The Hindu temple developed over a period of two thousand years and its architectural development took place in the limits of firm models resulting from religious thought. Consequently, the architect had to work keeping in mind the early size and strict style, which did not change for several centuries.
The Nagara style which evolved for the fifth century is distinguished by a beehive shaped tower called a shikhara, made up of layer upon layer of architectural elements such as kapotas and Gavaskar, all topped by a large round cushion-like element called an amalaka. The arrangement is based on a square but the walls are occasionally so broken up that the tower frequently seems circular. Krishna Deva in “the Temples of India” states:
“In the north, there is a logical development from a flat-roofed cubical cella preceded by a pillared porch of the early Gupta period (4th-5th century A.D.) The simple structure gradually undergoes expansion, horizontal as well as vertical, in the following centuries. The horizontal expansion is achieved by the addition of mandapas of sorts while the vertical aspiration is met by experimenting with a variety of roof forms, of which rekha-sikhara was regarded as most appropriate and adopted as a standard format and cognizance of the northern (Nagara) architecture”
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