Look Inside

Temples of India (Set of 2 Volumes)

FREE Delivery
Delivery Ships in 1-3 days
Item Code: NAP372
Author: Krishna Deva
Publisher: Aryan Books International
Language: English
Edition: 2015
ISBN: 9788173050541
Pages: 516 (326 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 11.5 inch x 9.5 inch
Weight 2.50 kg
Fully insured
Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
23 years in business
23 years in business
Book Description

About the Book

This book narrates the fascinating story of the foundation and development of the architectural styles of North and South India, stretching from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from coast to coast, highlighting their principal stages and substages. While both the regions share a common origin in thatched huts and modest timber forms, as reflected in early bas-relief depictions and their actual rock-cut representations, further evolution of the structural shrine in each region charters an independent course.

The major South Indian styles of peninsular India have a lineal development from the Pallava prototypes. The monolithic Pallava rathas (7th century AD) are concretised as structural vimanas which have their glorious flowering during the Chola supremacy. Thereafter under the succeeding Pandya, Vijayanagara and Nayaka regimes further elaboration is achieved by vertical and horizontal expansion, accompanied by progressive evolution of the pillar order and some other constituents.

In the North there is a logical development from a flat-roofed cubical cella preceded by a pillared porch of the early Gupta period (4th-5th century AD). The simple structure gradually undergoes expansion, horizontal as well as vertical, in the following centuries. The horizontal expansion is achieved by the addition of mandapas of sorts while the vertical aspiration is met by experimenting with a variety of roof forms, of which rekha-sikhara was regarded as most appropriate and adopted as a standard format and congnizance of the Northern (Nagara) architecture. It is but natural that the form of the Nagara sikhara, so widespread, would show regional variations, which is well illustrated when the 7th century sikharas of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa are compared inter se. Though conceptually alike, their treatment and further elaboration evince regional accents which become sharper as time advances. Regional variations are reflected not only in the sikhara profile but also in the varying structural proportions, sculptural programme of exterior and interior, and architectural designs of constituents like pillars, doorways, ceilings, etc.

The book identifies and studies distinctive features of the principal architectural styles of the North and South against a background of their cultural and political development, the latter not inconsiderably conditioned by dynastic patronage. The hook in two volumes of Text and Plates (with nearly 100 drawings and over 300 photographs) embodies the latest researches on temple architecture. It will be useful not only to the scholar and serious student but also to the lay reader.

About the Author

(Late) Shri Krishna Deva (1914-2001), Retired Director, Archaeological Survey of India, was an eminent scholar of Indian art, architecture and archaeology. He assisted the famous explorer Sir Aurel Stein in his archaeological explorations in Rajasthan, Bahawalpur and Baluchistan in 1940 and 1941 and was a member of Mr. N.G. Majumdar's team during his momentous but tragic explorations in Sind in 1938. He conducted excavations at Rajghat (Varanasi) in 1940, at Nagar near Jaipur in 1943, at Vaishali in 1950 and at Kumrahar (Pataliputra) in 1951-52. He was also actively associated with Sir Mortimer Wheeler's excavations in India between 1944 and 1947 and classified and reported on the pottery from Taxila, Arikamedu and Harappa, which set a pattern for subsequent pottery reports in India. After 1955 he had specialized in Indian art, architecture and iconography and, having organised the Temple Survey Project (North Region) of the Archaeological Survey of India, he conducted a systematic architectural survey of the temples of North India in general and Central India in particular from 1956 to 1962. He was also deputed by the Government of India to make an iconographical and sculptural survey of the images in Nepal.

On retirement from Archaeological Survey of India he worked successively as Archaeological Adviser to His Majesty's Government in Nepal and Director, Birla Academy of Art and Culture and for good 12 years as consultant to American Institute of Indian Studies, Varanasi, for their project on Encyclopaedia of Indian Temple Architecture, of which he had been one of the principal contributors. He travelled widely and had participated in many national and international seminars on Indian Art and Archaeology and presided over the Technical Arts Section of the All India Oriental Conference held in Srinagar in 1961.

He was editor of the Journal of Indian Society of Oriental Art and authored numerous research papers and books including Temples of North India, Images in Nepal, Vaisali Excavations, and Temples of Khajuraho (2 vols.).

SculPture forms the major constituent of Indian art and when one remembers that but for a handful of Yaksha and like folk deities. worshipped in open air shrines. all sculpture, wherever placed, once pertained to the temple structure and occupied a specified position therein, the study of temple architecture in its various regional ramifications assumes paramount importance. With a minimal common denominator, each region is seen to charter its own course of structural development according to its own genius and perception of ritual and iconic requirements.

The book represents a summarized essence of my lifelong study of Indian art and architecture. An attempt has been made here to highlight the special features of the principal styles and sub-styles of North and South India and illustrate representative monuments of each with select drawings and photographs. Written in a lucid style, neither too detailed nor too sketchy, the book will be read with profit by the serious scholar as well as the average educated person who will care to be enlightened with India's architectural heritage.


Le Hindu temple succinctly embodies the basic values of Indian life and thought. Combining the axis of a world pillar, the cube of a sacrificial altar, and the body of a palace to house an image of divinity, it represents the cosmological symbolism in an aesthetic garb. Its architectural form and decor, invested with deep symbolical significance, constitute a unique phenomenon in World Art. Starting with a hut or a modest abode of timber, the temple gradually evolved into a substantial structure embellished with decorative mouldings and ornaments and meaningful sculpture. By the 4th century A.D. the North Indian temple assumed a definite nuclear architectural identity which was gradually extended horizontally as well as vertically till by the close of the 7th century it introduced a curvilinear spire (sikhara) that constituted its distinctive cognizance . With some common denominator this architectural form developed regional idioms and variations which in course of time evolved into styles and substyles due as much to natural and environmental factors as to socio-economic pressures, ritual requirements and patronage.

Symbolism of the Temple

A Hindu temple is a symbol or rather an aggregate of various symbols. It is ritually invested with human personality (Vastupurusha) and conceived in terms of human organism which is the most evolved living form. The names of the various limbs of the human body from the foot to hair on the crown of the head are applied in Indian architectural texts to different parts of the temple structure. Terms like feet, legs, thighs, neck and head denote the anatomical position and function of the structural parts corresponding to those of the human body, and are often used figuratively to emphasise the concept of organic unity in temple architecture.

Evidently, even the most perfect body is lifeless without the resident soul. To the Hindu, the temple is the abode of God who is the spirit immanent in the universe. The temple, therefore, is known by such terms as devalaya, Sivalaya and devayatana. Hence worship constituting the living use of the temple starts with the installation of life in the form of the deity in the sanctum.

The deity dwelling in the temple symbolises the king of kings and is consequently offered regal honour, consistent with the concept of God as the Supreme ruler of the Universe. Significantly enough, prasada means both a palace and a temple. The deity is provided with the royal paraphernalia of a throne, umbrella and fly-whisk and the worship of the deity is attended by regal pageantry, together with music, dance and lighting of lamps. Just as the royal palace has throne-room, a private audience-hall and a public audience hall, the temple has a sanctum, an inner hall and at times an outer hall. In course of time, the temple came to possess many subsidiary structures for the various temple rites and ceremonials. In Orissa a hall of dance and a hall of offerings were added in front of the main hall, while in south India enclosures of larger temples teem with accessory structures like the thousand-pillared hall, the hall of wedding and the hall of festivities and even resemble a fortified palace.

While dance, music and public ceremonials are conducted in the accessory structures, the worship proper is offered to the deity in the sanctum sanctorum individually by each devotee, for the Hindu shrine is primarily a place for individual self-realization and is not intended for mass prayer or congregational worship. The sanctum is customarily a dark chamber enclosed by massive walls. Its sombre interior is dimly lighted by flickering flames of lamp. This suggests and simulates the mystery that envelopes the universe and the divine spirit that shines behind the veil of mystery and pervades and illumines the universe.

Just as the sanctum is a microcosm, so is the whole temple symbolic of the universe inhabited by gods, demi-gods, human beings and animals, which are figurally represented on the temple facades. The same idea is expressed by the representation on the temple walls of the eight Dikpalas (Regents of the cardinal points). Likewise an ambulation around the temple symbolically means a perambulation of the universe itself.

The architectural origins of the several parts of the temple are significant. The base is derived from the Vedic sacrificial altar, the plain cubical cell of the sanctum from the prehistoric dolmen, and the spire from the simple tabernacle made of bent bamboos tied together to a point.

The sanctum with its massive walls and the dark interior represents a cave, while the superstructure with its peak-like spire-the sikhata represents a mountain and is frequently designated as the mythical Metu, Man dara , or Kailasa.

The temple is a structure based on chhanda (rhythm) or proportionate correlated measurements. Accordingly a significant synonym of temple is vimana (based on correlated measures) and the plan is designated talacchanda (rhythm of the ground) and the elevation urdhavacchanda (rhythm of the upper region). It is a tirtha (source of release} in a concrete, tangible form created by the human mind.

Building a Hindu temple is comparable to the performance of a sacrifice. It is an offering or an act of pious dedication which brings merit to the builder and his family and vicariously to the devotee who visits the temple, and to his relations. The devotee is not a mere spectator; he perceives in mental concentration and establishes his rapport with the Divine essence, and thus fulfils these two objectives while visiting a temple. The ornamentations and imagery on the walls and the total form. of the temple are designed to aid the attainment of these objectives.

The temple is a monument of manifestation and all constituents of the temple plan and elevation partake in it. Thus, the sanctum has usually one door in front and false doors in the form of niches on the central projections of the remaining three sides. Although these are massive, feigned doors, the luminous power of the deity or the consecrated symbol of the Supreme Principle is irradiated from within, and revealed in the cardinal niches in the form of significant aspects of the enshrined divinity or deities closely related to the presiding one. The lesser aspects of the presiding deity find a place in the minor niches, projections and recesses of the walls. The rite of circumambulatioh is actually a communion with the deity while moving around the images carved on the walls. The sacred carvings on the walls, pillars, architraves and ceilings of the interior compartments, too, have a profound impact on the mind of the devotee. Thus attuned and prepared, the devotee approaches the sanctum and stops ,at the door which is the last member to show the carvings. The presence of the river-goddesses on the door-frame purifies the devotee of all earthly taints; his mind and soul are now concentrated on the enshrined divinity whose tutelary symbol is carved on the lintel.

Significantly, the sanctum is called garbhagriha or the house of the womb, germ or embryo, for it is here that regeneration is effected and the higher self of the devotee is reborn through initiation which leads to perception and realization. A similar purpose is served by the superstructure, the function of which is to lead from a broad base to a point where all lines converge. The many merge ultimately into one. The high point of the finial marks the apex of the centre of the sanctum and is the final, conspicuous symbol of the Supreme Principle enshrined in the sanctum.


Preface vii
Acknowledgements vii
List of Figures viii
List of Plates ix
Introduction 1
Early Beginnings 4
II. Gupta and Late Gupta Temples 12
III. South Kosala Style 35
IV. Early Temples of Gujarat and Saurashtra 46
V. Early Temples of Central India 54
VI. Early Temples of Orissa 67
VII. Chalukyan Temples of Northern Style in Karnataka 84
VIII. Chalukyan Temples of Northern Style in Andhradesa 94
IX. Pratihara Style of Central India 101
X. Early Temples of Rajasthan 117
XI. Chandella Style 142
XII. Kalachuri Style 153
XIII. Kachchhapaghata Style 167
XIV. Pararnara (Bhumija) Style 179
XV. Later Temples of Rajasthan 188
XVI. Solanki Style 194
XVII. Later Temples of Orissa 199
XVIII. Temples of the Himalayan Region 210
XIX. Temples of Kashmir 222
xx. South Indian Temples 233
Reference Glossary 261
Bibliography 275
Site and Temple Index 279


Frequently Asked Questions
  • Q. What locations do you deliver to ?
    A. Exotic India delivers orders to all countries having diplomatic relations with India.
  • Q. Do you offer free shipping ?
    A. Exotic India offers free shipping on all orders of value of $30 USD or more.
  • Q. Can I return the book?
    A. All returns must be postmarked within seven (7) days of the delivery date. All returned items must be in new and unused condition, with all original tags and labels attached. To know more please view our return policy
  • Q. Do you offer express shipping ?
    A. Yes, we do have a chargeable express shipping facility available. You can select express shipping while checking out on the website.
  • Q. I accidentally entered wrong delivery address, can I change the address ?
    A. Delivery addresses can only be changed only incase the order has not been shipped yet. Incase of an address change, you can reach us at help@exoticindia.com
  • Q. How do I track my order ?
    A. You can track your orders simply entering your order number through here or through your past orders if you are signed in on the website.
  • Q. How can I cancel an order ?
    A. An order can only be cancelled if it has not been shipped. To cancel an order, kindly reach out to us through help@exoticindia.com.
Add a review
Have A Question

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Book Categories