The temples of Gujarat fall in the category of Nagara style. In Gujarat after the Gupta period, the kingdom of Maitrakas of Vallabhi started with the new elements of structural temple activities that came to be known as the “Saurastra style”. It has four types of superstructure, namely,
the kutina resembling the Dravida sikhara,
the valabhi (wagon-vault/ salasikhara),
the phamsana (wedge shaped, stepped pyramidal), and
the Latina (single sikhara variety with curvilinear profile).
The phamsana sikhara is crowned by a Dravida type. domical finial and not the amalakas, etc. The temples consisted of the square garbha-grha with or without mukha-mandapa. There were both sandhara and nirandhara temples.
The temple wall shows ratha projections and following the gupta tradition the whole temple stands on a jagati or platform. Some of the Maitraka temples of 6th and 7th century are at Gop; the Vishnu temple at Kadvar, the Bilvanatha temple at Bilesvara and the Surya temples at Pasnavada, Srinagar and Jhamra.
Maru Gurjara Architecture
Māru-Gurjara temple architecture originated somewhere in 6th century in and around areas of Rajasthan.
Māru-Gurjara architecture show the deep understanding of structures and refined skills of Rajasthani craftmen of bygone era.
Māru-Gurjara architecture has two prominent styles:
According to M. A. Dhaky, Maha-Maru style developed primarily in Marudesa, Sapadalaksa, Surasena and parts of Uparamala whereas Maru-Gurjara originated in Medapata, Gurjaradesa-Arbuda, Gurjaradesa-Anarta and some areas of Gujarat.
The name Maru Gurjara has its genesis in the fact that during ancient times, Rajasthan and Gujarat had similarities in ethnic, cultural and political aspects of the society.
Ancient name of Rajasthan was Marudesh while Gujarat was called Gurjaratra.
“Maru Gurjara art” literally means “art of Rajasthan“.
The establishment of the Solanki dynasty by the tenth century in Gujarat witnessed several new features. The architecture that flourished during this period in Anartta, Saurashtra, Kachha and Lata is termed as “MARU-GURJARA” style.
This style had been there since the eighth century which was the mixture of 2 regional traditions, known as “Maha-Maru” and “Maha-Gurjara” styles. Under Solankis the Maru-Gurjara style attained its architectural perfection.
Maru Gurjara temples
The Maru-Gurjara style temples comprise of the garbha-griha/mula- prasada, the gudha-mandapa or mahamandapa, and a porch like the antrala of the Nagara temple.
In later examples the mandapas were fronted by a free-standing kirti- torana and a kunda or a temple tank.
The Maru-Gurjara temples have 3 divisions in their elevation, namely,
The main hall called mandovara
The whole temple stands on a khara-sila which is similar to the jagati of the central indian temples.
The Mandovara is the temple wall of the Maru-Gurjara temples. It corresponds to the Orissan ‘bada’. It has 3 main sections, namely,
The vedhi-bandha (series of binding mouldings around the main portion of the wall)
The jangha (main part of the wall)
The varandika (series of mouldings in the form of cornices)
The varandika is finally topped by a projecting sun-shade in the shape of ribbed tiles, known as khurachadya.
At the base of the shikhara is the rathika bearing an image of a deity. The curvilinear shikhara is topped by a massive amalaka over which rests the candrika (capstone) and kalasha (pot finial).
The roof of the mandapa is either of the phamsana(stepped- pyramidal) or samvarana (bell roof).
Temples of Gujarat
The structural temple activities in Gujarat started with the emergence of a new and powerful royal house, known as MAITRAKAS of Valabhi in the post-Gupta period.
Also known as the “Saurashtra style”, it had 4 superstructures, namely,
The plan and elevation of the early Maitraka temples were simple. The temples consisted of the square garbha-griha with or without the mukha-mandapa.
By the early eighth century, a transition from the Saurashtra style to the real Nagara style takes place in the temple architecture of Gujarat.
For example, the temples of Varaha at Kadvar and Surya near Somnath exhibit a rudimentary shikhara in the triratha form, a garbha-griha with a pradakshina-patha and a closed mandapa with a porch and a sloping roof.
Sun Temple at Modhera , Gujarat
Among the Solanki type Maru-Gurjara temples the Sun temple at Modhera is the most famous. The temple gives a clear picture of the typical Solanki style temple with all its characteristic features.
This east-facing temple, built on a golden-brown sandstone, stands on a broad terrace, known as the khara-sila, which is made of solid brick faced with stone.
A broad flight of steps lead to the decorated entrance archway, known as kirti- torana.
Immediately behind the Kirti-torana begins the temple complex consisting of the sabha-mandapa, gudha-mandapa and garbha-griha, all aligned in a single axis. These structures bear all the basic parts: pitha, mandovara and shikhara.
The whole temple complex is fronted by a temple tank, known as kunda, or stepped well. It encompasses a number of miniature shrines on its smaller steps.
Osian Temple , Jodhpur , Rajasthan
OSIAN, anciently known as Ukesapura, was the religious city of Gurjara– Pratiharas between eighth and eleventh centuries.
The temples of Osian were built on a broad pishtha over which was built the adhisthana consisting of many mouldings, such as khura, kumbha, kalasha and kapota. These mouldings were arranged in accordance with the ratha projections of the vimana. The kapota is generally carved with kudu arches.
Above the pitha/adhisthana rests mandovara. All the pagas of the mandovara of these panchratha temples contain devakoshthas, surmounted by miniature shikharas crowned by amalakas.
The Jain temple complex of Dilwara, Mount Abu
The Vimala Vasahi and the Luna Vasahi show many regional variations with stupendous sculptural ornamentation suggesting a strong Maru-Gurjara and central Indian influence.
These Jain temples, mostly made of white marble with beautiful toranas, carved ceilings with lotus motifs, female bracket-figures and open backyards with deva-kulikas.
The east facing VIMALA VASAHI, dedicated to Adinatha, consists of the mula-prasada, built of black stone, gudha-mandapa, sabha-mandapa and deva-kulika (subsidiary shrines).
The entrance porch of Vimala Vasahi has a false dome. It leads to an octagonal mandapa, whose pillars support an imposing corbelled dome decorated with 16 celestial nymphs (apsaras).
The lintels supporting the dome were reinforced by the system of triangulated supports with their intricately carved brackets.