Difference Between Nagara and Dravida Style of Temple Architecture & Their Similarities


Hindu temple architecture is the main form of Hindu architecture, and has many varieties of styles, though the basic nature of Hindu temple remains the same. Hindu temple architecture reflects a synthesis of art and the idea of beliefs and values.

Of the different temple architecture styles in India, the Nagara architecture of northern India and Dravidian architecture of Southern India is most common.

You can also find differences between articles on various topics that you need to know. Just tap on the quick link available and get to know the basic differences between them.

What is the Difference Between  Nagara and Dravida Style Of Temple Architecture?

About Dravida style of temple architecture

Dravida, Dravidian architecture or the South Indian temple style is an architectural medium in Hindu temple construction that emerged in the southern part of the Indian subcontinent or South India. This style of architecture is the oldest style of architecture, with a lot of distinct features.

The most from North Indian styles is the use of shorter and more pyramidal tower called a Vimana, whereas the North has taller towers, usually bending in words as they rise, called Shikharas.

About Nagara style of temple architecture

The Nagara style of architecture is quite popular in North India. In this method, it is common to build the temple on a stone platform and unlike South Indian temples, where temples don’t have boundary walls or gateways.

The walls, pillars, rooms and the Mandapas were decorated with Floral and geometrical patterns and images of Gods and Goddesses and remarkable scenes from mythology. The two major characteristics of this style are the cruciform ground plan and the curvilinear tower.

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Difference between Nagara and Dravida style of architecture

Area of Difference Nagara Style Dravida Style
Location Temples located in Northern India are listed as Nagara style. Temples located in Southern India are listed as Dravida style.
Main temples spire Nagara style of architecture has multiple shikharas Dravida style has one single shikhara.
Mandapa Towers In the Nagara style, there are multiple Towers. In Dravida style, it is always a single Tower.
Central Tower In Nagara style, the central tower is curvilinear in shape. In Dravida style, the central tower is shaped like a pyramid.
Boundaries and deities Nagara style does not give much importance to the temple boundaries, and the deities are kept inside. In this style, the temple boundaries are given high importance, and the deities are kept outside.

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Similarities between Dravida and Nagara styles of architecture

  • Both the Dravida and the Nagara styles of architecture were developed with the help of their respective dynasty.
  • The Nagara style and Dravidian style have similar features like sacred pools, pillared mandapas in temple grounds, prakara walls and single or multiple entrances into the temple.
  • In both the styles of architecture, the buildings were heavily engraved, and was full of sculptures.
  • Both the Nagara style of architecture and the Dravidian architecture style speak volumes about the literature and society of the era.
  • The plans for both styles of architecture are nearly similar. The spire of the Nagara style has straight-edged pyramidals, just like the Dravida style.

FAQ on Difference Between  Nagara And Dravida Style Of Temple Architecture

What is the meaning of the Nagara Temple style?

The Nagara refers to the North Indian temple style of architecture. The entire temple is generally built on the stone platform with steps leading to it. It became very popular in North India and therefore referred is to as the Nagara.

Who built Dravida temples?

Dravida style temples were first built by the Pallavas. Pallavas were the great rulers of Northern part of today’s Tamil nadu, and parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh until 9th century. During this long reign, art and architecture of early Dravidian period bloomed and thrived.

Who built Nagara style temples?

Nagara style temples were constructed under the patronage of Chandella rulers between the tenth and the twelfth century.

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