Different Types of Mandirs and Their Architecture

Learn about the various types of mandirs and their unique architectural styles from different regions.

7/17/20232 min read

building with pink and orange lights at night
building with pink and orange lights at night

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  1. Nagara Style: The Nagara style is prevalent in North India and is characterized by a curvilinear tower called a shikhara. The shikhara is usually adorned with intricate carvings and often tapers to a point. Nagara-style mandirs often have a main sanctum housing the deity, surrounded by smaller shrines, and are built on an elevated platform called a jagati.

  2. Dravidian Style: The Dravidian style is prominent in South India and is characterized by towering gateways called gopurams, which feature multiple levels of intricate sculptures and carvings. Dravidian mandirs have a rectangular or square layout and typically feature multiple concentric enclosures. The inner sanctum or garbhagriha houses the main deity.

  3. Vesara Style: The Vesara style is a fusion of Nagara and Dravidian architectural elements, primarily found in Western India. It combines the curvilinear shikhara with elements like the multi-storeyed gopurams seen in Dravidian architecture. The Vesara style showcases a mix of features from both Nagara and Dravidian traditions.

  4. Sikhara Style: The Sikhara style, also known as the Kadamba or Deccan style, is seen in the temples of the Deccan region. It is characterized by a stepped pyramid-like structure called a Sikhara, which gradually recedes in successive layers. The Sikhara-style mandirs often have pillared halls, intricate carvings, and sculptures.

  5. Hemadpanthi Style: The Hemadpanthi style is associated with temples built during the rule of the Yadava dynasty in Maharashtra. This architectural style features a blend of stone and wood elements. Hemadpanthi mandirs are known for their simplicity, minimal ornamentation, and the extensive use of black basalt stone in their construction.

  6. Jain Temples: Jain temples, known as derasars, have their distinctive architectural style influenced by Jain principles and teachings. They often feature intricately carved marble or granite facades, elaborate domes, and detailed sculptures representing Jain deities, Tirthankaras, and symbols of Jainism.

  • It's important to note that these styles serve as general categories, and within each style, there can be variations and regional sub-styles. Mandirs can also exhibit a combination of architectural influences, resulting in unique and diverse structures. The intricate carvings, sculptures, and ornate decorations found in many mandirs reflect the rich artistic heritage of India and demonstrate the devotion and craftsmanship associated with temple construction.

Mandirs (temples) come in various architectural styles, influenced by different regions, historical periods, and religious traditions within Hinduism. Here are some prominent types of mandirs and their distinctive architectural features