Short Essay on the Temples of North and South India


Compared to the gigantic temples of South India, the North Indian temples are devoid of ancient or medieval buildings of outstanding beauty or magnificence.

The reason for this is not the want of architectural genius on part of the Hindus of the North, but rather the iconoclastic zeal of the early invaders.

It is well known that a flourishing school of architecture and sculpture existed in the north-west of India popularly known as the Gandhara School.


It is quite possible that many temples built in this style were destroyed by invaders. Besides the Gandhara School there was a pure Indo-Aryan school of art and architecture, the chief centre of which was Mathura.

The Dravidians were great builders and there is nothing in North India now existing to compare with the great temples that have risen under the Pallavas, Cholas and the Pandyas.

The temple in South India occupied the central place in city planning. The four main streets of the city took off from the principal gateways of the temple and the area surrounding the temple naturally formed the busiest part of the city.

The temple was, and in many parts of the country still is, the centre of life in a South-Indian city.

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