Temple architecture in the Hindu tradition is connected to astronomy and sacred geometry. The temple is a representation of the macrocosm (the universe) as well as the microcosm (the inner space).
A basic Hindu temple consists of an inner sanctum, the garbha griha or womb-chamber, in which the image is housed, often with space for its circumambulation, a congregation hall, and possibly an antechamber and porch. The sanctum is crowned by a tower-like shikara,as shown here.
The earliest temples were built with perishable materials like timber and clay. Cave-temples, temples carved out of the stone or built with bricks came later. Heavy stone structures with ornate architecture and sculpture belong to a still later period. In spite of the basic pattern being the same, varieties did appear, gradually leading to the evolution of different styles in temple architecture. More >>