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Indian Hindu & Ganga Dynasties

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Hindu Temples. L. Temple of Vishnu R.Lingaraja Temple
L. 19th c Indian Hindu Architecture

HINDU DYNASTIES Anonymous (active c 600 - c. 1600) Primary
L. 1827
L. 19th c
L. Singapore. R. India
The major element of Hindu temples is the shrine itself which served as a home for the god. Called the garbhagriha, or womb chamber, its shape is that of a cube. In most temples the central shrine is topped by a tall tower which indicates its importance and which symbolizes the AXIS MUNDI, or world center which goes from the upper realm down through the tower and the body of the god within the shrine down to the lower world, thus uniting the three worlds. The shapes of these superstructures differ as do their names. The type seen on the left, which is more popular in southern India, is called the "vimana. " It is generally rectangular in shape and it is crowned by a simple capstone. The type more popular in the north and in the east, called the "sikhara" is more rounded in shape and is topped with a pillow-like form called an "amalaka." Either type may have additional buildings attached, most often assembly halls called "mandapas," and many have dance and offering halls and are surrounded by additional shrines. The shrine in both types is known as the "garbhagriha." Both types were decorated with sculpture, but the sculpture was used in different ways. Notice the profusion of large figures on the vimana of the southern type temple on the left. While figures are also used on the temple from the province of Orissa on the right, they are smaller and are subordinated to a profusion of architectural moldings on both the sikhara and the mandapa. Neither type of Indian temple could be called austere. As Hinduism spread to other areas we will find variations of these basic types. The Southern Indian style, which we see on the left, was adopted by Singapore. Later in the lesson we will look at temples from Java and from Cambodia, each with their own variations, but in all of them, the shrine as the house for the god topped by a tall tower, remains constant.

Caption: HINDU | THindu Temples. L. Temple of Vishnu R.Lingaraja Temple| 1827 | Singapore | South Indian
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