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 Manasara is an ancient and authoritative text on silpa sastra. This work conceives of and describes five kinds of gopurams adorning the main gateways in the concentric walls of enclosure. The main entrance to the first prakara (antarmandala) has one or two storeys. It is called dvara-sobha. The gateway to the second court which generally has two to four storeys is named dvara-sala. The gateway of the third court is named dvara-prasada and is to be provided with three to five storeys. The gateways to the fourth prakara with four to seven storeys is termed dvara-harmya. The gateway of the fifth prakara may have seven to sixteen storeys and is named dvara-gopura. Srirangam however has as many as seven prakaras and twenty-one gopurams.

The main entrance to a temple is generally styled Lakshmi-dvara. It is likely to have been adorned with sculptures of Gajalakshmi on the lintel of the gateway. It may be added that the main gateway to the palace at Uraiyur, the capital of the Chola kings of the Sangam age, is said to have been similarly decorated.

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