The Gupta period saw the beginning of the structural procedure. The ritualistic needs, connected with the worship of an image, are not quite suited to cave excavations.
The proper enshrinement of an image requires a free-standing temple, and this can be more easily put up by the structural method. For this purpose the employment of sized and dressed stone began in a large scale in the Gupta period.
The Brahmanical temples of the Gupta period are usually small and unpretentious and represent an initial stage of development. The Gupta period constitutes an age of experiments in temple forms and types. In Northern India the following well- defined groups may be recognised among the temples of the Gupta period:
(i) The flat-roofed square temple with a shallow porch in front.
(ii) The flat-roofed square temple with a covered ambulatory surrounding the sanctum eel la and preceded by a porch in front, sometimes with a second storey above the shrine chamber.
(iii) The square temple with a low and squat tower or shikhara above.
(iv) The circular temple with shallow projections at the four cardinal faces.
The last one is represented by a single example, namely, the peculiar cylindrical brick structure, known as the Maniyar Math, i.e. the shrine of Mani