Dravida Temples

It might seem surprising that a project beginning its investigations at Bhojpur in Malwa (in present day Madhya Pradesh) should concern itself with Dravida temples from south India, but there are several reasons why it needs to. The architects of the Bhumija temples in Malwa were well aware of Dravida architecture. Even this far north, Bhumija temples, though broadly Nagara in character, show stylistic affinities with contemporary Dravida traditions in the southern Deccan (Karnataka, Andhra). Samaranganasutradharaas a Dravidakarma kuta. Two of the engraved line drawings at Bhojpur depict a form of mandapa unknown in any surviving building, with a roof composed of these Dravidakarma components. Fragments of this kind of kuta are found at Bhojpur and among the ruins of another huge Paramara temple, the Bijamandal at Vidisha. The Samaranganasutradhara contains a substantial section devoted to Dravida temples, which originated in Tamil Nadu, far to the south, as shown in a recent article by Adam Hardy.

Our measured studies have concentrated on Karnata Dravida temples (often classified as Vesara) of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. As with Nagara temples, though without the issue of curvature, an important question is how diminution was achieved in the stages of the superstructure. We have done measured surveys of temples built under the Later Chalukyas and Hoysalas at the following sites in Karnataka: Aralguppe, Badami, Balligave, Belavadi, Banashankari, Chaudanpur, Dambal, Halebid, Hangal, Ittagi, Lakkundi, Sudi, Turuvekere. A Karnata Dravida temple in ‘Bhumija territory’ has also been surveyed: the Ishvara or Ayeshvara at Sinnar (Maharashtra).

This research has proved invaluable in one unanticipated and direct application: a commission for PRASADA to design a new ‘Hoysala’ temple for the Sri Kalyana Venkateshwara Swamy Temple Trust.

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