Dravidian architecture was an architectural idiom that emerged in the Southern part of the Indian subcontinent or South India. It consists primarily of temples with pyramid shaped towers and are constructed of sandstone, soapstone or granite. Mentioned as one of three styles of temple building in the ancient book Vastu shastra, the majority of the existing structures are located in the Southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Andhra pradesh. Various kingdoms and empires such as the Cholas, the Chera, the Pandyas, the Pallavas, theGangas, the Rashtrakutas, the Chalukyas, the Hoysalas, and Vijayanagara Empire among others have made substantial contribution to the evolution of Dravidian architecture. This styled architecture can also be found in parts of North India, Northeastern and central Sri Lanka, Maldives, and various parts of Southeast Asia. Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Prambanan in Indonesia were built based on Dravidaarchitecture. Composition and structure
Chola style temples consist almost invariably of the three following parts, arranged in differing manners, but differing in themselves only according to the age in which they were executed: 1. The porches or Mandapams, which always cover and precede the door leading to the cell. 2. Gate-pyramids, Gopurams, which are the principal features in the quadrangular enclosures that surround the more notable temples.Gopurams are very common in dravidian temples. 3. Pillard halls (Chaultris or Chawadis) are used for many purposes and are the invariable accompaniments of these temples. Besides these, a temple always contains tanks or wells for water – to be used for sacred purposes or the convenience of the priests – dwellings for all the grades of the priesthood are attached to it, and other buildings for state or convenience. Influence from different periods
In Southern India seven kingdoms and empires stamped their influence on architecture during different times.: Sangam period
From 1000BCE-300CE, the greatest accomplishments of the kingdoms of the early Chola, Chera and the Pandyan kingdoms included brick shrines to deities Murugan, Shiva,Amman and Thirumal (Vishnu) of the Tamil pantheon. Some were built Several of these have been unearthed near Adichanallur, Kaveripoompuharpattinam and Mahabalipuram, and the construction plans of these sites of worship were shared to some detail in various poems of Sangam literature. One such temple, the Saluvannkuppan Murukan temple, unearthed in 2005, consists of three layers. The lowest layer, consisting of a brick shrine, is one of the oldest of its kind in South India, and is the oldest shrine found dedicated to Murukan. It is one of only two brick shrine pre Pallava Hindu temples to be found in the state, the other being the Veetrirundha Perumal Temple at Veppathur dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The dynasties of early medieval Tamilakkam expanded and erected structural additions to many of these brick shrines. Sculptures of erotic art, nature and deities from theMadurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, Chidambaram Thillai Nataraja Temple and the Srirangam Ranganathaswamy Temple date from the Sangam period. Pallavas
The Shore Temple (left) of the Seven Pagodas of Mahabalipuram and Angkor Wat in Cambodia (right) The Pallavas ruled from AD (600–900) and their greatest constructed accomplishments are the single rock temples inMahabalipuram and their capital Kanchipuram, now located in Tamil Nadu. Pallavas were one of the pioneers of south Indian architecture. The earliest examples of temples in the Dravidian style belong to the Badami Chalukya-Pallava period. The earliest examples of Pallava constructions are rock-cut temples dating from 610 – 690 CE and structural temples between 690 – 900 CE. The greatest accomplishments of the Pallava architecture are the rock-cut temples at Mahabalipuram. There are excavated pillared halls...
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