Classification of Hindu Temples
The exact birth of the history of
temples cannot be traced exactly. The earliest temples were constructed
of perishable materials like timber & clay. Next came the cave rock-cut
structures. Elaborate structural temples with ornate architecture &
sculpture came into existence much later.
The Gupta period marks the beginning
of structural temples & a wide variety of styles were adopted. The
temples were built of brick & stone. The Hindu temples can be broadly
classified into three basic styles - Nagara, Vesara & Dravida according
to the Silpasastras. The styles are not strictly restricted to particular
regions. There is an intermingling of styles, but it can be broadly considered
that a particular style was more prominent in a specific region. (Northern,
Deccani, Southern styles).
The construction of a temple is a
religious act, thus great care is taken to ensure that all rules &
conditions laid down are adhered to strictly, starting from the land selected
for the temple. The location has to be appropriate in the sense that it
should be a clean, serene place to invoke peace.
For all power to get concentrated
in the vigraham, the norms as laid down has to be followed in every step.
None of these rules are the whims of our ancestors, but based on hard scientific
facts. The vigraha also has to be made according to specifications. The
main deity is housed in the garbagriham & there are Utsava murthis
made of bronze.
Ashtalakshmi temple, Besant Nagar, Chennai