Saturday, April 11, 2009

Indo-Aryan, the temples at Gwalior and Brindaban

The temples at Gwalior (11th century) and Brindaban (16th century)
The sacred buildings in the fort of Gwalior differ little from others around and so do the buildings at Brindaban. But the two examples need different category for their description.
Temple of Sas-bahu among eleven structures of religious significance in the fort, forms the largest, was finished in A.D. 1093. Externally this maha-mandapa is in three stories, which take form of open galleries on all sides. Each story is defined by a massive architrave.

The Teli-ka-mandir , a tall commanding structure 80 fet in height and of a distinctively unusual appearance. It is more of shrine than a temple, as it consists of a sanctuary only, comprising a tower together with a substantial porch and doorway leading to an inner cella. It repersents a rare type of Brahmanical sanctuary, for probably the only other example in the Indo-Aryan style with a shikhara of this order, a relic of their distant Buddhist heritage.

At Brindaban the temple style is variant with the rest of the buildings around the area, notably the five temples are Govind Devi, Radha Ballabh, Gopi Nath, Jugal Kishore and Madan Mohan.
The mode is completely local, relatively late in date, as they were all produced at the end of 16th century and beginningof 17th century corresponding to the period of Akbar(1556-1605) and the revival of the Krishna cult by preachings of Chatanya (1486-1534).
The largest of the temples, Govind Devi, built in 1590, its maha-mandapa takes the shape of a spacious cruciform structure. The temple is well defined structurally, almost absence of figure carving, a combination of balconies and loggias, of bracketed archways and moulded buttresses, wide eaves and ornamental parapets. Somehow it lacks the supreme spiritual content of more orthodox type temple. Its mandapa consists of high vaulted dome formed of intersecting arches.

Jugal Kishore temple's shrine is externally octagonal in plan of 35 feet in diameter. The cella in its interior is a square of only 17 feet side. It is attached to a rectangular mandapa, whose interior is also a square, leaving therefore a great thickness of wall around both compartments.

But the most distinctive portions of several of temples are the shikharas, bear little or no resemblance to any other kind of Indian temple spire. They rise from an octagonal plan and taper into a tall conical tower( that of Madan Mohan being as much as sixty-five feet in height)with a broad band of mouldings outlining each angle.

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