Later Chola Temples

by S. R. Balasubrahmanyam | 1979 | 143,852 words

This volume of Chola Temples covers Kulottunga I to Rajendra III in the timeframe A.D. 1070-1280. 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....

Appendix: The Kudu Ornamentation

The kudu forms the nucleus of all ornamentation on the superstructure of the vimana in Indian temples, whether of the mara, nagara or dramda styles. In fact, this superstructure is an aesthetically pleasing build-up and elaboration of the kudu or the chaitya window and derivatives thereof.

Kudus with inset figures adorn the cornices of the Pallava rock-cut cave-temples of the seventh century

In Cave No. 9 at Ellora in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra State, also of the (early) seventh century a.d., the facade has a frieze of sculptures and two rows of cornices, each adorned with kudus having inset figures.

In the first tala of the dramdim vimana (of Chola temples of the ninth century), a facade of solas (elongated waggon-roofed decorative miniature shrines) is to be found in the middle, with kama kutas (also decorative miniature shrines) at the ends, immediately above the garbhagriha walls on every side.

In the (ruined) Harihara temple no. 3 at Osian near Jodhpur in Rajasthan, phamsana (‘wedge-shaped’) ornamentation is introduced in place of the solas, with nagara style miniature decorative shrines at the ends.

The Melakkadambur temple has a different set-up. A full-blown kudu is perched astride the first tala, and its crowning simha-mukha rises above the griva and reaches upto the level of the base of the sikhara. Highly evolved decorative miniature shrines serve as kama kutas (see Pls. 102 and 103).

(For a discussion on the phamsana ornamentation, see the article by Michael W. Meister, “Phamsana in Western India”, Artibus Asiae, Vol. 38,2/3 (1976), 167-188.)

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: