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Shekhari Temples

A study examining the Shekhari temple building tradition, from its formation to its most complex manifestations some 800 years later.

Indian temples have often been studied in terms of the 'style' that they have exhibited in a particular region during a particular period. Their architecture can be more clearly understood in terms of the 'architectural languages', Nagara and Dravida, which provide a repertory of forms, and of the types or modes which are characteristic ways of putting the forms together.

The Nagara or north Indian architectural language is the basis of four modes:

  • Latina
  • Vallabhi
  • Shekhari
  • Bhumija.

The Shekari (or Anekandaka) mode is the composite 'multi-spired' type that emerged from the unitary Latina around the turn of the first Millennium, and became the predominant kind of temple throughout central and western India. Adam Hardy's earlier studies have argued that both Nagara and Dravida temple compositions were conceived, and are most readily conceivable, as clusters of embedded aedicules or shrine-images. The increasingly complex designs of Shekhari temples are explicable in this way.

This study examined the whole tradition of Shekhari temple building, from its formation to its most complex manifestations some 800 years later, analysing both the compositional patterns of individual temples and the way in which these evolve.

Part of the project, involving field work in Gujarat, was funded by the Society for South Asian Studies.

Project lead

Professor Adam Hardy

Professor Adam Hardy

Emeritus Professor

Email:
hardya@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 5982

Publication

Adam Hardy, 'Sekhari Temples', in Artibus Asiae 62, No. 1 (2002), pp. 81-137.