March 1, 2024

Day-3 Answer Writing Challenge : Model Answer

Question: Highlight the difference between Temple Architecture of North India & South India?


Understanding of question:
DirectiveWhen facing a “highlight” directive in Mains, focus on the specific aspect indicated, providing in-depth analysis and relevant examples. Avoid unnecessary details and stay concise, emphasizing the highlighted aspect for a targeted response within the word limit.
IntroductionBegin by briefly defining the topic and context. Clearly state the directive, acknowledging the specific aspect to be highlighted. A concise introduction should set the tone for the response and provide a clear roadmap for the examiner.
Main BodyDifferences

Architectural Style:

Temple Layout:

Decorative Elements:

Material Usage:

Regional Variations:

ConclusionIn conclusion, reiterate the key points related to the highlighted aspect as per the directive. Summarize your analysis and its significance in the broader context. A well-crafted conclusion reinforces your main argument and leaves a lasting impression.


North Indian and South Indian temple architecture are two distinct styles of temple construction in India, each characterized by unique features and architectural elements.

Here are some key differences between the two:

1.  Architectural Style:

North Indian Temple Architecture: North Indian temples are typically built in the Nagara style of architecture. The primary feature of this style is the shikhara , which is a tall, curvilinear spire that rises above the sanctum sanctorum (garbhagriha). The shikhara is usually topped with an amalaka (a circular stone disk) and a kalasha (a decorative finial).

South Indian Temple Architecture: South Indian temples follow the Dravida style of architecture. These temples have a pyramidal or stepped tower known as the Vimana, which is often ornately decorated with sculptures and reliefs. The gopuram in South Indian temples is generally smaller and less prominent than the vimana.

2.  Temple Layout:

North Indian Temple Architecture: In North Indian temples, the central sanctum (garbhagriha) houses the main deity. The temple often has a mandapa (hall) that serves as an assembly or congregation area for devotees. The entrance typically faces east.

South Indian Temple Architecture: South Indian temples have a more complex layout. They feature a central sanctum (garbhagriha) and a hall (mandapa). Additionally, they often have an ardhamandapa (a smaller hall) and a large outer hall called a mahamandapa. These temples are often enclosed by concentric walls and have large courtyards. The entrance usually faces east or south.

3.  Decorative Elements:

North Indian Temple Architecture: North Indian temples are known for their intricate stone carvings, particularly on the outer walls and entranceways. The carvings often depict scenes from Hindu mythology, as well as floral and geometric patterns.

South Indian Temple Architecture: South Indian temples are renowned for their elaborate gopurams, which are adorned with sculptural depictions of deities, mythical creatures, and intricate narratives from Hindu epics. The inner walls of the temple often feature finely detailed reliefs and sculptures.

4.  Material Usage:

North Indian Temple Architecture: Temples in North India are typically constructed using red sandstone, though white marble and other materials are also used in some cases.

South Indian Temple Architecture: In South India, temples are primarily constructed using granite, a durable and abundant stone that can withstand the region’s monsoon climate.

5.  Regional Variations:

North Indian Temple Architecture: There are regional variations in North Indian temple architecture, with notable styles in Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh, each with its unique characteristics.

South Indian Temple Architecture: South Indian temple architecture also exhibits regional variations, with distinct styles in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh, each with its architectural nuances.

These differences reflect the cultural, historical, and climatic influences on temple architecture in North and South India. While both styles share common features and principles of Hindu temple architecture, the distinct characteristics of each style are a testament to India’s rich and diverse architectural heritage.

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