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(AD 600 900)

(AD 1100 1350)

(AD 900 - 1150)

(AD 1350 - 1565)

(AD 1600 -)

Marked development on Architecture

of the Dravidian region.
Productions provided the development
of Dravidian Architecture

out of struggle for power, the Cholas emerged triumphant.

The dynastic history began about 900 A.D and declined towards the middle of
12th century.
they extended their dominion as far as Ganga river in north to Srilanka in south.
Their power was such that they built over 2300 temples in Kaveri belt between
Tiruchirapally- Tanjore-Kumbhakonam, most of them being small but some are
grander and monumental exhibiting the vigour and glory of Cholas
Few instances of the work of this dynasty are found in and around the state of
Examples of large and massive temples are
Brihadeswara temple -Thanjavur 1010 CE
Temple of Gangaikonda - Cholapuram 1033 CE
Airavateswara temple at Darasuram Kumbakonam

The construction during Cholas dynasty were

Mostly constructed of well dressed granite blocks accurately coursed and bonded.
The dominating element of the Pallavan style the lion motif has disappeared, the pillars
which this leogriff adorned, got converted into purely abstract convention of
mouldings and other similar forms.
Tow changes form pallava type of order are discernible

One relating to the capital itself the other to the abacus above,
In the capital the neck mouldings has been introduced where it joins to the shaft, and
adding another member to the lower part of the capital in the form of a vessel or
As to the abacus the palagai or plank is much expanded so that combined with the
flower shape underneath which became the most striking element of the order.

Considerable amount of sculpture on the wall surfaces of the vimana, consisting of full
length figures installed within recesses.


The great Brihadeswara temple of Thanjavur dedicated to Lord
Siva was built and completed around 1010C.E by Rajaraja
Chola I.
The temple stands within the fort. The largest highest and most
ambitious temple build in granite Brought from long distance)
The temple is a landmark in the evolution of building art in
South India.
It was completed within a record time of six years.



The inner Prakaram of temple is 241 mts long 122 mts wide
with a gopuram on east and 3 ordinary torana entrances on
other sides.
The main structure is 55 mts long and the Sikhara is 60 mts
Colisters encircle on the inner face of the enclosure wall in
which number of smaller shrines are accommodated
The main temple contains several structures combined axially
and placed in the centre of a spacious walled enclosure from
east to west.
The compartments are
Nandi pavilion
Pillared portico
Assembly hall
Inner assembly hall


The main feature of the entire temple is the

grand tower of the Vimana at the western
end .
This the first highest Vimana built in India
The body of the Sikhara may be divided
into 3 main parts

Square vertical base

Tall tapering body
Graceful domical finial
The vertical body covers a square of 25
mts and rises to a height of 15 mts.


The plinth is extensively moulded and
engraved with inscriptions.
Life size statues of deities like Durga,
Lakshmi, Saraswathi Veerabadhra were
enchrined in wall niches.
Over the basement the vertical body is
divided into two storeys by a massive
horizontal cornice, which is repeated
over the second tier.
From this the pyramidal body mounts
up in 13 diminishing tiers, until the
width of its apex.
On the square platform stands the
large bulbous cupola. The monolithic
octagonal dome stone is weighing 80
tons made of single rock.

The tower resembles a human being

containing body, neck and head.
The huge kalasam or Vimanam(top
portion of the shrine) is believed to
weigh 81.28 tonnes of single stone
block and was raised to its present
height by dragging on an inclined
plane of 6.44 km.
The big Nandi (bull), weighing about
20 tonnes is made of a single stone and
is about 2 m in height, 6 m in length
and 2.5 m in width.
The main sanctum of the temple is a
Mahalingam, a huge lingam that is 23
feet in circumference and 9 feet high.
The outer wall of the upper storey is
carved with 81 dance karanas
postures of Bharathanatyam, the
classical dance of Tamil Nadu.





Gangaikonda Cholapuram
This monumental structure was built by the king Rajendra Chola I the son
of Rajaraja Chola I to commemorate the victory of his empire spread up to
Ganga river who ruled during 1018 CE to 1033.
The temple was built with an intention to excel in richness and grandeur
than its precede temple Brihadeshwara Temple.
The temple is situated 28 kms from Kumbakonam in Tamilnadu state.
The temple is also known as Brihadeswara temple at Cholapuram.

The name means The town of the chola who brought Ganga (water from

Ganga) or who defeated (the kings near) Ganga



The temple is large in plan that the temple at Tanjuvar , but less in height as
the Vimana measures only 46mts in height. The temple building was placed
in the middle of an immense walled enclosure.
The plan of the building makes a rectangle of 104 mts long and 33 mts wide
having main entrance on east
The compartments in this temple are

Detached Nandi pavilion in the front

Assembly hall
Vestibule or Antarala
In front of the main temple building is a detached Nandi pavilion within the
axis with a colossal image of Nandi


The main doorway gives access to an Assembly hall, which is a low
structure containing over 150 pillars of slender and simple design.

The pillars are closely set on either side but leaving a wide gap in the centre
axially making a spacious way to the sanctuary.
In between pillared hall and sanctuary there is a vestibule or transept
running at right angles to the axis of the building leading to north and south
There are deeply recessed side entrances approached by flight of steps from
outside on both sides to the vestibule. There are eight massive piers in this
vestibule and at the far end is the garbhagriha.

The front mandapa bears a simple appearance with its plain pillars. The
pyramidal vimana which rises over the sanctuary on western end is

On its plan it is a square of 30 mts side and vertically it resolves in to

Vertical ground story
Tapering body
Domical finial
The tapering body is in tiers with eight diminishing zones.
The contours of the tower are not strong straight lines
Concave curves are made making the tower smooth.
The domical finial is directly place on the square platform almost without


Hoysala empire was prominent in South India in Karnataka state embracing the
areas of Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh between 11th to 14th centuries.
The building art was already much nurtured early under Chalukyan kings from
5th to 8th century.
Under the patronage of Hoysala kings richly decorated and unique temples
were built.
As the Dravidian temples structures confined to Tamilnadu state the Chalukyan
Hoysala structures confined to Mysore state.
The temples architecture in this country is distinctive, original, separate,
decorative creative and unique.
The stone used in these temples was a greenish or bluish-black stone, which is a
close texture stone very tractable under the chisel and specially suitable to make
minute carvings.

Architectural character.
The distinct character of Hoysala temples structures are
1. Temple plan
2. Wall surfaces
3. Sikhara or tower
4. Order of pillars.
Temple plan

The temple layout comprises a central structure within an enclosure.

The surrounding walls support the pillared cloisters inside the compound.
Temple building is not rectangular in plan comprising of a row of compartments in an
axis which was common in most Indian temples.
Some temples have multiple sancturies. Hence the shape of plan are varied.
The temple stands on high raised terrace called Jagathi.
The basement terrace is much wider and spacious all round the temple useful for
procession and circumambulations.

Asthabhadra or stellate

The plan of these temples is distinctive and different. The walls either project or
They are elaborated into the shape of a star by means of a series of recesses and
The Astabadhra or stellate(star shaped ) is made by means of a geometrical
combination of equal size squares, each with a common centre but their
diagonals vary by several degrees.
The main building has 3 compartments namely:
Mukhamandapa- an open pillared pavilion
Navaranga pillared hall
Garbhagriha- cella

Wall surfaces
The walls are not plain.they are fully immeresed soaked with carving.
The lowest on the ground a procession of elephants
Then a border of Horsemen
A band of spiral foliage
Kirtimukh or sun face
Next in the order is a continuous row of evnets selelcted form grat epic stories

The top is a running pattern of Hamsas a kind of goose or legendary bird.

The sikhara is separated by a projecting cornice or eave. The stellate projections were
carried into the Vimana producing fluted effect.
The upward swing is balance by horizontal mouldings by means of diminishing tiers
terminating at the apex.
The horizontal and vertical portion of the sikhara consist o a complex grouping of
miniature shrines and niches each separated by moldings or ornamental string
The tower is parabolic which possess fine beauty and rich sculptured texture.

The Chennakesava Temple located at Somanathapura is one of the finest examples of

Hoysala architecture. The temple was built by Soma, a Dandanayaka ("commander")
in 1268 C.E. under Hoysala kingNarasimha III, when the Hoysala Empire was the
major power in South India.

This is the most complete temple situated about 30kms form Srirangapatna.
The diety is lord Vishnu.
The main temple is place in the middle of a rectangular courtyard measuring 66 mts by
54 mts surrounded by pillared cloisters containing 64 cells each with pillars in front.
The temple is entered through a eastern gateway.
The plan of the temple is stellate shaped having a wide terrace platform serving as an
IT contains a min pillared hall
3 shrines on western end, one in axial alignment and the others placed laterally.
This is a triple shrine temple having 3 sikharas termed as trikutachala.

The pillared hall has 2 compartments

Mukhamandapa or front open pillared
hall with 12 pillars
Navaranga or middle hall with 4
A doorway in the middle of 3 sides
leads to a vestibule or Sukhanasi each
which leads to the Cella.
The temple stands on a high platform
which has the figures of elephants
guarding the temple.

vesara style stellate shrine at Chennakesava

temple, Somanathapura
(East-facing) to the
temple is framed


Elephants are often found

on the lowest course of the
walls, as here, where they
symbolically support the
temple on their backs.

Wall relief, pierced windows and

molding frieze at the Chennakesava
temple, Somanathapura

Design of sikhara (tower) follows the

stellate plan of the shrine in the
Chennakesava temple at Somanathapura.

Close up of decorative lintel over

shrine entrance in the Chennakesava
temple at Somanathapura.

Minor shrine (aedicula) with

domical ceiling in the

Domical bay ceiling in the mantapa of

Chennakesava temple at Somanathapura

Decorative doorjamb and lintel at the entrance

to a shrine in the Chennakesava temple at