The Nagara style which developed for the fifth century is characterized by a beehive shaped tower (called a shikhara, in northern terminology) made up of layer upon layer of architectural elements such as kapotas and gavaksas, all topped by a large round cushion-like element called an amalaka. The plan is based on a square but the walls are sometimes so broken up that the tower often gives the impression of being circular. Moreover, in later developments such as in the Chandella temples, the central shaft was surrounded by many smaller reproductions of itself, creating a spectacular visual effect resembling a fountain
The Khajuraho temples are a pinnacle of the North Indian Nagara architectural style.
The Nagara style's primary feature is a central tower ( shikhara) whose highest point is directly over the temple's primary deity. This is often surrounded by smaller, subsidiary towers (urushringa) and intermediate towers; these naturally draw the eye up to the highest point, like a series of hills leading to a distant peak. Setting the temple on a raised base (adhisthana) also shifts the eye upward, and promotes this vertical quality.
The true arch was unknown in classical India. The arches in Khajuraho's temple are made by a technique known as corbelling , in a dome or arch is created by overlapping masonry courses .
Amalaka: a stone disk, usually with ridges on the rim, that sits atop the temple's main tower. According to one interpretation, the amalaka represents a lotus, and thus the symbolic seat for the deity
below. Another interpretation is that it symbolizes the sun, and is thus the gateway to the heavenly world. The amalaka itself is crowned with a kalasha (finial), from which a temple banner is often hung.
Entrance Porch ( Ardhamandapa ) : The entrance porch formed a transitional area between the outside world and the mandapa or hall. Most temple buildings have some sort of transitional space between the central shrine ( garbhagrha ) and the outside world, but only the largest, most developed temples will have all of these elements.
Hall ( Mandapa ) : A hall in the temple, forming a transitional space between the ardhamandapa and mahamandapa. In smaller or less architecturally developed temples, this was usually omitted.
Inner Sanctum ( Garbhagrha ): The temple's inner sanctum, containing the image of the temple's primary deity. The basic function of a Hindu temple is to serve as the deity's dwelling-place. The word garbha can mean either "womb" or "embryo;" both meanings connote potentiality, hiddenness, and a sense of development. The garbhagrha was located directly below the summit of the highest tower, with the primary deity directly under the highest point. Smaller temples may only have a small shrine room at the back end of the temple but larger temples often also have a processional pathway around the central shrine, via which devotees can circle around the deity as a gesture of respect and worship.
Secondary Tower ( Urushringa ): smaller towers on the temple's exterior to lead the eye up to the highest point. Their shape often replicates that of the tallest central tower, and serves to draw the eye upward toward it.
Base Platform ( Adhishsthana ): The raised base on which a temple was built. These are particularly high in the temples at Khajuraho, and by their height accentuate these temple's upward thrust.
The architectural evidence generally has been from the Gupta Empire period onwards. There has been recent discoveries of terra cotta plaques from the times of Chandraketugarh and Mahasthangarh throwing additional light on the architectural styles of Sunga and Gupta periods.
Apart from the Palavi and Phamsana influence on the architectural style it is also closely connected to the Bhanja style of temples from Mayurbhanj district of Orrisa. But the temples of south Bengal is a distinction due to its roofing style so unique and closely related to the paddy roofed traditional building style of rural Bengal.
Bishnupur in the southern district Bankura of West Bengal has a remarkable set of such temples which being built from the Malla dynasty are examples of this style. Most of these temples are covered on the outer surface with terra cotta reliefs which contains plenty of secular materials making these important to reconstruct the social structure from these times.
The temple structures contain gabled roofs which are colloquially called the chala, For example a gabled roof with an eight sided pyramid structured roof with be called "ath chala" or literally the eight faces of the roof. And frequently there is more than one tower in the temple building.
These are built of laterite and brick bringing them at the mercy of severe weather conditions of southern Bengal. Dakshineswar Kali Temple is one example of the Bhanja style while the additional small temples of Shiva along the river bank are example of southern Bengal roof style though in much smaller dimension.
The Solanki style of temple architecture that flourished in Gujarat has all the essential features of a north Indian temple, but bears the closest affinities to the Rajasthan style. On plan, it consists of a sanctum, a closed hall and a porch that are inter-connected internally and externally.
The wall faces are broken by numerous indentations, projected and recessed alternately, which are continued along the elevation, producing a pleasing contrast of light and shade.
In larger temples a detached peristylar hall is added in the same axis, often preceded by a torana or ornamental arched entrance. In rare cases the hall has more storeys than one.
The temple at Sunak (10 th century), Sun temple at Modhera (11 th century), the Vemala Temple at Mount Abu (11 th century) and the Somnath Temple at Kathiawar (12 th century) are some of the best examples of this style of architecture
Konark Sun Temple is a 13th-century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda), at Konark, in Orissa.
It was constructed from oxidizing and weathered ferruginous sandstone by King Narasimhadeva I (1236-1264 CE) of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple is one of the most well renowned temples in India and is a World Heritage Site. It is one of the Seven Wonders of India (as per the poll collected by NDTV).
The temple takes the form of the chariot of Surya (Arka), the sun god, and is heavily decorated with stone carving. The entire complex was designed in the form of a huge chariot drawn by seven spirited horses on twelve pairs of exquisitely decorated wheels.
The entrance is guarded by two giant lions, which are each shown crushing a war elephant. Each elephant in turn lies on top of a human body. The temple symbolizes the majestic stride of the Sun god. At the entrance of the temple is a Nata Mandir. This is where the temple dancers used to perform dances in homage to the Sun god. All around the temple, there are various floral and geometric patterns.The temple is now partly in ruins, and a collection of its sculptures is housed in the Sun Temple Museum, which is run by the Archaeological Survey of India. The poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote of Konark: "here the language of stone surpasses the language of man."
Hoysala architecture (s the building style developed under the rule of the Hoysala Empire between the 11th and 14th centuries, in the region known today as Karnataka, a state of India.
Hoysala influence was at its peak in the 13th century, when it dominated the Southern Deccan Plateau region. Large and small temples built during this era remain as examples of the Hoysala architectural style, including the Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, and the Kesava Temple at Somanathapura.
Other examples of fine Hoysala craftsmanship are the temples at Belavadi, Amruthapura, Hosaholalu, Arasikere and Nuggehalli. Study of the Hoysala architectural style has revealed a negligible Indo-Aryan influence while the impact of Southern Indian style is more distinct.