When one thinks of Hindu temples, the first thing that comes to mind is the large temples in India with their iconic spires known as shikhars. But there are actually two types of Hindu temples – North Indian and South Indian. While they share some common features, there are also many differences between them. Let’s take a look at some of the key distinctions.
What are North Indian Hindu Temples?
North Indian Hindu temples are places of worship that are typically dedicated to one or more Hindu deities. They are usually located in North India, and often feature a distinctive architecture that includes a tall spire known as a shikhara. North Indian Hindu temples typically have a square or rectangular floor plan, with a central shrine that is surrounded by an enclosed courtyard. The walls of the temple are often decorated with relief carvings, paintings, or miniature shrines. North Indian Hindu temples may also include a fire pit for ceremonies, as well as other features such as an assembly hall and living quarters for priests.
What are South Indian Hindu Temples?
South Indian Hindu Temples are places of worship that are dedicated to the Hindu deity, Lord Vishnu. They are usually constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, which is prevalent in South India. South Indian Hindu Temples are typically characterized by their pyramidal towers, or gopurams, which often serve as the main entrance to the temple complex. Inside the temple complex, there is usually a central shrine that houses a statue of Lord Vishnu. South Indian Hindu Temples are considered to be some of the most sacred places in Hinduism and are tourist destinations for both Hindus and non-Hindus alike.
Differences between North and South Indian Hindu Temples
North and South Indian Hindu temples share many similarities, but there are also some important differences.
- Both types of temples are generally brightly colored and intricately decorated, and they often feature multiple shrines and walkways.
- However, North Indian temples tend to be larger and more elaborate, while South Indian temples are typically more modest in size.
- North Indian temples also tend to have more statues and sculptures, while South Indian temples typically focus on paintings and carvings.
- Another difference is that North Indian temples typically use Hindi as their main language, while South Indian temples usually use Tamil.
Despite these differences, both North and South Indian Hindu temples are places of great beauty and spiritual significance.
If you’re interested in learning more about the differences between North and South Indian Hindu temples, we have a few articles that might be of interest. For example, our article on the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai dives into some of the distinct features of this popular temple. And if you want to see some amazing architecture, take a look at our post about the Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur – it’s one of the largest temples in India!