NAGAR STYLE OF ARCHITECTURE (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Art nd Culture)

News-CRUX-10     20th January 2024        

Context: The ram temple in Ayodhya will be inaugurated on January 22. Designed by Chandrakant Sompura, 81, and his son Ashish, 51, it is being built in the Nagara style of temple architecture.

Nagara Style

  • About: The Nagara style of temple architecture originated in the fifth century CE during the late Gupta period in northern India, contemporaneously with the Dravida style in the south.
  • Features: Nagara temples are characterized by their towering shikhara, constructed on a raised plinth. 
  • The sanctum sanctorum, or garbha griha, holds the deity, with the shikhara towering above it as the most distinctive feature of the Nagara style.
  • Shikhara: Shikharas in Nagara temples serve as symbolic representations of the natural and cosmological order, rooted in Hindu tradition. 
  • They embody concepts like Meru, Mandara, and Kailasa, reflecting the axis of the world.
  • The Temple's Cosmic Connection: The names Meru, Mandara, and Kailasa, central to early texts, signify the temple's role as the axis and destination of the world edifice.
  • Architectural Components: A typical Nagara temple includes a raised plinth, a garbha griha, a shikhara, a circumambulatory passage around the sanctum, and one or more mandapas on the same axis. 
  • Five modes of Nagara temple architecture: Valabhi, Phamsana, Latina, Shekhari, and Bhumija.