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Temples in India - Splendour And Magnificence Of North Indian Temples.

BY: Mach | Category: Religion | Post Date: 2009-06-01

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The structural TEMPLES may be broadly classified into two divisions (NORTH INDIAN AND SOUTH INDIAN TEMPLES), according to the shape of the shikhara i.e. the towering superstructure above the sanctum containing the image of the god. Those in North Indian Temples look like a solid tower with curvilinear vertical ribs, bulging in the middle and ending in a very narrow necking covered by a distinct ribbed piece of round stone known as amalaka. The North Indian Shikhara is decorated with sculptures, which often take the form of miniature reproduction of the sikhara itself.

The large number of temples at Bhuvaneswar in Orissa illustrate the evolution of the North Indian Style. The temples consisted mainly two parts, the CELLA or SANCTUM (Garbha Griha) roofed by the sikhara and mandapa (or porch in front covered by a low pyramidal roof). The numerous temples at BHUVANESWAR, the MUKTESWARA, RAJARANI and the LINGARAJA (THE GREAT TEMPLE) with its sikhara, 160 ft. in height, are the three best specimens. The KONARAK temple is remarkable for its marvellous sculptures and the beautifully designed pyramidal roof of the porch.

The temple of Jagannath at Puri is also another fine example of north Indian style.

The whole of North India i.e. from the Orissa coast on the east to Kashmir on the west, was ornamented with temples of this style. The most famous and important cluster of temples can be found at KHAJURAHO, the capital of the Chandellas, and they were built by the rulers of this dynasty between 900 and 1150 A.D. A beautiful variation of this style, found in Rajasthan and Gujarat. It is characterized by a free use of of columns , carved with all imaginable richness, strut brackets, and exquisite marble ceilings with cusped pendants. The two best specimens of this style are those at Mt. Abu, built wholly of white marble in 1031 and 1230 A.D. "The beauty and delicacy of the carving and richness of design" of these temples surpass all description.

We get a vivid idea of the splendour and magnificence of the NORTH INDIAN TEMPLES from the following account of the temples of Mathura by Al Utbi, Secretary to Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni.

"In the middle of the city there was a temple larger and finer than the rest, which can neither be described nor painted. The Sultan thus wrote respecting it: "If any should wish to construct a building equal to this, he should not be able to do it without expending an hundred thousand thousand red dinars and it would occupy two hundred years, even though the most experienced and able workmen were employed." Among the idols there were five made of red gold, each five yards high, fixed in the air without support. In the eyes of one of these idols there were two rubies of such value, that if any one were to sell such as are like them he would obtain fifty thousand dinars. On another, there was a sapphire purer than water and more sparkling than crystal; the weight was four hundred and fifty miskals. The two feet of another idol weighed four thousand four hundred miskals, and the entire quantity of gold yielded by the bodies of these idols was ninety-eight thousand three hundred miskals. The idols of silver amounted to two hundred, but they could not be weighed without breaking them into pieces and putting them into scales. "

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