Indian temples have unique styles and a profound logic to them as well. The designs, sites and layouts, more often than not, follow this logic. Apart from these, various styles are also found to be a reason for the diverse architecture of the temples located in India. Even though their styles may differ, the fundamental nature of Indian temples remains the same with the deity or the ‘Murti’ being placed in a room with bare walls in the inner sanctum. Depending upon the area of the temple premises other structures and buildings occupy the land next to the building that houses the sanctum. All Hindu temples are an amalgamation of beliefs and values of the Hindus. Whatever the style of the temples, aesthetic independence of the architects is always respected, and they provide their creativity with expression through geometrical and mathematical principles being imbibed in the temples. The styles of the temples are based on geographic locations amongst other aspects.
Some common styles of Hindu temples are:
- Nagara – This type of temple architecture is predominantly the northern parts Indian and is most common there. This style has two particular features
- The presence of graduated projections called Rathakas in the central point of a square temple
- The design of the spire follows the principle of a tapering structure stretching upwards and has concentric circles and squares on it.
- Dravidian – This style exists predominantly in south India, and the temples are built of sandstone, soapstone or graphite. The temples are usually square shaped and have a pyramid-shaped roof with one or more storeys. The cell in these storeys houses the deity. The pitches or Mandapams lead the way to the inner sanctum and cover the door to it too. It has a distinctive constant feature of having Chaultris or pillared halls. The other important features of this style are the presence of abodes for priests, the temple tanks and wells.
- Badami- Chalukya – The most beautiful example of this style are the Badami cave temples built on the Malaprabha river in Karnataka. This architecture consists of decorative pillars, finely chiselled sculpture and ceiling panels.
- Gadag – The most crucial feature of this style is articulation. It has its origins from the old Dravida style and defines the Karnataka Dravidian tradition. It is marked by intricate sculptures and also by ornate and beautiful pillars.
- Kalinga – The areas of Odisha and northern Andhra Pradesh has this style which consists of 3 specific styles, namely, Pidha Deula, Rekha and Khakhara Deulas. The first two were associated with the Gods Shiva, Vishnu and Surya while the last one was for the Goddesses Durga and Chamunda. The Rekha and the Khakhara Deulas house the inner sanctum while the Pidha has the exterior dancing areas and other ceremonial halls.
- Maru- Gurjara – This temple style is predominantly found in Rajasthan. It is an exclusively western Indian architecture that is built into the design. The style is a far cry from other North Indian architecture. This architecture has two prominent styles, namely, Maha maru and Maru Gurjara.