, Bhuvanes-war.

This architectural element becomes a decorative feature in Pallava and Chola temples to span the area over the koshtas.

The Manasara describes four kinds of: patra, pushpa, ratna and chitra. The patra-torana is an arch in the shape of a crescent decorated with leaves. If, in addition, it has makara faces at the bottom and in the junction at the top, it is called makara-torana. The makara-torana has generally five bends and sometimes birds like the swan are introduced as in the torana over the devakoshta- panel in the Virupaksha temple at Pattadakkal. If birds are introduced, it is

considered as an example of chitra torana. Sometimes they are also adorned with Vidhyadharas, Bhutas, simha, yali, hamsa, babies and men carrying garlands of flowers or precious stones, as if emerging from the mouths of makaras. Inside the torana, a dev a also is introduced. The Sokkesvara torana (E.C.A. I. PI. 30) has Ganapati in the centre, Uma-Siva on the right and Parvati worshipping Linga on the left. The Tiruchchendurai torana (E.C.A.I. PI. 40 b) has pearl festoons. It may be the ratna variety. There are very interesting makara toranas at Srinivasanallur, with Adi Varaha in the centre of the torana over the western niche (E.C.A.I. PI. 47).Pullamangai, Kilappaluvur and Punjai have excellent makara toranas (J.C. Harleā€™s Pullamangai, Plates 5 and 6, also Four CholaTemples, PI. 23).

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