Simplified schema of a Hindu temple
In design/plan of a temple, several parts of Temple architecture are considered, most common amongst
Jagati is a term used to refer a raised surface, platform or terrace upon which the temple is placed.
Antrala is a small antichamber or foyer between the Garbh Griha / garbha graha (shrine) and the
mandapa, more typical of north Indian temples
Mandapa or Mandapam ( in Hindi/Sanskrit, also spelled mantapa or mandapam) is a term to
refer to Plillared outdoor hall or Pavillionfor public rituals.
Ardha Mandapam — intermediary space between the temple exterior and the Garbh Griha (sanctum
sanctorum) or the other mandapas of the temple
Asthana Mandapam — assembly hall
Kalyana Mandapam — dedicated to ritual marriage celebration of the Lord with Goddess
Maha Mandapam — (Maha=big) When there are several mandapas in the temple, it is the biggest
and the tallest. It is used for conducting religious discourses.
Nandi Mandapam (or Nandi mandir) - In the Shiva temples, pavilion with a statue of the sacred
bull Nandi, looking at the statue or the lingam of Shiva.
Sreekovil or Garbhagriha
Sreekovil or Grabh Griha the part in which the idol of the deity in a Hindu Temple is installed
i.e.Sanctum sanctorum. The area around is referred as to theChuttapalam, which generally includes other
deities and the main boundary wall of the temple. Typically there is also a Pradikshna area in the
Sreekovil and one outside, where devotees can take Pradakshinas.
Śikhara or Vimanam
Shikharaor Vimanam literally means "mountain peak", refer to the rising tower over the Sanctum
Sanctorum where the presiding deity is enshrined is the most prominent and visible part of a Hindu
An Amalkas is a stone disk, often with ridges, that sits on a temple's main tower (Shikhar)
Gopurams are the elaborate gateway-towers of south Indian temples, not to be confused with Shikharas.
An Urushringa is a subsidiary Shikhara, lower and narrower, tied against the main sikhara.
Different styles of architecture
Architecture of the Khajuraho temples
Nagara temples have two distinct features :
In plan, the temple is a square with a number of graduated projections in the middle of each side
giving a cruciform shape with a number of re-entrant angles on each side.
In elevation, a Shikhara i.e., tower gradually inclines inwards in a convex curve.
The projections in the plan are also carried upwards to the top of the Sikhara and, thus, there is strong
emphasis on vertical lines in elevation. The Nagara style is widely distributed over a greater part of India,
exhibiting distinct varieties and ramifications in lines of evolution and elaboration according to each
locality. An example of Nagara architecture is the Kendriya Mahadev Temple
Dravida Style Thanjavur temple, Tamil Nadu
Main article: Dravidian Architecture
Dravidian style temples consist almost invariably of the four following parts, differing only according to the
age in which they were executed:
1. The principal part, the temple itself, is called the Vimana (or Vimanam). It is always square in plan
and surmounted by a pyramidal roof of one or more stories; it contains the cell where the image
of the god or his emblem is placed.
2. The porches or Mandapas (or Mantapams), which always cover and precede the door leading to
3. Gate-pyramids, Gopurams, which are the principal features in the quadrangular enclosures that
surround the more notable temples.
4. Pillared halls or Chaultris—properly Chawadis -- used for various purposes, and which are the
invariable accompaniments of these temples.
Besides these, a temple always contains temple tanks or wells for water (used for sacred purposes or
the convenience of the priests), dwellings for all grades of the priesthood are attached to it, and other
buildings for state or convenience.
Structure of a typical Drvaidan viman