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Dravidian architecture is an architectural idiom in Hindu Temple Architecture that emerged in the southern part of India. The temple consists of a pyramid shaped tower constructed of sandstone, soapstone, and granite. The temple consists of gopuram, a entrance gateway to temple,prakaram is wall which separates inner and outer zone, And Vimana, which is a tower over the main god house and mandapa is a pillared hall for public meetings.
There are many kind of activities that happen inside the temple premises, most of which people have been doing since ancient times and have become like a tradition over the time
Gopuram is the part of the temple that is seen in every dynasty.
First is the pallavas from 610 AD to 668 AD, where the madapas are at the same levels; later they were built at different levels. The gopuram of this dynasty is small. Next is chola dynasty from 900 AD to 1150 AD, the temple is constructed with a combination of structural and monolithic structure, the use of granite blocks is seen in the temples. Brihadeshwara temple’s gopuram is smaller than vimana. It was built to show the victory of the king and power.
Pandya dynasty from 1150 AD to 1350 AD, the city is built around the temple and has concentric walls around the temple for protection. Ekambareshwar temple gopuram is taller than vimana so that the travelers could find the temple easily.
Ranganatha swamy temple is where the city is built around it, the multiple gopurams were built and are decreasing in number as it gets closer to the temple
The Vijayanagar empire from 1350 AD to 1570 AD, temple pillars have engravings of horses charging, lions, elephants, etc. and use of brick and granite is seen. Vitthala temple gopuram was built as a watchtower so staircases were provided in the gopuram.
The nayakas dynasty from 1570 AD to 1743 AD, vibrant colors are used to paint the statues.
Meenakshi temple gopuram is built on all four sides of the temple so that if there is any danger people can go to the nearest gopuram for safety.
And last is Murudeshwar temple, RAJA OF ALL GOPURAMS, has a lift to go to top and acts as a viewing tower.
From studying the dynasty and temples, the gopurams of all the time had different functions, uses, different heights and construction details. Although it has seen many changes the Gopuram has remained and still is one of the most prominent features of south indian temples and Dravidian architecture.
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