Development of Temple Architecture during Pallavas

FIRST PHASE – MANDAPS (Period 600 AD – 640 AD)

( a) Mahendra Style

  • Cut out of Hills
  • Consist of a main gate
  • Pillars usually square, tall & thin
  • Peculiar forms of Dwarapalas, Prabha toranas, Cubical pillars, Lion like the capital of pillar used
  • Pillars have Capital, ornamentation over pillars
  • Deities displayed in Mandaps
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Mahendra Style of Temple Architecture

( b) Narsimha Varman Style / Mammal Style

  • Main centre – Mamallapuram
  • Mandaps more developed and show richer ornamentation
  • Animals , Nagas too depicted

( c) Some Important Mandaps

  • Panch Pandav cave at Pallav Varam
  • Trimurti cave at Mandag Pattu
  • Vishnu cave at Maman Dur
  • Adi Varah cave at Mahabalipuram
  • Ramanuj cave at Mahabalipuram

SECOND PHASE – RATHAS (Period 640 AD – 690 AD)

  • Represents Narsimnavarman style
  • They are Monolithic temples, Cut out of single rock
  • The characteristic feature is beautiful pillars
  • Pillars based on lion’s head
  • Scenes from Ramayan, Mahabharat, Puranas depicted
  • Colossal elephants and other animals depicted
    • Seven pagodas at Mamallapuram are the best examples
    • All are Saiva temples
    • Sahdeo Rath is semi-circular in shape
    • Nakul & Sahdeo Rathas have no deity inscribed
    • Bhima, Ganesh, Sahdeo, Rathas having two or more storeys and are like Chaityas
    • The Largest and the most popular and pyramidical shikhara is Dharamraj Rath
    • The Smallest showing no. ornamentation and like mobile rath is Draupadi Rath
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Narsimnavarman style of Temple Architecture


(a) Rajsimha style (700 AD – 800 AD)

  • This represents the first phase in the development of temple architecture
  • Built of Stones, Departure from old style
  • Mark beginning of free-standing temples
  • Beautiful harmony among various parts
  • Garbhagariha, Pyramidical Shikhara, Assembly hall are important parts
  • Shore Temple, Kailashnath Temple, Vaikunth Perumal Temple are important examples
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Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple – Rajsimha style of Temple Architectre

(b) Nandivarman style (800 AD – 900 AD)

  • This represents the last phase in the development of temple architecture
  • Temples were small structures and prototype of previous ones
  • They show no novelty value
  • Temples show greater development of capitals
  • Mukteswar temple (Kanchi), Mang Teswar temple (Kanchi), Parashurameshwar (Gudi Malam) are some examples.

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