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DRAVIDIAN ARCHITECTURE

Dravidian culture
Dravidian order
Pallavan style- Rock cut production
Rathas, Shore Temple Mahabalipuram
Chola style-Brihadeeswara temple Tanjore
Pandya style -Evolution and form of the
Gopuram
Srirangam-Complexity in plan due to
complexity in ritual
Vijayanagara & Nayak style-Meenakshi temple
Madurai

DIFFERENT PHASES IN DRAVIDIAN ARCHITECTURE


The Dravidian style/ Southern style of architecture can be classified into
the following periods
1. Pallavan Style

600AD 900AD

2. Chola Style

900AD 1150AD

3. Pandya Style

1100AD 1350AD

4. Vijayanagara Style

1350AD 1565AD

5. Nayak/Madura Style 1600 AD onwards


The Dravidian Style of architecture can be categorised as a distinct
Evolution in Temple architecture through the various phases
There is a marked evolution in the planning of the temple and the
architectural treatment
Complexity in plannning due to the complexity in the rituals arose by the
12th c. AD (Pandya)
Broadly the classifications would be as follows:

Pallavan

Chola

- Rock cut and Structural Temples


- Development of the Vimana (Shikhara),
Walled enclosures
Gopurams

Pandya
- Evolution of the Gopuram number, height,
embellishment

GENESIS OF DRAVIDIAN STYLE UNDER THE PALLAVAS

600 AD 900 AD
There were two phases of architecture under the Pallavas

1st Phase-

Mahendra Group
halls
Mamalla Group
Mandapas

Rock cut
610 640 AD

Mandapas/ Pillared

640 690 AD

Rathas and

(Narasimhavarma)

2nd PhaseStructural
Rajasimha group
690 800 AD
Nandivarman group
Mandapas
800 Rathas
900 AD
1. Excavation

Temples
Temples

Monolith

2. Open pavilion

Shrine/ Temple chariot

3. Simple columned hall with

Series of shrines which

is an
one or more cellas at the rear

exact copy in granite of

1ST PHASE OF PALLAVAN ARCHITECTURE 610 690 AD


MANDAPAS
Pillared halls
Entirely rock cut
Buddhist influence shown- Viharas
Primitive detailing
The main pillared hall is served by a portico
and having 1 or more cellas deeply recessed in
the interior wall
The exterior is a faade formed of a row of
pillars
The early examples are found at Undavalli,
Bhairavakonda, Trichy
Columns:
Sq. shaft where the middle third is
chamfered into an octagon

UNDAVALLI

70 ht.
The dia of the column 10-20
Heavy bracket for capital- wooden origin
of a beam and bracket
Roll moulding added in later examples
This roll cornice was ornamented at

MANDAGAPATTU

1ST PHASE OF PALLAVAN ARCHITECTURE 610 690 AD


MANDAPAS - Mahabalipuram
There were a total of 10 mandapas at
Mahabalipuram
Features:
Similar proportions to earlier Mandapas
Width 25
Sculptures
Height-15 20
depicting
Depth 25
Mythological
Pillars height 9
stories
Dia-1- 2
Cells rectangular- 5 -10 side
Shallow porticoes

Krishna
Mandapam

Architectural treatment and sculptures


combining with architecture.
Faade contains- roll cornice decorated with
KUDUS, above this a parapet or attic member
formed of miniature shrines, a long one
alternating with a short one
The executor was primarily a sculptor
Basement was so planned and executed to
provide a long and narrow receptacle for
water for ablutions

Varaha

1ST PHASE OF PALLAVAN ARCHITECTURE 610 690 AD


EVOLUTION OF PALLAVAN ORDER

The early pillars were the rudimentary type of


beam and bracket
This was modified to a sophisticated design of the
capital and the shaft
Finally the introduction of an element- lion
This figure was incorporated into the lower portion
of the shaft and later at the capital
This lion symbolised the ruling dynasty
Simhavishnu
Details:
Sq. shaft where the middle third is chamfered

PARTS OF DRAVIDIAN ORDER

The principal elements in the


faade of the Mamallapuram
group is the lion pillar which
rests on the animals head
The crude block bracket is
obvious in early examples,
later gets more refined and
graceful
PALAGAI
IDAIE
KUMBHA
TADI
KALASA

SIMHA-LION
STAMBHAM

A natural leonine figure a


deviation from a grotesque
horned lion in the mandapas
Fluted banded shaftStambham
Refined necking- Tadi
Melon Capital Kumbha
Lotus form Idaie

EVOLUTION OF PALLAVAN ORDER

1ST PHASE OF PALLAVAN ARCHITECTURE 610 690 AD


RATHAS - Mahabalipuram

Seven pagodas exist, reproduced from


wooden examples
Beam heads, rafters, purlins, all transferred
into rock
Exteriors are completed and interiors are
incomplete
Unknown purpose of execution

1ST PHASE OF PALLAVAN ARCHITECTURE 610 690 AD


RATHAS - Mahabalipuram
Draupadi Ratha:
Smallest among the group dedicated to
Durga
Simplest and the most finished
A cell or Pansala square in plan
The shape of the roof concave pyramidal
roof-indicates it was a copy of the
thatched structure portable shrine
The base is supported by figures of
animals, a lion alternating with an
elephant
The corner ridges were decorated with
delicate carvings with volutes
There are niches containing high relief
Arjuna Ratha:
carvings
of the Durga
Stepped pyramid structure
decorate dwith Kudus
The square details at the cornes
are termed as Stupis and the
oblong ones in the faade Shalis
Square in plan 5m
High relief sculptures on external
walls between pilasters

1ST PHASE OF PALLAVAN ARCHITECTURE 610 690 AD


RATHAS - Mahabalipuram
Bhima Ratha:
Reproduces the Chaitya
mode
Keel or Barrel vaulted
roof with a Chaitya
Gable end
The structure is 2
stories high
The front portico
consists of 4 columns
Prototype for the
Gopuram of later
The gable
end of with
the roof
temples
the is
oblong
plan,with
diminishing
ornamented
a central
stories,
with
symbol similar
tokeel
the roof
stupa
pinnacles and gable end
Depicts a prayer hall with
curved barge boards taking the
place of the vaulted roof.
Decorative brackets simulate
Sahadeva
Ratha:
the ribs of the
vault
Reproduces the basilican plan with an
apsidal end and a barrel vault roof
Faces the south, 3 stories high

1ST PHASE OF PALLAVAN ARCHITECTURE 610 690 AD


RATHAS - Mahabalipuram
Stupi
Dharmaraja Ratha:
Dedicated to Shiva

Shala

Largest of the 5 rathas


Square in plan 10m

Kudu

Consists of 3 stories the last of


which is 13m high
No internal space other than
galleries with columns at the
entrance
It is a large scale version of
Arjuna Ratha with a larger no.
of miniature edifices carved in
the roof
There are 12 square Stupis at
Ratha: on
the cornersGanesh
and 24 Shalas
In elevation it has 2 parts
the sides- kudu
Dedicated to Shiva
Square portion with pillared
verandah below
Lion ornamenting a pier in
the faade
Pyramidical shikara/tower
formed by converted cells
2 Lion pillars in the portico
Strongly moulded stylobate
Aedicules on either side with
( Base)
carved sculptures
Lion pillared porticos
3 stories with the keel roof
Turreted roof

1ST PHASE OF PALLAVAN ARCHITECTURE 610 690 AD


RELIEF - Mahabalipuram

2ND PHASE OF PALLAVAN ARCHITECTURE 690 - 900 AD


STRUCTURAL TEMPLES
SHORE TEMPLE - Mahabalipuram
The Shore Temple was constructed in 700 AD by
Narasimha Varma II Rajasimha
Constructed of dressed Granite
The complex consists of 2 shrines dedicated to
Shiva and 1 shrine dedicated to Vishnu
Located near the shore of Mamallapuram the
temple was constructed with the intention of the
cella facing the east so that the first rays of the
sun would illuminate the shrine
Among the breakers stood a stone pillar to act
as a light house

Planning:

This concept led to the different arrangement of


The placement of the cella in the
the parts in the layout
east left no space for the mandapas,
forecourts and gateway
N

These were hence placed in the rear


of the shrine
The central structure is surrounded
by a massive enclosure wall, with the
entry on the western side of the
courtyard

2ND PHASE OF PALLAVAN ARCHITECTURE 690 - 900 AD


SHORE TEMPLE - Mahabalipuram
The addition of the shrine on the west with
the smaller spire gives the impression that it
is the main entrance
The 2 supplementary shrines have converted
the Shore temple into an unconventional
double towered monument Verticality of the
temple accentuated with a slender monolithic
stupi
The
central building seems to be a
Details:
development off the Rathas with a difference
Square lower storey
in the treatment
Pyramidal tower in diminishing tiers
Change in the shape of the tower seeming to rid of the
vihara
Rhythmic, buoyant composition than the rathas giving
the temple a lightness and soaring quality
Appearance of a pilaster- rampant lion as a relief
found wherever a structural form with an ornament was
required
The lion pillar with the Dravidian capital projects at
every angle and is also introduced at intervals around

2ND PHASE OF PALLAVAN ARCHITECTURE 690 - 900 AD


SHORE TEMPLE - Mahabalipuram
Surrounded by an outer rectangular
enclosure
Water Chambers:
Portions of the ground floor of the
enclosure consisted of a system of
shallow cisterns which could be
flooded on certain occasions
The space could hence be resolved
into a water temple
Some of the conduits and
receptacles can be traced
The water was fed into the system
by means of canal and conveyed by
sluices
Enclosure:
Overflow was carried through the
Surrounding
wall had
a sea
rear of the shrine
to the
parapet and coping with
figures of kneeling bulls
Bold projecting lion
pilasters on exterior wall
Entrance through a richly
ornamented doorway on the
western side
Leading to a corridor on one

2ND PHASE OF PALLAVAN ARCHITECTURE 690 - 900 AD


SHORE TEMPLE - Mahabalipuram

Halfway along the


corridor was a pillared
arcade containing an
altar probably for Naga
worship as all the
courts and passages
around could be filled
with water
Series of carved
panels on the side walls

CHOLA ARCHITECTURE 900 - 1150 AD


The capital of the Chola dynasty was the city of
Thanjavur from 836 1267 AD
The great temple of Thanjavur was founded by
Rajaraja I
The Cholas ruled the Deccan and emerged victorious
among many other kingdoms such as Pallavas,
Pandyas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas
They advanced as far as Bengal, Sri Lanka, Java,
Sumatra and had trade links as far as Indonesia
Their military and economic power was reflected in the
Kambahareswara Templegrand architectural productions under this period at
Tribhuvanam (Kumbakonam)
1178-1218
Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholapuram, Dharasuram and
Tribhuvanam

Gangaikondacholapuram
Temple

Airateswara TempleDarasuram

CHOLA ARCHITECTURE 900 - 1150 AD


Early Temples
Typical Features:
The temples are of modest proportions
Built entirely of stone
Egs. At Pudukottai- Sundareswara at Tirukattalai,
Vijayalaya at Nartamalai
These show the Dravidian style in its formative
stages
Use of well dressed granite
Pallavan influence observed in the vimana - similar
to the rathas
Similarities to the Chalukyan in shape of the
domical finial of the shikhara, which is similar to
egs. at Patadakkal
Treatment- simplification of the exteriors
compared to the Pallavas with elimination of the
details
Absence of the lion motif and pillar
The capital is modified to by addition of a neck
moulding padmabandham and the pot kalasa. The
Palagai is expanded to combine the Idaie
underneath
Koranganatha Temple Trichy

CHOLA ARCHITECTURE
Brihadeeswara Temple Thanjavur 1000 AD
The Brihadeeswara Temple at Tanjavur was
constructed around 1000 AD
The largest, highest and most ambitious
project at its time a landmark in the
evolution of South Indian Architecture
Superb architectural treatment and
Proportions
The
main structure is 180 long above which
Planning:
is
the towerto
190
high
Dedicated
Shiva

Surrounded by 2 walled precincts


The first one measures 270m x 140 m consisting of a
high wall running along the banks of the river Kaveri
The 2nd wall consists of a portico with a double row of
pillars, measures 150m x 75m
The Temple is entered through
The perimeter wall forms a rectangular cloister which
could be divided into 2 squares
The center of the 1st square contains the Nandi Pavilion
and the 2nd contains the Cella
Over the cella is the main Gopuram 60m high and 15m
at its base

CHOLA ARCHITECTURE
Brihadeeswara Temple Thanjavur 1000 AD

Plan
The Garbagriha is a mere 5m square surrounded by a thick wall
with a narrow corridor
Axial planning
The main cella is preceded by 2 hypostyle halls and a narrow

CHOLA ARCHITECTURE
Brihadeeswara Temple Thanjavur 1000 AD
Components of Vimana:
The main Vimana is a huge solid block on the western end
consisting of 3 parts:
1. Square vertical base
Vertical base:
2. Tall tapering body
Square of 82 rising to a ht. of
3. Domical finial
50
The square vertical base rises for
2 stories to accommodate the
Linga which was increased in ht.
An upper gallery was hence
added creating a 2nd storey, with
the 2 levels of the tower
Pyramidal portion:
receiving the same treatment
13 diminishing stories
until the width of the
apex is 1/3 base
Cupola:
On the square platform
stands the cupola, the
inward curve of the
neck breaking the rigid
outlines of the
composition

CHOLA ARCHITECTURE
Brihadeeswara Temple Thanjavur 1000 AD
Architectural treatment:
Vertical face:
The wall is divided into 2 stories by means
of an overhanging cornice which is the only
horizontal member
Contains pilasters and niches with
sculptures
In the middle of each recess is a figure
subject
The mastery of the sculptors is seen in the
Dvarapalas which stand guard at the gate
The entire periphery of the temple base
consists of mythical animals lions

Pyramidal roof:
The surfaces are adorned with
the horizontal lines of the
diminishing tiers
The Cupola at the summit is
contrasted with the minged
niches on all the 4 sides

CHOLA ARCHITECTURE
Brihadeeswara Temple Thanjavur 1000 AD
The double portico of 450 m perimeter running all around the structure
contains 252 lingas in black stone arranged under corbelled vaults carried
on 400 pillars all around
The wall behind the portico is beautifully painted

CHOLA ARCHITECTURE
Brihadeeswara Temple Thanjavur 1000 AD
The first Gopuram is the
Keralaanthagan Gopuram
Five storied structure
30m high giving access to the 1st of
the 2 rectangular precincts
Contains sculpture enhanced with
stucco, painted in vivid colours
The second Gopuram is the
Rajaraja Gopuram
3 storied structure
A 4 columned vestibule seperates the
cella from the Mandapa
Square in plan with 6 bays of columns
each
Preceded by a rectangular mandapa
Before this is a 24 columned porch
accessed by 3 staircases
Strict axial arrangement disrupted by
additions later

CHOLA ARCHITECTURE
Brihadeeswara Temple Thanjavur 1000 AD

CHOLA ARCHITECTURE
Brihadeeswara Temple Thanjavur 1000 AD

PANDYA ARCHITECTURE 1100 1350 AD


The Genesis of the Gopurams of Dravidian Style
After the Cholas- architecture was at its peak with the
concentration being on the Vimana
Changes during the Pandya period:

Vimana ceased to be the centre of concentration

The supplementary and outlying portions were


developed

Reasons were sentimental- do not touch God

Walls were built/Pylons were the centre of


concentration for architecture

Became the main feature of South Indian Temples

Derivation of the Cow gate- City gate- Temple


gate- Gopuram
Considerable political changes were taking place. The
most threatening force from the north - the allconquering hordes of Islam.
This threat made the Pandya rulers hurriedly throw up
makeshift battlements around their cities and the heart
of their towns -the temples. This called for modifying the
Temple to a Fortress which was unacceptable
To change the outer covering, i.e. the form of the temple
itself would be nothing short of sacrilege.
The solution was hence to raise the gates of the fortress
to the level of architecture. This was the genesis of the
famous gopurams, or entrance gateways of the temple

PANDYA ARCHITECTURE 1100 1350 AD


The Genesis of the Gopurams of Dravidian Style
The temple consisted of a series of concentric walls
enclosing open courtyards or Prakarams, approached
through high watch towers
The walls were purely utilitarian with no aesthetic
value
The tall gateways were given embellishment
Typical features of the Gopuram:
Oblong in plan
Tapering tower of 100-150 ht.
Entered by a rectangular doorway in the center of
the long side
Similar to the Egyptian Propylons
Sloping or battered sides
The lowest 2 stories of the tower are vertical, of solid
stone masonry providing a stable structure for the
super structure
The superstructure was composed of brick and
plaster
Superstructure :
Pyramidal in shape
Diminishing tiers
The angle of slope from the vertical is 25

PANDYA ARCHITECTURE 1100 1350 AD


The Genesis of the Gopurams of Dravidian Style
Differences between Vimana and Gopuram:
The 2 main forms in the Temple are distinguished by
the top story in each
Vimana is square in plan with a rounded cupola for the
finial (derived from the Vihara)
Gopuram is oblong in plan with a vaulted roof
( influence from the keel roof of the Buddhist
Chaitya Hall)
There existed two types as to the form of the Gopuram
with respect to the appearance and the surface
treatment
First type:
Straight sloping sides
Firm and rigid contours
Geometric form where the treatment is architectural
Pillars and pilasters were used
Second type: more ornate
Curved and concave sides
Creating an upward sweep
Surface treatment is of Florid nature
Figure subjects predominate
Every portion is plastered thick with images

Type 1

Type 2

PANDYA ARCHITECTURE 1100 1350 AD


The Genesis of the Gopurams of Dravidian Style
Surface Decoration:
Most of the Pandya Gopurams are of the
architectural type simple and conventional due to
the early period of evolution
Dravidian Order:
Pillars and capital saw two changes
The Idaie or flower motif was given a scalloped edgefoliated and exquisite appearance
Alteration of the Bracket overhanging the bracket
into a moulded pendent or a drop
The Palagai was altered in proportion
Abacus 2 thick, 4 6 feet dia
Temple Planning:
Expansion of the Dravidian temple like that of a tree
trunk
First the temple in the centre
Concentric walls and gopurams added at a later date
The smaller gopurams are hence towards the centre
with the taller ones at the periphery
Each concentric ring shows the developmental
stages
Example- Jambukeswara temple TrichySundaraPandiya Gopuram built in 1250,

PANDYA ARCHITECTURE 1100 1350 AD


The Genesis of the Gopurams of Dravidian Style

Gopuram on Eastern side of the inner enclosure at

NAYAK ARCHITECTURE 1600 AD onwards


Evolution of the Temple- Complexity in Plan due to Complexity in
Ritual
The muslims started moving south which led to the shifting of the capital
south at Madurai
The architecture flourished principally under the rule of Tirumalai Nayak
1623 1659
The Madura Style as it is also known as was a revival of the Pandya style of
architecture

The expansion of the temples corresponded to the expansion of the


temple ritual :

The forms and ceremonies became more elaborate leading to the


arrangement of buildings for the activities
The increase in the structural form was due to the wider powers given to
the deity

Planning of the temple:


Deity :
The cella or Garbagriha was dark, symbolic of the return to the womb
experience in temples
The inner portions of the temples were hence strictly reserved for the
sacred habitation of the god
On certain occasions the deity is led in procession to take part in
festivals, for which purpose temples utilised the outer precincts
To hence satisfy the requirements of these rituals the temple resolves
itself to 2 main primary formations

NAYAK ARCHITECTURE 1600 AD onwards


Evolution of the Temple- Complexity in Plan due to Complexity in
Ritual
INNER

AREAS :
Consisted of flat roofed courts, one enclosed within the other
This normally covered a fairly large rectangular space
Within the inner of the 2 courts is the sanctum, the cupolas of
which covered in gilt projects out through the flat roofs acting as
the focal center
There is a guarded seclusion to the inner area
OUTER AREAS:
Concentric series of open courtyards known as Prakarams
Enclosed within high walls, open to sky as they are too large to
be roofed
Provide space for secular buildings connected with the
ceremonies
EXPANSION OR GROWTH OF TEMPLES:
1. Inner Areas or Cella: Wholly covered and sancrosanct
The Cella and the Portico form the sanctum origin of temple
Cella was enclosed within another flat roofed hall to protect the
original sanctuary and to emphasize the sacredness
Pillared aisles were added entrance through a small gopuram in
front on the east
Later the covered court was enclosed within a similar structure,

NAYAK ARCHITECTURE 1600 AD onwards


Evolution of the Temple- Complexity in Plan due to Complexity in
Ritual
2. Outer Areas:
The entire composition was enclosed within a rectangle by means
of a high wall
The remaining space was left to provide a wide open courtyard or
Prakaram
The enclosure was entered by Gopurams, one on the E and W
The Gopuram on the E was the principal doorway and largest
Various structures were erected inside - pillared halls or Mandapas
and subsidiary shrines
Semi religious buildings such as granaries, store rooms for
ceremonial supplies
Later concentric rectangles were added contained within higher
enclosing walls leaving another open space between the inner and
the outer perimeters
4 entrances adorned the four walls in the center at the cardinal
points

Each consisted of a Gopuram larger than the previous one within


the outermost enclosure 2 large important structures were builtThousand Pillared Hypostyle hall and a Square Tank of water for
ablutions, lined with steps and surrounded by an arcade

This formed the basis for temple layouts but layer temples were
sometimes disproportionately enlarged Srirangam which has 7
concentric rectangular enclosures the whole resembling a town.

NAYAK ARCHITECTURE 1600 AD onwards


Evolution of the Temple- Complexity in Plan due to Complexity in
Ritual
Elements of Temple:
1. Gopuram in the exterior

Characteristic of the southern style


Most of them are 1st class Gopurams

150 high to 200


16 stories
central doorway 25 high on longer side

Forms a corridor through the gopuram


Rooms on either side for guardian and the door keeper
One
of landing
these rooms
has a staircase to reach the gopuram with
a wide
at each
storey leading to the summit

External treatment
Ht. of Gopuram emphasized by vertical lines
Each storey has a perpendicular projection
In-between each storey diminishing tiers, forming horizontal
lines

Horizontal
portion sometimes had figures- which were life
size.

NAYAK ARCHITECTURE 1600 AD onwards


Evolution of the Temple- Complexity in Plan due to Complexity in
Ritual
2. Pillars or Colonnades in the interiors

Moderate ht. of 12

Presence of a 1000 pillared hall eg. At


Madurai

4 kinds of pillars
1. Square moulded patterned - simplest
one enlarged to a
square pier normally
with radiating brackets
2. Rampant dragon -Most common type
1000 pillared hall
Superstructures are cleverly
composed above the
dragon pillars
Gryphon bracket, capital or
beam
3. Deity
4. Portrait of the donor or family
The third and fourth are similar,
bigger than life size and attached
to the shafts
No structural significance, held by

NAYAK ARCHITECTURE 1600 AD onwards


MEENAKSHI SUNDARESWAR TEMPLE MADURAI
The Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple (twin
temples) is one of the biggest temples in India.
The original temple built by Kulasekara
Pandyan was in ruins. The plan for the current
temple structure was laid by Viswanath Naik
and was completed by Tirumalai Nayakar.
The Aadi, Chittirai, Maasi, and Veli streets
surround the temple.
Both temples are adorned with exquisite
carvings & sculptures and gold plated
The temple has 2 main
vimanams.
sanctuaries dedicated to Shiva
and his consort Meenakshi
The temple is hance a temple
within a temple
The outer wall is almost a
square measuring
850 x 725 with 4 large
gateways towards the center of
the 4 sides

NAYAK ARCHITECTURE 1600 AD onwards


Planning:
The main Gopuram leads one to the
pillared avenue 200 x 100
This leads to the smaller Gopuram
forming the eastern entrance to the 2nd
Prakaram
The 2nd Prakaram is a rectangular
enclosure 420 x 310 having 4
gopurams in the center of each wall
All the Gopurams are smaller than the
previous one as is the case with all
temples
Most of the 2nd enclosure is covered
with a flat roof, partly open in the N
Within this is another court 250 x 156
with one entrance on the E
The most elaborate part of the temple
and the most intricate grouping of
pillars is found outside this entrance
The sacred shrine is located inside the

NAYAK ARCHITECTURE 1600 AD onwards


MEENAKSHI SUNDARESWAR TEMPLE MADURAI
The Sanctum Sanctorum Shiva:
The shrine consists of 3 components
Assembly hall
Vestibule
Cella
The cella is surmounted by a shikhara which
penetrates through the flat roof seen from outside
rising like a golden crown
The courts, corridors, halls making up the
enclosures have colonnades of pillars arranged in
long lines or groups forming diverse vistas in all
directions

Sanctuary of Meenakshi:
The other sanctuary of the temple is dedicated to
Meenakshi fish eyed
Enclosure on the S side of the temple at the rear
Half size reproduction having one compartment
within the other
225 x 150 entered by 2 Gopurams the one on the
W being larger then the E

NAYAK ARCHITECTURE 1600 AD onwards


MEENAKSHI SUNDARESWAR TEMPLE
Pool of Golden Lilies:
Lies in front of the Meenakshi shrine
Rectangular 165 x 120
Surrounded by steps and a pillared portico on all 4 sides
The great mass of the S Gopuram is seen in the
background over 150 high and reflected on its surface

In the middle is a tall brass lamp column.


The reflection of the granite pillars in the colonnade
From
NE corner of the tank in the outer
adds the
beauty
enclosure is a Gopuram marking the processional
passage to the shrine indicating an independent
entrance
There are totally 11 Gopurams the 4 outer ones
being 1st class over 150 high

Mandapa:
Court of 1000 Pillars was added in 1560 on the
NE of the outer Prakaram
240 x 250
Faces south alongside a wide pillared approach of
the main entrance
The interior consists of a central aisle with a
double row of columns
Small shrine on the N end Sabhapati
Behind the colonnades forming the aisle are row
upon row of pillars 985 columns in all

NAYAK ARCHITECTURE 1600 AD onwards


MEENAKSHI SUNDARESWAR TEMPLE
Outside the main enclosure in axial allignment
with the E Gopuram is the Vasantha or Pudu
Mandapam Tirumalai Nayaks Choultry
Parallelogram 330 x 105 built for 7 years
Reception hall or temporary place for the deity
during festivals
Central nave and 2 aisles with 4 rows of pillars
elaborately carved giving a wonderful
perspective of the interiors
In the center is a separate group of columns
with sculptured shafts with 10 life size statues of
the Nayak house and Tirumalai the builder of the
mandapam