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Art Heritage: Temple Architecture

Due to its inaccessibility, this region (Garhwal and Kumaon) was least disturbed by the political upheavals that occurred in the plains due to wars. Temple architecture was patronised under the powerful and wealthy kings of Paun, Katu-yaris, Pa-wars and Chanda dynasties who encouraged the construction of big stone temples, wood carvings, ornaments, pattas, aipans etc. Big stone temples were erected with highly intricate and ornamental carvings, having beautiful stone and metal idols.

Temple Complexes of Adi Badri (Distt. Chamoli) and Baijnath (Distt. Almora) are but few examples of this. The kings of the Katu-yar dynasty constructed many stone Temples in high and inaccessible places. Temples of Kedarnath, Tungnath etc. are but a few examples of this. The ruins of the Temples and palaces of Champa-wat are mute witness of the wealth and glory of Intricately carved stone pillar, Champawat, 1erful and wealthy kings. In later periods, however the Temples and Temple complexes remained not only a place of religious practice but also became the meeting points of intellectuals. Here art-Temple complexes of Adi Badri is used to gather to display their best art works, poems and pundits to debate over complicated philosophical issues. Kamaleshwar-Temple of Srinagar (Garhwal) and Nanda Devi Temple (Distt. Almora) are fine examples of these.

The archaeological heritage of Garhwal-Kumaon is represented by clusters of Temples scattered all over the region. Among the important places of these Temples are Lakha Mandal, Adi Badri, Dwarahat, Jageshwar, Baijnath, Gangolihat, Champawat and Almora. The salient features of this style of architecture are the lotus-shaped roof, lion over the elephant which is projected over lower Shikhara normally covering the audience hall and outer wails executed either in Panch Rath or Sapta Rath pattern, giving the temple a cylindrical shape. The main temple is invariably surrounded by a couple of smaller. temples, which house deities of lower hierarchy.

The specific typology that finally evolved m Garhwa!-Kumaon conform to the influence of the plains. At Jageshwar the Mandap of the main shrine has been elevated by adding an Amalaka (spire) or stepped design. In spite of being slightly curvilinear in outline, the spires are marked by broad and horizontal mouldings. The development of this architectural tradition is also discerned in temples built in the Chand period. In the Chand and post-Chand times the Amalakas were crowned by wooden canopy-roofing, probably denoting a Nepali influence.

The temple construction was a result of local aesthetic initiative inspired by the general creativity in the classical architecture. However, the structural art could neither reach a proper stage of development, nor attain the maturity seen elsewhere in India. Subsequently, due to certain inexplicable factors, the temple building movement in Garhwal Kumaon turned towards simplification.

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Art Heritage >> Dekara . Ornaments . Paintings
Temple Architecture . Woodcarvings

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