A three-day national workshop on ‘Temple architecture and iconography: in Sthapatis’ Perspective’ got under way here on Monday with experts delving on the evolution of temples from prehistoric times to the standardisation of the architecture.

The workshop has been organised by the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore. Delivering the keynote address, A. Sundara, retired professor, Department of Ancient History and Epigraphy, Karnatak University, Dharwad, traced the growth of temples to when they were idols being worshipped in the open.

Vedic period

He pointed out that there is no evidence of the existence of temple architecture during the Vedic period though there is evidence of cults in prehistoric times.

Over generations, this was systematised and paved the way for the evolution of temple structures.

There is evidence of figurines worshipped in the open and in later periods, people thought it fit to construct a shrine to protect main deities, Professor Sundara said. This continued and over the centuries, new components, including enclosures, were added to the sanctum sanctorum, besides a mantapa to accommodate the needs of rituals that became more complex with the passage of time.

Vijayanagar period

In this context, Professor Sundara said temple architecture evolved fully during the Vijayanagar period and the Virupaksha temple, complete with a shrine and a mantapa, was the best example of the fullest expression of such evolutionary trends. Though early Hindu shrines were made of brick and kiln, Buddhist and Jain shrines were made of stone since they evolved from the around 1st Century BC.

The workshop is being held in collaboration with the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, Maharaja’s College, Indian Council of Historical Research, and Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Dharmothana Trust.

People from across the country are taking part. The organisers said the objective of the workshop was to introduce new generations to the scientific and aesthetic aspects of the science of sculpting and temple architecture regarded as part of India’s traditional knowledge system.

V. Shobha, HoD, Ancient History and Archaeology, said that from the third week of October a sculptors’ camp featuring master artisans will be conducted under the guidance of Puttaswamy Guddigar, director, Shilpa Loka, Goa.

K. Dakshinamoorthy Sthapati, Managing Trustee, Vastu Vedic Research Foundation, Chennai; and A.H. Hariram Shetty, director, SDM Dharmothana Trust, Dharmasthala were present.

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