Difference Between Nagara and Dravidian Style - Nagara Style vs Dravidian

By K Balaji|Updated : February 5th, 2023

An important difference between Nagara and Dravidian Style is that Nagara style architecture has multiple towers, whereas Dravidian style architecture has a single central tower. Temple architecture is one of the primary forms of Hindu architecture and has many styles. Moreover, according to history, different countries have distinct architectural styles.

Difference Between Nagara and Dravidian Style PDF

The two major styles are Nagara architecture, mainly seen in northern India. The second is the Dravidian style of architecture, mainly seen in southern India. These temples have a rich history, and their distinct features make them unique. This article will discuss the difference between Nagara and Dravidian styles based on unique parameters.

Table of Content

Difference Between Nagara and Dravidian Style

The difference between Nagara and Dravidian style also lies in the shape of the central tower is curvilinear in the case of Nagara, and the pyramid-like shape in Dravidian style. Let us explore the differences in detail given below.

Nagara Style vs Dravidian

Difference Between Nagara and Dravidian Style

Parameters for Difference

Nagara Style architecture

Dravidian Style architecture

Location

Temples in the north Indian region are known as Nagara style temples.

Temples in the South Indian region are known as Dravidian-style temples.

Main temples spire

Multiple Shikharas are present in the Nagara style of temples.

Dravidian style has one single shikhara.

Central Tower

The shape of the central tower is curvilinear in the case of Nagara style temples.

The shape of the central tower is a pyramid in the case of Dravidian style temples.

Pedestal

Pedestals are higher than the ground.

Pedestals are not higher than the ground.

Boundaries and deities

Not much importance is given to the boundaries and deities found inside.

Boundaries of the temple are given a lot of importance, and deities are found outside.

Nagara and Dravidian Style of Architecture

Nagara and Dravidian styles of architecture were developed and designed with the assistance of their prevailing dynasties. The buildings of both types of temples are engraved and full of sculptures.

  • Both showcase Indian literature and culture.
  • Each type of temple shows the mythologies of the specific dynasty.

Some similar features between the Nagara and Dravidian style temples are:

  • Sacred pools
  • Mandaps with pillars
  • Temple grounds
  • Prakara walls
  • Multiple entrances in the temple.

Nagara Style of Architecture

In the Nagara style of architecture, temples are built on a platform. Also, these temples do not have any boundary walls or gateways. The mandaps are constructed anterior to the main Shrine.

  • Unlike the Dravidian style temples, there are no water reservoirs.
  • Rather, the images of the Ganga and Yamuna are encrypted.
  • The two major characteristics of this style are the cruciform ground plan and the curvilinear tower.
  • Some examples of temples built in the Nagara style are Sun Temple at Konark, Lakshman temple at Khajuraho, Kandariya Mahadeva temple, etc.

Dravidian Style of Architecture

The Dravidian style is the oldest style of architecture with many distinct features. Most of these styles of temples have short pillars, and they also have boundary walls and gateways.

  • A wall bounds Dravidian-style temples.
  • The Gopuram is the entrance.
  • In Dravidian style temples, Dvarapalas are placed to guard the entrance.
  • The water reservoirs are the essential feature of these temples which exists in each of them.
  • Some examples of temples built in the Dravidian style are the Kailashnath temple at Ellora, Brihadeshwara Temple, etc.

Conclusion:

Key Difference Between Nagara and Dravidian Style

To compare and contrast Nagara and Dravida style of architecture, one should know the elemental traits of both styles of Architecture. Nagara Style of Architecture does not give much significance to the borders, while the Dravidian Style of Architecture gives preference to the borders of the temple, which is the key difference between Nagara and Dravidian Styles.

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FAQs on Difference Between Nagara and Dravidian Style

  • The Difference Between Nagara and Dravidian Style temples is that multiple towers are present in the Nagara style temples. On the other hand, one single tower is present in the Dravidian style. In the Nagara style, the main shrine will have the mandapa on the front side

  • The difference between north and south Indian temples lies in the style of architecture. The architectural design of both regions differs from each other. Nagara architecture is followed in the North, whereas the Dravidian style has been opted for in the Southern part of India.

  • Nagara's style of architecture became popular in northern India. It is standard for an entire temple to be constructed on a stone platform with steps leading up to it. Another unique characteristic of the Nagara style is that it does not contain detailed boundary fences or gateways.

  • The Difference Between Nagara and Dravidian Style temples is that deities are placed inside the Nagara style temples. But in the Dravidian style, deities are placed outside. For example, the Ganga and Yamuna deities are placed inside the Nagara temples, whereas Dravididan temples have the deities of Goddess Ankamma, Goddess Dilli Polasi, etc., outside

  • Dravidian architecture is a South Indian temple style. It is an architectural expression in Hindu temple architecture that emerged in southern India and Sri Lanka, reaching its last formation by the sixteenth century.

  • The Difference Between Nagara and Dravidian Style temples is that Nagara style temples are present in north India, and the Dravidian style temples are present in southern India. The structures of the temples in South India will have all the important characteristics of the Dravidian style, whereas, in North, the Nagara style is majorly seen.

  • Examples of Nagara-style temples in India are Kandariya Mahadeva Temple in Madhya Pradesh, the Sun Temple in Modhera, Konark, Gujarat, and the Ossian Temple in Gujarat. Examples of the Dravidian Style of Architecture are the Kailashnath temple at Ellora, Brihadeshwara Temple, etc.

  • It is important to Know the Difference Between Nagara and Dravidian Style temples as they are asked during civil services examinations. Also, these are an essential part of Indian history and have high sentimental value with the religious impact. The Ganga and Yamuna images in the Nagara temples exemplify such beliefs.

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