Heavy ornamentation on medieval temples - Comment

Heavy Ornamentation on medieval temples - Comment

Question:-Large scale ornamentation is visible on medieval temples compared to those of the ancient period. Comment.

Development of Temples: Indian temple architecture has evolved over centuries and, built and carved with proficiency and intricacy. Temple architecture started during the Gupta period where large scale development was seen. Temple building started with wood initially and gradually brick and stone temples were seen. It is possible that the design of the temple may have been influenced by the preceding Buddhist architecture, which is evidenced by some temples that have the image in the center of the shrine, surrounded by an ambulatory path resembling the path around a stupa.

Most of the Gupta temples that have survived the ravages of time are smaller, consisting of a central chamber, constructed of solid masonry, with a veranda either at the entrance or on all four sides of the temple complex. The sikhara, characteristic of the north Indian temple, developed during this period which with time was made taller.

Aihole and Pattadakal are home to some of the oldest temples in the south. Pattadakal which was another capital of the Chalukyan empire, became a major in the 7th and 8th centuries. The styles adopted by them eventually became typical of north and south Indian architecture.

Ornamentation became a significant part of temple architecture in coming years which is reflected in the extensively sculpted figures having great details. Decoration in temples of ancient India was relatively simple and did not become elaborate until the medieval period where kings started giving huge patronage and building temples to commemorate a victory as or something reflecting their grandeurs. Most ancient stone temples however were almost always the result of royal patronage, an expression of devotion and pity of the ruler.

It was considered a pious act on the part of the patron and something that would give me peace and liberation. It was the donor who was acknowledged and not the sculptor.

In the first few stages of evolution, the temples of North and South were differentiated according to some specific features like the sikhara and gopurams. In north Indian temples, the sikhara continued to be the most prominent component while the gopuram was generally modest.

South Indian temples were marked by enclosures around the complex and the gopurams. There were some common features between the two styles as well like the ground plan, sculptures on the walls along with a range of decorative elements.

The Chola and Pallava temples showcase an array of sculptures that are elaborately carved on the temple walls. The Khajuraho group of temples are the grandest belonging to the medieval period. The walls of the temples abound in tons of different images.

The ancient tradition of depicting yakshis continued. Temples of the this period also depicted apsaras, celestial beauties and dreamy kanyas, beautiful women etc. Beauty was an essential element thar was portrayed.

The underlying philosophy of a temple is that it represents the micro and macrocosm.

The architecture of Indian temples is elaborate with minute details and the rich and varied history of these temples is something that makes it interesting and intriguing.
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