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Old July 10th, 2009, 04:41 PM   #41
Arul Murugan
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If you are telling about the wall paintings in Madurai, Rameshwaram etc., then yes it is old.

The red stripes and poly-colour for gopuram is not the part of ancient arts. Anyway let us try to get some more info. on this.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 07:25 PM   #42
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Looking at the Thiruvanamalai layout, one has to appreciate the precision with which our ancients built temples. Look at the other modern day surrounding buildings and they don't even come close to the clean lines, symmetry and beauty of execution of temple architecture. If current day city planners had such vision India would be a totally different country. All the cars, ramshackle buildings abutting the temple walls must be removed immediately. A no building cordon area around the temple should be instituted by GoTN. We have to preserve such precious temple buildings for posterity sake.
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Old July 11th, 2009, 02:33 AM   #43
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btw there are different styles to Gopuram. Some might have had Gopuram painted a long time ago whgile others might not have had it. So I dont think it is appropriate to make general assumptions based on Tanjore temple design only. Something tells me the Meenakshi temple gopuram colour scheme has some history. Might not be the same at Tanjore.

Same with Gopuram design style. Chola temples are very symmetrical and rises straight almost like a triangle while the one in Madurai has a curvature to it. Also interstingly the gopuram in Tanjore is directly on top of the idol, while in most temples in the South Gopuram are at the entrances, not at the main shrine.
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Old July 11th, 2009, 06:56 AM   #44
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^Fusi, the Pinnacle on top of the temple is called Vimanam (Shikhara in North India). It is generally restricted in height for S. Indian temples, which is why most have short Vimana and tall Gopura.

Tanjore (and other Chola temples) are exceptions, otherwise most later temples will follow this rule.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 07:05 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marathaman View Post
^Fusi, the Pinnacle on top of the temple is called Vimanam (Shikhara in North India). It is generally restricted in height for S. Indian temples, which is why most have short Vimana and tall Gopura.

Tanjore (and other Chola temples) are exceptions, otherwise most later temples will follow this rule.
yes many temples do follow the short Vimanam style.. however it cannot be seen as the 'standard' style. There is more variety if you look carefully. Let me start with Chola but will move on aswell..

Tanjore..


Gangaikondacholapuram..


Kanchipuram..


Mamallapuram..


Palani.. ( tallish vimanam )


Rockfort temple..


Ayyanar temple..




Vellore Golden temple..


Marudamalai..


Chidambaram..unique dome vimanam


Srirangam..layered gopuram


If you really have a keen eye for 'south indian' temples, or even only TN temples, you can detect so many architectural styles that are unique and VERY different. And most of these are old and popular temples with lot of history !

So, although grand and well publicised Madurai, Thiruvannamalai & Srirangam are great by itself but not necessarily the yardsticks by which temple architecture has to be measured.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 07:49 PM   #46
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^Fusi, the first 3 temples are Chola-era temple where the norm was not followed. The Kanchipuram is one of the pioneering temples which inspired later Cholan ones.

Mammalapuram is one of the oldest temples, and it directly borrows its form from older Nagara style ones in the North. Though its detailing is unique and the precursor of later dravidian architecture.

Palani Vimanam is still shorter than the main Gopuram, and Rockfort Temple was used as a fort by either the British or the Dutch, and its architecture was modified considerably.

The next three don't show the Gopuram, and seem to be variations from the norm in any case.

Vellore Golden Temple is a recent construction (2008?), and its layout is considerably different from other south Indian temples.

Chidambaram has multiple smaller-shrines within the compound, and all of them are nowhere as tall as the Gopurams. Those golden roofs are not shrines but mantapams.


And I don't get your point with the Srirangam picture. What are you trying to say?

From what I've observed, atleast 70-80% of TN temples have successive gopurams with receding height and finally a tiny central shrine (or a group of small shrines). That's generally the rule for post-Cholan era temples.

There are obviously a lot of exceptions. Some temples don't have Gopurams at all, but just the shrine.

Last edited by Marathaman; July 12th, 2009 at 09:01 PM.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 08:32 PM   #47
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very informative. I posted the Srirangam pic as it is the bbest example of the receding gopuram style. So I posted it to typify that school of architecture. All the other temple have different style. All these Are what constitutes the 'south indian' temples. These cannot be seen as 'exceptions' but an integral part of temple architecture. And surely you cant discard Chola architecture as an 'exception' ? They are THE master temple builders and the pride of Tamil history ! Also when you say 70-80% temples, you are considering only the temples that followed what is called the vedic/agamic laws. These in all I would guess wont even make the majority of all temples in TN. Hence I posted the pics of Ayynar temples which look completely different. There are thousands and thousands of Ayyanar temples that do not follow the gopuram, vimanam style atall. And like you said there are temples without gopuram, temple with main shrine only, tree temples, sname mound temples etc etc They are ALL part of ancient TN architecture. Not just the ones that followed Agamic or Vedic laws as we seem to think.

I guess the problem is, we cant tell much of the differences, because we are looking at them from so far ( culturally ) that it all looks the same. For example to many Indians, all Chinese would look the same. If only you get to know more Chinese in person you will realise the diversity amongst the community.

So if we can see standard structures and common 'laws' in temples, in means we havent familiarised ourself enough to find the differences. If you become an expert then at that point, each temple will look completely different with hardly any resemblence whatever.

So I guess it is better to adopt a different appraoch to the common temple law ideal that was popularised if we are to learn the uniqueness of each temple architecture.

Anyways its an interesting and informative discussion

Last edited by Fusionist; July 12th, 2009 at 08:38 PM.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 08:52 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fusionist View Post
very informative. I posted the Srirangam pic as it is the bbest example of the receding gopuram style. So I posted it to typify that school of architecture. All the other temple have different style. All these Are what constitutes the 'south indian' temples. These cannot be seen as 'exceptions' but an integral part of temple architecture.
Yeah, they all have individual styles, but then we are discussing the height of the gopurams in relation to the shrine, which is generally similar for a lot of temples.

Quote:
And surely you cant discard Chola architecture as an 'exception' ? They are THE master temple builders and the pride of Tamil history ! Also when you say 70-80% temples, you are considering only the temples that followed what is called the vedic/agamic laws.
Erm, yes, I am talking about post-Cholan temples, and NOT Cholan ones.


Quote:
These in all I would guess wont even make the majority of all temples in TN. Hence I posted the pics of Ayyanar temples which look completely different. There are thousands and thousands of Ayyanar temples that do not follow the gopuram, vimanam style atall. And like you said there are temples without gopuram, temple with main shrine only, tree temples, sname mound temples etc etc They are ALL part of ancient TN architecture. Not just the ones that followed Agamic or Vedic laws as we seem to think.
Well, I guess I'm not counting each and every village temple in TN. They will probably number in the thousands lol.

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I guess the problem is, we cant tell much of the differences, because we are looking at them from so far ( culturally ) that it all looks the same. For example to many Indians, all Chinese would look the same. If only you get to know more Chinese in person you will realise the diversity amongst the community.
ohkay...so if I make ONE small generalization, I am unable to make distinctions between individual temples? I think you're being a teeny weeny bit pedantic.

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So if we can see standard structures and common 'laws' in temples, in means we havent familiarised ourself enough to find the differences. If you become an expert then at that point, each temple will look completely different with hardly any resemblence whatever.
you yourself were propogating a similar "law" a couple of posts ago:


"Also interstingly the gopuram in Tanjore is directly on top of the idol, while in most temples in the South Gopuram are at the entrances, not at the main shrine"


But I don't agree. If you are an expert on temple architecture, you will not only appreciate the uniqueness of each structure, but also see the similarities between various temples and be able to classify them accordingly into different groups.
Also, you will be able to trace their origins and appreciate how different eras and regions influenced each other.

Quote:
So I guess it is better to adopt a different appraoch to the common temple law ideal that was popularised if we are to learn the uniqueness of each temple architecture.

Anyways its an interesting and informative discussion
I don't understand...what was popularized?

Last edited by Marathaman; July 12th, 2009 at 09:03 PM.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 09:13 PM   #49
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here are some non-Agamic temples from Tamil Nadu. Check out the difference in architecture. No gopuram at all. instead we have the curved archways and roofless design.

Infact I am thinking of starting a new thread called 'lost Gods of Tamil Nadu' thread soon, to identify the hundreds of unique gods and temples that were demolished or let to ruin due to Colonisation when the non-Agamic Gods were discarded as 'demi-Gods' by the Puritans and a lot of history and community shattered.

Back to Ayynar temples..

Ayyanar temple with arch gateway.




Puthukkotai Ayyanar Horse Temple..



Kumaramangalam Temple




Thanjavur..


The terracota horses, roofless architecture, arched gateway are unique to these temples.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 09:17 PM   #50
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^What era are these temples from?
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Old July 12th, 2009, 09:26 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marathaman View Post
Yeah, they all have individual styles, but then we are discussing the height of the gopurams in relation to the shrine, which is generally similar for a lot of temples.

Erm, yes, I am talking about post-Cholan temples, and NOT Cholan ones.
ok then.

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Well, I guess I'm not counting each and every village temple in TN. They will probably number in the thousands lol.
well you cant discard the majority of non-Agamic temples as village temples. They simply are from a different school of deisgn. They are not a miniature of the Saivite or Vaishnavite temple be it Chola or post-Chola.

Quote:
ohkay...so if I make ONE small generalization, I am unable to make distinctions between individual temples? I think you're being a teeny weeny bit pedantic.
No we are simply learning the right way I think. By pointing out the mistakes

Quote:
But I don't agree. If you are an expert on temple architecture, you will not only appreciate the uniqueness of each structure, but also see the similarities between various temples and be able to classify them accordingly into different groups.
Also, you will be able to trace their origins and appreciate how different eras and regions influenced each other.
Shows I am no expert on temples

But then I dont agree that my point is completely invalid. The more attention to detail we give, we wil lrealise that there is more to temple architecture than we give importance to.

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don't understand...what was popularized?
The temple architectural laws ( shape of temple, vimanam, etc ). The style which you seem to think is the 'normal' temple style in TN ie. Meenakshi temple etc. If you look carefully there were many temples that did not follow this precise law. But then they were influenced by different ages aswell.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 09:32 PM   #52
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^What era are these temples from?
They have been there for long. But not any longer than the other temples. So I guess they have been built in different ages, be it pre-Chola, Chola or post-Chola. They lost thier prominence under Colonialism when the Puritans termed them as 'demi-Gods' and distroyed many of these temples along with ostracising the community that worshipped these.

Here is the wiki entry for the history behind these temples..

Quote:
The earliest reference to Aiynar-Shasta includes two or more hero stones to hunting chiefs from the Arcot district in Tamil Nadu. The hero stones are dated to the 3rd century C.E. It reads "Ayanappa; a shrine to Cattan." This is followed by another inscription in Uraiyur near Tiruchirapalli which is dated to the 4th century C.E.[5]

Literary references to Aiyanar-Cattan is found in Silappatikaram, a Tamil Buddhist work dated to the 4th to 5th century C.E.[4] From the Chola period (9th century C.E) onwards the popularity of Aiyanar-Shasta became even more pronounced.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 09:35 PM   #53
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But they are local deities, whose influence (I presume) extends only to the surrounding area ?

This isn't just unique to TN. Most villages in India do have local gods and goddesses, sometimes they are simply avatars of major vedic gods, and sometimes they are unique with their own histories.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 09:36 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fusionist View Post
They have been there for long. But not any longer than the other temples. So I guess they have been built in different ages, be it pre-Chola, Chola or post-Chola. They lost thier prominence under Colonialism when the Puritans termed them as 'demi-Gods' and distroyed many of these temples along with ostracising the community that worshipped these.

Here is the wiki entry for the history behind these temples..
So the British termed them "demi-gods" and destroyed the temples?
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Old July 12th, 2009, 09:41 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marathaman View Post
But they are local deities, whose influence (I presume) extends only to the surrounding area ?

This isn't just unique to TN. Most villages in India do have local gods and goddesses, sometimes they are simply avatars of major vedic gods, and sometimes they are unique.
Depends on how you look. If you look at it historically, all temples were local and were community based. Some gods became 'nationalised' when the various sects, be it Saivism, Vaishnavism, Tantrism, Sakthism were classed together as a single 'religion' termed as Hinduism. With this only Brahminical Vedic Gods became 'mainstream' at the cost of others.

But now if you look at Hinduism as one entity, then yes you can reduce these Gods to 'regional' Gods. But historically speaking I dont think it is fair. All these temples are unique and equally important and constitutes what makes our culture vibrant.

ps. My apologies. Ayyanar temples can also be considered Vedic as it is mentioned in Vedic literature, but they are mostly patronised by the non-Brahminical participants of Vedism. Hence the uniqueness in the architecture.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 09:55 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fusionist View Post
Depends on how you look. If you look at it historically, all temples were local and were community based. Some gods became 'nationalised' when the various sects, be it Saivism, Vaishnavism, Tantrism, Sakthism were classed together as a single 'religion' termed as Hinduism. With this only Vedic Gods became 'mainstream' at the cost of others.
But now if you look at Hinduism as one entity, then yes you can reduce these Gods to 'regional' Gods. But historically speaking I dont think it is fair. All these temples are unique and equally important and constitutes what makes our culture vibrant.
So....you suggest that we should stop classifying things and...erm....then what?

I understand that the British put their own (harmful) interpretation on things from a Christian POV, but that doesn't mean that we have to continue to do the same.

You know, classification is nothing but a method of assigning relative importance, because we as humans have limited time on our hands.

You can be a romantic here and bravely assert that your local Ayyanar temple is as important and significant the Meenakshi Temple at Madurai, but I'm sorry I don't agree, and neither did those who built Meenakshi. If they had, they would have probably made it as tiny or as large as the Ayyanar temple. Do you get my point?

Last edited by Marathaman; July 12th, 2009 at 10:20 PM.
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Old July 27th, 2009, 11:09 AM   #57
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Even though the thread say sad condition, those old temple's still have an amazing aura about them.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 10:02 PM   #58
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What can you expect from a Pseudo secular government ??.

What can you expect from a Pseudo secular Indian government which is using all the money collected in temples for minority appeasement policies.

http://nalgonda.ap.nic.in/pangal.htm




Not only in T.N, the A.P government has totally neglected restoration of two ancient temples in Pangal village near Nalgonda town which has beautiful designed pillars by the Kakatiya Kings between 11 and 13th century. The A.P government made all false promises but nothing substantial has been done to restore these temples. On the other hand , the gov't gives subsidies to Haj piligrims and Jerusalem trips to the minorities.

Last edited by skganji; August 6th, 2009 at 10:12 PM. Reason: Adding a picture
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Old August 6th, 2009, 10:11 PM   #59
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Also, near Mumbai, why is the Maharasthran government totally neglecting the Elephanta caves which were dedicated to trinity of Hinduism.
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Old August 7th, 2009, 12:17 PM   #60
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I do feel it is a matter of time before restoration work begins they have made some effort in Delhi.
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