Vesara style temple
Vesara style temple

Vesara style temple architecture in the Deccan and central parts. Hybrid of two. In plan, it resembles Dravida style whereas in the shape of its details it resembles Nagara style. Many historians agree that the Vesara style originated in what is today Karnataka. These temples were built by the Hoysala dynasty in Mysore. And by later Chalukyas. Temples at Belur, Halebid, and Somnathpura are supreme examples of this style.

Vesara style temple
Chennakesava Temple: Somnathpura

Important charecteristics of Vesara style temple

  • The boundary wall of the complex: It was a little later development, in the South Indian style, having small Cellas in the wall as enclosure and facing the main shrine in a  rectangular courtyard.
  • Ardhamandapa: A porch directing to the central hall.
  • Mandapa: The main pillared main hall came from the porch. The hall was big enough to hold a large gathering of the followers.
  • Mahamandapa: The projection on either side of the main hall.
  • Vestibule: Antarala or an intermediate space connecting the cella (Garbhagriha) and the main hall (mandapa).
  • Vimana: The cloister(the inner holy place).
  • Garbhagriha: “cella” of the “womb house” including the idol with an opening on the eastern side.
  • Pradakshinapath: Circumambulatory path around the cella for the devotees to move around the deity but at the same time maintain distance from the deity.
  • Shikhara: The tower or the superstructure above the cloister in Nagara style. Sometimes the top story is also called shikhara in Dravida style.
  • Gavakshas: Horseshoe-shaped arched on the shikhara, used for decoration.
  • Amalakas: The ribbed disc-like component on the top of the tower.
  • Stupi: A small picture of the stupa from on the top of the tower.
  • Shalas: barrel vaults shaped topping over the tower.
  • Pediment: a semicircular space created over a pair of columns, generally used for ornamentation purposes.
Vesara style temple
Kailash Temple: Ellora
Vesara style temple
Temple Complex: Pattadakal

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Chalukya Style example of Vesara style temple

  • Tungabhadra region of central Karnataka,  India, during the 11th and 12th centuries. The center of cultural and temple-building Chalukyan styles is the distinctive style of ornamented architecture that evolved during the rule of the western Chalukyas empire in the Tungabhadra region of central Karnataka,  India, during the 11th and 12th centuries. The center of cultural and temple-building activity lay in the Tungabhadra region, where large medieval workshops built numerous monuments. These monuments, regional variants of pre-existing Dravidian (south Indian) temples, defined the Karnata Dravidian tradition. Temples of all sizes built by the Chalukyas architects during this era remain today as examples of architectural style.
  • The Chalukyan style originated in Aihole around a.d. 450 and perfected in the neighboring villages of Badami and Pattadakal (all in Bagalkot district of Karnataka). Chalukyan artists experimented with different styles, blended the Indo-Aryan nagara and  Dravidian styles, and evolved their own distinctive styles. One can see magnificent examples of their earliest works in Aihole, Badami, and Pattadakal.
  • These certainly are not the earliest temples. Temples had made centuries before the 4th and 5th-century a.d., but with wood and bricks and have not survived. The surviving western Chalukyas monuments like temples built in the Shaiva, Vaishnava, and Jain religious traditions. None of the military, civil, or courtly architecture has survived; being built of mud, brick, and wood, such structures may not have withstood repeated invasions.
Vesara style temple
Lad Khan Temple At Aihole- Early Temples Of Chalukya Style
Vesara style temple
Durga Temple At Aihole- Early Temples Of Chalukya Style

Chalukyan temples fall into two categories —

  • The 1st is temples with a common mandapa (a colonnaded hall) and two shrines(known as Dvikuta), and the 2nd is temples with one mandapa and a single shrine (Ekakuta).
  • Both types of temples have 2 or more entrances giving access to the main hall.
  • This format differs from both the designs of the northern Indian temples, which have a  small closed mandapa leading to the shrine, and the southern Indian temples which generally have a large, open, columned mandapa.
  • The Chalukyas architects included features from both northern and southern styles.
  • However, in the overall arrangement of the main temple and of the subsidiary shrines,  they inclined towards the northern style and tended to build one main shrine with four minor sanctums, making the structure a Panchayatna or five-shrined complex.
  • Chalukyan temples were, almost always, built facing towards the east.
  • The sanctum (cella) is attached by a vestibule (Ardha-mandapa or ante-chamber) to the closed mandapa (also called the Navaranga), which is linked to the open mandapa.
  • Sometimes, there can be two or more open mandapas. In Shaiva temples, directly opposite the sanctum and opposite the closed mandapa is the Nandi mandapa, which enshrines a large image of Nandi, the bull attendant of shiva.

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About Chalukyan temples

  • The shrine usually has no Pradakshina.
  • The pillars that support the roof of the mandapa are monolithic shafts from the base up to the neck of the capital. Therefore, the height of the mandapa and the overall size of the temple had limited by the length of the stone shafts that the architects were able to obtain from the quarries.
  • The height of the temple was also constrained by the weight of the superstructure on the walls and, since Chalukyas architects did not use mortar, by the use of dry masonry and sticking stones without clamps or cementing material.
  • The lack of mortar permits some ventilation in the innermost parts of the temple through the porous masonry used in the walls and ceilings.
  • The modest amount of light entering the temples comes into the open halls from all directions, while the very subdued illumination in the inner closed mandapa comes only through its open doorway.
  • The vestibule receives even less light, making it necessary to have some form of artificial lighting (usually, oil lamps) even during the day.
  • This artificial source of light perhaps adds  “mystery” to the image of the deity worshipped in the sanctum.

A typical western Chalukyas temple may be examined from three aspects —

The Basic Floor Plan :

  • The basic floor plan is defined by the size of the shrine, the size of the sanctum, the distribution of the building mass, and by the Pradakshina (path for circumambulation) if there is one.

The Architectural Articulation :

  • Architectural articulation guides the ornamental components that provide shape to the outer wall of the shrine. However, these include projections, recesses, also representations that can produce a variety of patterns and outlines, either stepped, stellate (star-shaped), or square.
  • If stepped (also called “stepped diamond of projecting corners”), these components form five or seven projections on each side of the shrine, where all but the central one are projecting corners (projections with two full faces created by two recesses,  left and right, that are at right angles with each other).
  • If square (also called “square with simple projections”), these components form three or five projections on a side, only two of which are projecting corners. Stellate patterns form star points which are normally eight-, sixteen-, or thirty-two- pointed and are sub-divided into interrupted and uninterrupted stellate components.

Also, Read: North Indian style temple / Nagara style temple

The Figure Sculptures :

  • Figure sculptures are miniature presentations that stand by themselves, including architectural elements on pilasters, buildings, sculptures, and complete buildings. They are generally categorize as “figure sculpture” or “other decorative features”.
  • On occasion, rich figure sculpture can obscure the articulation of a shrine, when representations of gods, goddesses, and mythical figures are in abundance.
  • To look at some of these evolutionary features, it may note that the temples had flat or slightly sloping roofs and they had surmounted by small ‘shikhara’s. A pillared hall (mandapa) was a later addition. Features such as ‘sukanaasi’, ‘garbhagriha’, ‘Mukha mandapa’, and ‘pradakshina path  (circumambulatory path) became default features at a later date are conspicuous by their absence in some of these early Chalukyas temples. Durga temple at Aihole is an exception.

Temple Complex: Pattadakal

Vesara style temple
Temple Complex: Pattadakal
  • Virupaksha temple is located in Hampi 350 km from Bangalore, located in the state of Karnataka. The Virupaksna temple at Pattadakal is the earliest temple complex of the Chalukyas. The temple represents both the northern and southern styles of architecture.  The temple had dedicated to lord shiva, known here as Virupaksha.  
  • The main square structure has a tall 4-storeyed vimana. The mandap pillars are richly sculpture. It consists of a tall vimana, mandaps, and shorter shrines around the courtyard surrounded by a wall. The main and side walls have large gopura entrances.
  • It has a brick superstructure and a 2-tiered stone base.  It gives entry to the outdoor court including many sub-shrines. The smaller shrines are 2-storeyed and have vaulted halls.
Virupaksha Temple
layout
  • Built during the reign of Vikramaditya. It has dedicated to shiva. Skill was imported from Pallavas which is evident from the inscription and style used. Vikramaditya conquered Kanchipuram- brought the architect to build the temple which created a huge influence on architectural style. This temple had better proportions in the plan and placement of the shrine/ pillared hall. The temple length is 120’ with a detached Nandi pavilion in the front.

About Virupaksha Temple example of Vesara style temple

  • The cella, surrounded by a narrow passage and gives in to a fine hypostyle hall with 4 bays of 4 pillars . Further 2 pillars precede the cella forming a kind of porch, the hypostyle hall forms the center of the composition, surrounded by 3  projecting portals creating a cruciform plan. Axial portal with a mandapa in front with the Nandi stands in the center of the courtyard entered via a gateway in the form of a low gopuram. Solidity was relieved by an increase in the sculptured ornamentation. Existence of moldings, pilasters, cornices brackets, floral scrollwork, perforated windows, and other ornamental carvings.
  • Full-sized statuary- figures- by master sculptors. Statue and architecture gel together here. Filling- divided by pilasters 1 or 2, well-proportioned spaces, niches rotating with perforated windows. The duplicative shrine- Dravidian character. The style of the temple has governed by the individual niche or shrine. Temple is the development of the born shrine. A shaft or the pillar- tapering at the top. A structure rising above the parapet at the back of each portico called the gopuram – gate head developed into horn and scroll motif over the entrance.
Virupaksha Temple

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Rashtrakuta Style example of Vesara style temple

There are diverse views with regard to the origin of Rashtrakutas. In all probabilities,  the Rashtrakutas of Malkhed decedents from Rastikas or the Rathikas. The first half of the dynasty comprise rulers who laid the foundation of the Rashtakuta empire,  whereas the second half includes the names of rules who laid the foundation in architecture unmatched in its grandeur and beauty.

The followers of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism have crafted their faith in rock-cut caves in Ellora. Caves 1-12 related to Buddhism, 13 – 29 related to Hinduism, and 30-34 related to Jainism. Archeologist believes that these caves were hewed out from the 6th to 13th-century ad.

Ellora caves, the wonders of Maharashtra - MAGIK INDIA
Kailash Temple: Ellora

Kailash Temple : Ellora Largest Monolithic Rock-Cut Temple example of Vesara style temple

  • It represents the typical Dravidian temple. It is the largest monolithic temple in India carved out of basalt stone. However, it represents the sacred mountain of lord shiva. There is a main shrine surrounding the lord shiva. There is a smaller shrine surrounding the main shrine.
  • The sides of the structure have a rectangular trench of size three hundred feet by one hundred seventy-five feet. However, the main rock-cut temple is 150’ x 100’  and 96’ high, standing on a plinth of  25’. Also, there is a small mandapa with sixteen columns. Sanctuary is covered with a 3-tier tower, which soars upwards in imitation of the mountains dwelling of shiva.
layout
  • Each story has decorated with miniature buildings to represent the homes of gods and the Stupi at the summit (highest point) follows the precedent set by the Rathas at Mamallapuram. In addition, on either side of the main temple of the Kailash, the complex stands a 50’ high pillar decorated with relief carvings. Also, these monumental pillars, made by excavation are monolithic. And are not created by construction. Sculpture works include animals like elephants, Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Shiva, Ravana shaking Kailasha with seated lord shiva and Parvati, hanuman, and scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Kailash Temple : Ellora

Also, Read: Vaastu Shastra – Science of Architecture

Hoysala Style example of Vesara style temple

  • The merging of the Dravidian and North Indian styles created a temple that is unique, so much so that it is often classified as the Hoysala style.
  • The star in the plan
  • To add to its distinctiveness, the Hoysala temple in the plan composed of numerous Cellas or Garbha-Grihas served by a common  Mandapa.
The plan of every one of these Cellas was a star.
  • The departure from the accepted square form of the temple is understandable when we analyze the plan. And see that it made up of a grid of rotating squares.
  • The resultant shape thus emerges as a star.
  • The mandapa remained a square, though it was now distinguished by circular columns. The shafts of which had lathed and thus acquired a number of the parallel knife-edges.
11 Lesser Known Hoysala Temples Of Karnataka - Inditales
Hoysala Style

Chennakesava Temple : Somnathpura example of Vesara style temple

Somanathapura Temple, Mysore (2021)- Kesava Temple, Chennakesava Temple
Chennakesava Temple: Somnathpura
  • The Somnathpur temple, that said to be the finest example of Hoysala architecture and built in 1268 under the Hoysala king Narasimha iii. And, built using chloritic Christ  (soapstone). The architect/sculptor was Ruvari Malithamma who has kindly left his signatures for easy identification. It is also symmetrical in its design, it has 3 shrines, each of which is equally important, having intricate carvings. There is a high outer compound that surrounds the temple and a lamp pillar on the grounds outside, it could also be a garuda Stambha (column) since it is the mount of Vishnu and this is a Vishnu temple.
plan
Chennakesava Temple
  • Once inside there a lengthy inscription carved in Kannada on an enormous tablet that describes the origins of the temple. Moreover, there is a covered walkway all around the temple, which is closed and currently held up by steel supports and apparently under restoration. Also, there are huge lathe carve pillars that hold up the structures inside the temple itself. There are three deities inside all are forms of Vishnu.
  • Though built around a single shrine, the temple has all the distinguishing features of the Hoysala style – a pillared mandapa,  bell-shaped towers, and above all the star-shaped plan. The gaps between the outer pillars has covered with a jaali meant to provide privacy for the brahmins, especially the highly seductive dancing of the Devadasis.
Chennakesava Temple

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