Monday, December 10, 2007



ADHISHTANA: Basement of a vimana, a mandapa, or similar structure, forming a distinct architectural feature supporting walls and pilasters or pillars, and consisting ofdistinct moulded tiers.

ALPA NASIKA:Projected front end of an apsidal shrine resembling a KUDU
arch over pilasters,originally functioning as a small opening or fenestrated window,usually in kutas,koshithas and panjaras.

Small, one-storeyed vimana. The parts are adhishthana, bhitti or padaprastara, griva, sikhara and stupi. It is usually without a hara.

AMALAKA,AMALASARA,AMALASILA:Ribbed, lenticular or globoid part resembling the amalaka(Indian gooseberry fruit) crowning the top of the northern-style sikhara as its characteristic; also adopted as the top of the Kadamba-Chalukya forms, sometimes as an alternative to the griva sikhara component of the southern vimana form.

ANARPITA HARA: String of miniature shrines (hara) on the edge of each vimana tala, distinct from the body of the upper tala or storey, with intervening space (opposite of arpita).

:Inner wall of multiple-walled garbha-griha, or sanctum, or storey.

ARPITA HARA: Hara or string of miniature shrines on the edge of each vimanatala that is applique to the body (harmya) of the upper tala or storey without any intervening space (opposite of anarpita).

ARTHA-MANDAPA: Pillared hall immediately in front of the principal shrine or distal half of a mandapa with two seriate pillars, as in rock-cut cave-temples.

ASTHA PARIVARA: Lay-out of central shrine with eight surrounding sub-shrines (including the Nandi shrine) in the cardinal and cornor directions.

AYTANA: Shrine; vimana

: Vimana, oblong on plan and covered by a wagon-top roof.

BAHYA BHITTI: Outermost wall of a multiple-walled sanctum or storey (opposite of antara bhitti).

BHADRA: Central relieved or projected part from each side of the body of the vimana or prasada as distinct from the corner projection (karna).

BHADRA SALA: Oblong, wagon-topped miniature shrine of ayatasra type in the centre of each side of the hara over the storeys of the vimana.


BHITTI TORANA: Ornamental festoon on the wass, usually a makara torane supported by two pilasters (see torana, makara torana).

BHUMI: Stage in the curvilinear superstructure (sikhara) or anda of a northern-style temple, often marked off at the corners by compressed amalakas--the karnamalakas or bhumiamalakas.

BHUTA: Goblin.

CHATURMUKHA: Shrine or vimana opening on all four sides.

CHITRA POTIKA: Corbels with embossed carving or painting of creepers, flowers, etc.

DEVAKOSHTHA: Niche on walls of shrines and mandapas containing sculpture of deity; often crowned by torana or shrine motif, kuta sala, panjara, or kudu, or udgama.

GALA-GRIVA: Neck; usually the clerestory raising up the roof (sikhara) with light and air-openings (nasikas) on its sides in the vimana types. The neck is below the amalaka in prasada types, but without nasikas.

GARBHA-GRIHA: Shrine-cell, or sanctum sanctorum, or cella.


GOPURA:Main gateway; the storeyed structure over the entrance or entrances through the enclosing walls to the premises of a temple, palace, or city.

HARA:String of miniature shrines over each terrace (tala) of the storeyed vimana consisting of kutas, koshthas, or salas and panjaras, interconnected by cloister-lengths or balustradessimulating cloisters (harantara).

HARANTARA: See hara.

KADALIKA KARANA: Successive inward offsetting or corbelling-in of the roofing slabs or brick courses over walls to reduce the space to be roofed over to an ultimate small opening on top that can be covered by a slab overlapping like a banana bunch.

KADAMBA-CHALUKYA: Variant primarily of the rekha-nagara-style prasada, or temple, in which the superstructural tiers comprise kapata (cornice) and kantha (neck) and are capped by a circular griva or gala (neck), and an amalasara, often without the sukanasika.

KALASA (LASUNA): Wide-mouthed vase; lowermost member of the pillar capital, so-called after its shape. Also the vase-shaped finial over the amalaka of northern temples.

KALYANA-MANDAPA: Mandapa or hall in which the ceremonial wedding of god and goddess in the form of utsava murtis or processional bronze icons is celebrated annually in south Indian temples.

KAPOTA:Dove, pigeon; overhanging cornice, usually flexed, projecting beyond the principal beam to throw off water from the terrace beyond the beam and joist-end or the recesses of the adhishthana like the kumuda and padma.

KARNAKUTA: Miniature sama-chaturasra (square) shrine at the corner of each storey of the vimana over the prastara, with a single stupi. It is rarely vritta (circular) or ashtasra (octagonal) on plan.

KARNA SALA: Miniature ayatasra (oblong) shrine with barrel-vault roof placed at the corner of each tala of a structure, usual in gopuras.

KATTU: Intervening octagonal or polygonal portion between the bottom and top squares of a pillar.

KILIVASAL: Kerala term used for the nasika (see nasika, and sukanasika).

KOSHTHA: Same as a sala.

KSHUDRA NASIKA: Short nasika; projected front end of a miniature apsidal (one or two-storeyed) shrine with arch over pilasters functioning as a small opening, usually found in the harantara.

KUDU: 'Nest'; an arched or horse-shaped opening projected out of a flexed cornice (kapota), originally perhaps intended for entry of roosting birds (kapota) but in later examples filled with human figures mithuna, etc., surmounted by a finial. The arch is usually a makara torana.

KUDYA-STAMBHA: Pilaster shown as relief on wall surface.

KUMBHA: Member of the pillar capital coming above the kalasa, and tadi, and bulbous in form. Originally a flattened carinate vase with a short, narrow mouth.

KUTA: Shrine of square plan (sama-chaturasra) with four-sided converging roof and single finial, or circular or octagonal with domical roof and single finial, or stupi.

LALATA BIMBA: 'Crest figure', chief decorative motif or figure on the frontal of any entrance or door-lintel, sometimes extending to the overdoor.

MAHA-MANDAPA: Pillared hall immediately in front of the ardha-mandapa, or antarala, or the proximal half of a mandapa with two seriate pillars, closed or open, in cave-temples.

MAHA NASIKA: Projected nose-like part from the sides of the griva and sikhara showing the frontal aspects of apsidal vimanas and having pillars with surmounting arched toranas.

MAKARA TORANA: Entrance decoration with a festoon--straight or arched, spanning the tops of two columns, the festoon or torana being a decorative garland or scroll issuing from mouths of makaras(crocodiles), placed over the capitals of the supporting stambhas. Such makara toranas are found over the devakoshtas or mandapa entrances, or walls (bhitti torana).


MALASTHANA: Apex of pillar or pilaster shaft below capital with looped garland (mala) hanging from the padma bandha.

MANDAPA, MANDAPAM: Open or closed pillared or astylar hall.

MUKHA-MANDAPA: First or frontal mandapa of a series at the entrance of a temple, often synonymous with maha-mandapa in earlier temples.

NASIKA: 'Nose'; projected arched opening (window). See alpanasika, kshudranasika, mahanasika and sukanasika. In Kerala temples it is called kilivasal, or parrot-beak entrances.

NATYA-MANDAPA: Dance-hall. See nritta-mandapa.

NAVARANGA: Mandapa with four pillars surrounding a central bay, twelve more on the periphery in alignment with the central pillars, enclosing eight more bays, surrounding the central one and making nine bays in all; characteristic of Chalukyan temples and their derivatives.

NIDA: Miniature apsidal shrine; same as panjara.

NIRANDHARA: Devoid of a closed circuit or ambulatory round the cella, the wall of the cella being single and thick (as opposed to sandhara).

NRITTA-MANDAPA: See natya-mandapa.

OMA: Basal pitha of pillar or pilaster.

PADA: Pillar (stambha).

PADMA: Lotus; capital-member (doucene) below the phalaka (abacus), shaped like a lotus with petals.

PADMA BANDHA: Broad fillet, ringing the top of the shaft of a pillar, marked by decorative bands between rows of lotus petals, separating the shaft from the capital.

PALI:Capital member, same as padma ,but without scalloped petals.

PANJARA:Miniature apsidal shrine ; same as 'nida'.

PARIVARA DEVATAS:Also called 'avarana devatas,or subsidary deities in shrines called 'parivaralayas or parivara'.

PATTA:Plain or decorated band occupying the median face of the corbel,as if binding the rolls of 'taranga' mouldings of the corbel.

PATTIKA:Projected top slab of the platform or 'adhishtana 'in line with the vertical norm or 'manasutra'--a major moulding of considerable thickness.

PHALAKA:Abacus;wide plank on top of the terminal 'saduram'or moulded capital of pillar supporting the corbel,or 'potika'.

PIDADEUL:Structure with stepped or tiered superstructure over the sanctum as in kadamba-chalukya temples. The term is used in orissa (kalinga)architecture for the 'mandapa' in front of the main 'prasada',called 'jagmohan',or smller individual shrines with such superstructure.


POTIKA:Corbel-bracket over pillar.see taranga potika,makara potika,chitra potika.

PRANALA:Spout projected like a garagoyle to discharge water.

PRASADA:Northern-style temple ,as distinct from the 'vimana'from of the south.


RANGA MANDAPA:Equivalent of 'navaranga',corresponding to the 'maha-mandapa'of southern 'vimana'temples.

RATHA:Chariot;monolithic 'vimana'

REKHA-PRASADA:Typical northern -style sanctuary from with curvilinear superstructure ,or 'anda',emphasized by the 'bhadra' projections on the sides ,and by 'rekhas'crowned by a neck and 'amalaka' with 'kalasa' on top.

SABHA-MANDAPA:Mandapa with shrine of nataraja in the southern temples ,generally facing south.

SADURAM:Squre basal,intermediate or terminal section of a pillar seperated by octgonal,polygonal or circular intermediary parts.

SALA SHRINE:Vimana of ayatasra type with barrel-vault roof and a series of stupis on its ridge.

SALA SIKHARA:Sikhara peculair to sala shrine ,barrel-vault,wagon-top or inverted ,keel-shaped.

SANDHARA:Structure with a closed or covered circuit passage or ambulatory round the cella or the sanctum as in a double -walled structure.

SNAPANA-MANDAPA:Mandapa in which the abhisheka or ceremonial bathing of processional idols of bronze is performed during festivals.

SIKHARA:Roof of the 'vimana'over the 'griva',domical or four-sided with a single final,vaulted with many finials on the ridge,or apsidal with many finials over the horizontal part.The entire superstructure is of northern 'prasadas'.


STAMBHA TORANA:Entrance decoration or free-standing decorated entrance wothout doors and with a festoon spanning the tops of two columns,the festoon primarily being a garland of leaves and flowers ,later on taking the form on one or more curved and decorated cross-bars,or a floral and foiler festoon arch issuing out of makara-heads,placed on top of the supporting columns.

STUPI,STUPICA:Final,morphologically the 'ushnisha',taking in later times the form of a 'purna ghata' or purna kumbha',forming the topmost or ultimate member of the 'vimana,gopura'or any other structure.

SUKANASIKA:Integral forward projection of the tiers of the superstructure below the 'griva'and 'amalaka' level in northern 'prasadas'coming over the 'antarala'and forming its roof;has a 'nasika'front,enclosing bas-relief sculptures inside the arch.In adaptions in the southern 'vimana'types,as in the chalukyan and its derivatives,the forward projection,primarily of the front 'nasika'or 'maha nasika'or the dormer of the 'griva sikhara'region alone,in smaller simple ;vimana'types and along with the forward projection of the 'talas'in storeyed types,the whole coming over the terrace of the lower 'antarala or ardha mandapa'.

TADI:Saucer-shaped capital-member above the 'kalasa'and below the 'kumbha'

TALA:Storey of the 'vimana or gopura'.

TARANGA:Wave;wavy roll -ornament of the corbel resembling the 'reed'moulding or 'reeding' of european classical architecture.

TARANGA POTIKA:Corbel-bracket with roll-or taranga moulding.

TORANA:Free -standing ornamental foiler and festoon forming entrance supported by two upright columns and often interlaced vertically.copies in wood and stone with greater elaboration and carving.,or taking the form of 'makara torana'mounted on two pillars. it precedes the main gateways of cities,palaces and is oftan erected temporarily on festive occations on roads leading to cities,palaces,temples.when according the doorway as a 'dvarasobha',it is called a 'griha dvara torana',or the face-of-a-wall 'torana',where it often frames a niche or 'devakoshtha'or suggests an opening 'ghanadvara'.When free-standing,it is designated 'stambha torana.'

TRKUTA,TRIKUTACHALA TORANA STAMBHA:Pillar or pilaster supporting 'torana';three 'vimanas'connected by a common 'adhishtana'in a line or placed round a common 'mandapa'', as in chalukyan types.

UDGAMA:Fenestrated pattern of coalescent kudu-like arches and half-arches, typical of northern- style temples and found in the facade arches of buddhists cave - temples, used in northern temples as crest over devakoshthas also in place of the miniature shrine tops of such figure niches on walls of shrines and mandapas

UPANA:Lower most part or footing of sub - base below the basement or adhishtana , projecting beyond the vercical norm and surmounted by the jagati. it formslowermost visible part of the vimana, the uppermost limit of the same being the stupi.

UPA- PITHA :Additional moulded platform or sub- base below the basement or adhishtana with mouldings repeating those of the adhishtana or often reduced in number, or simpler.

UTSAVA-MANDAPA:mandaa in which the processional deities of bronze are kept during celebrations.


VIMANA;Shrine from upana to stupi [base to finial], the whole shrine consisting of adhishthana [basement], pada [pillars] or bhitti [walls], prastara [entablature], griva[neck or clerestory], sikhara[head or roof], and stupi [finial] in the case of simple vimanas [ekatala], with talas [storeys] interveningbetween the lowermost prastara below and the griva, sikhara, and stupi above in storeyed vimanas.

Vyala mala, Vyala vari:Decorative friezes with vyalas usually as a part of the adhishtana and on top of the entablature of each tala, marking the ends of cross-joists in original timber work.

1 Comment:

Prathap chandran said...

The titles given along most pics are wrong. Ellora buddhist chaitya gruha is mentioned as halebid temple roof, Rock carving panel at Mahabalipuram is given as shore temple and many more. Please correct.