11 May 2007

The Meenakshi

The Meenakshi Temple of Madurai is a typical example of architectural excellence. It is actually a double temple, dedicated to Sundareshwarar (Siva) and his consort Meenakshi. The outer walls enclosing the shrines and other structures measure 259 mts x 221 mts and each of the four sides has a large gateway. The shrine which consists of the three famous compartments- cellar, vestibule and the assembly hall – is situated in the third and inner most enclosure, which has only one entrance on the east. The sanctum has a small tower rising above the flat roof of the other two compartments. All the courts and hall situated with the three enclosures have colonnades of pillars of pillars of bizarre designs. The most exquisitely wrought pillars belong to the covered court [Swami Singotnam) outside the entrance to the innermost enclosure. The figure-sculptures attched to some of the shafts are larger than life-size and of excellent workmanship.

To the south of the main sanctuary is the shrine dedicated to Meenakshi, the consort of the deity. Among the eleven gopurams in the temple, the largest and the best of them is the southern doorway rising to a total height of 61mts. The lofty base and the concave curves of the whole structure tend to give it a soaring quality greater than what its height suggests. The surface is pulsating mass of masonry, covered all over with plastic figures of deities and semi-divine characters freely drawn from the inexhaustible treasure-house of Hindu mythology.

Images of Meenakshi Temple

  1. Meenakshi temple, Madurai
  2. Inside Meenakshi temple
  3. Towers of Meenakshi Temple
  4. gopuram of Meenakshi Temple

03 February 2007

Brihadeeshwara Temple

The magnificent Brihadeeshwara temple is a symbol of the greatness of the Chola Empire under the emperor king Rajaraja Chola. One of the tallest temple in the world, it was so designed that the vimana never casts a shadow at noon at any time of the year.

Sama Varma, the chief architect began to design a structure, which stood on a square base of 29mts and rose up to a height of about 65 mts. The temple stands within a fort. The towering Vimanam is about 200 feet high. The octagonal Shikharam rests on a single block of granite weighing 81 tons. The size of the Nandi matches that of the huge Linga. The Kalasam on top is about 3.8mts in height.

The temple stands within a huge compound walls rising above 15 mts. Sama Varma crowned its glory with 12.5feet tall finial of 9.25kg of copper plated with 800gms of gold.

Another architectural wonder is seen in the tower with the huge dome. It is made of black granite and estimated to weigh 80tons. Besides, the gopuram on which this dome rests is 216feet high.

The lofty sanctum tower is enclosed by a rectangular corridor consisting of two squares. The main tower occupies the central part of the rear square. The central tower has 16 tiers up to its 200feet height. On the inner wall of the Garbha Griha or the sanctum sanctorum are sculpted 108 dance poses or karmas performed by Lord Shiva.

Images of Brihadeeshwara Temple
  1. Brihadeeshwara Temple
  2. Brihadeeshwara Temple
  3. Brihadeeshwara Temple
  4. Brihadeeshwara Temple

05 January 2007


The group of monuments at Mahabalipuram consists of ten mandapas (pavilion) or excavated halls besides seven monolithic rathas (chariots), so called because they resemble the big temple cars in which the images of the deities are taken out in procession. The mandapas, which are no higher that 4.5 or 6 mts, are remarkable for the shape and design of their pillars and roll cornices and for the blending of figure-sculpture with architecture. The panels of sculpture enclosed within plasters and mouldings on the interior walls of Durga and Varaha mandapas represent the finest achievement of the Pallava style.

The Architecture of the monolithic rathas is based on the older Buddhist monasteries (viharas). They are square or oblong in plan and pyramidal in elevation, but varying in size and some minor details. The largest and the most complete of them is what is called the Dharmaraja Ratha, which combines all the features of the Pallava style-pillars in the portico with rampant lions, the pyramidal tower and the turreted roof. The Bhima, Ganesh and Sahadeva rathas are oblong in plan and are based on the architecture of the Buddhist Chaitaya hall. They are two or three storeys high, and are surmounted by a barrel roof with the Chaitaya gable at the ends.

The solidity of the masonry of the Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram is vouched for by the fact that for over 12 centuries it has withstood the pitiless onslaught of the monsoons, the battering of sea waves and the treachery of drifting sands.

Images Of Mahabalipuram

  1. Mahabalipuram-Seashore Temple
  2. Pic from Mahabalipuram[right]
  3. Around Mahabalipuram
  4. Mandapas Mahabalipuram[right]

06 December 2006

Agra Fort

Located on the banks of the Yamuna, 2 kms northwest of the Taj Mahal, the fort was designed and the built by Akbar in 1565 A.D. The fort houses the beautiful Pearl Mosque and numerous places including the Jahangir Mahal, Diwan-i-Khas, and Diwan-i-Am.

The high red sandstone ramparts of this great monument stretch for almost 2.5 kms, dominating a bend in the river Yamuna. Emperor Akbar laid the foundation of this majestic citadel and it developed as a stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. Shahjahan constructed the graceful Diwan-i-Am or the Hall of Public Audiences in 1628.

Three rows of white polished stucco pillars topped by peacock arches support the flat roof. Today, this hall is bereft of brocade decorations, silk carpets and satin canopies that would have enhanced the elegance of the setting when the Emperor sat down with his subjects for discussions.
Images Of Agra Fort
  1. Agra Fort
  2. Jahangir Mahal[right]
  3. Diwan-i-Khas
  4. Sun From Fort[right]

03 December 2006

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02 December 2006


The earliest surviving religious structures are the Buddhist Stupas. The Stupa is a large burial mound, hemispherical in shape, with a central chamber in which a small casket containing the relics of the Buddha is preserved. The core of the mound was of unbrunt bricks, its outer face of burnt brick, and the entire structure was given a skin of thick plaster. On top of the hemisphere stood the harmika, a stylized umbrella of stone or wood. A fence-made first of wood but later replaced by stone-ran round the stupa enclosing a path for the ritual of circumambulation. Some of the stupas as at sanchi (2nd century B.C.E) were provided with beautiful entrance arches (torana) at the four cardinal points. Smaller stupas and monasteries and theological colleges gradually sprung around the main stupa converting the site into a colony of monks and learned men.

The biggest and best preserved is the Sanchi Stupa of Madhya Pradesh, stupas at Sarnath near Varanasi and Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh.