In Karnataka, during the middle Ages, temple building has shown its originality, in the architecture of the Hoysala period. Bijapur in Karnataka is renowned for its Muslim architecture. Kerala has wooden structures in the unique style of the west coast. The heart of Andhra Pradesh is the former feudal kingdom of Hyderabad. The symbol of this city Charminar is an Islamic memorial tower. The Mughals did not extend their empire so far south. The temples here are built in the Dravidian style of architecture.
History of Architecture in South India
The origins of the Dravidian style can be observed in the Gupta period. In South India more than the architecture, it is the Hindu temples linked to history and Hindu mythology that are famous and are major pilgrim centres even today. The history of South India reveals the several significant rulers and dynasties which have ruled over it, such as, the Cheras, Cholas, Pallavas, Chalukyas, Pandyas and the western Ganga dynasty.
In the late medieval period south India witnessed the rise of the Muslim power. After Aurangzeb’s death the rulers of South India gained autonomy. South India is popular mainly for the architectural hallmark of the Hindu temples but the Islamic and Buddhist structural design contribute to enhance the artistic splendour of the place. With its wide panorama of architecture south India is one of the most visited destinations on the map of India.
Features of Architecture in South India
Hindu religious architecture comprises a major segment of the architecture of south India. Dravidian temple is surrounded inside a compound wall. The frontage wall has a doorway gateway in its middle, which is recognized as Gopura or Gopuram. Vimana is known as the shape of the major temple tower. Shikhara is used simply for the crowning part at the top of the temple which is regularly shaped like a small stupika or an octagonal cupola. The temples of Pattadakal and Aihole in Karnataka depict the origin of the south Indian architecture. The temples in Hampi reflect some of the best Hindu architectural pattern. Badami in Karnataka is one of the fascinating places in the South. The Bhutanatha groups of temples reflect the Chalukya style of architecture.
Apart from Hindu temples there are Islamic, Jain, colonial and Buddhist architecture which are prevalent in South India. Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh has Charminar which is an Islamic memorial tower. Golconda was a prominent Islamic capital in the 16th and 17th centuries. The three cities of Gulbarga, Bijapur and Bidar in the north of Karnataka have many structures reflecting south Indian Islamic architecture.
Jain temples were built on the west coast. There are some Jain temples in the old Bhatkal town of Karnataka. The Chandranatha temple is in the new town. Colonial architecture in south India is seen in the city of Mysore in Karnataka. The Amba Vilas palace is in the heart of the city surrounded by a fort. It is designed in the Indo-Saracen style with a blend of European, Islamic and Hindu architecture. The most impressive place is the Darbar Hall the ceiling of which is completely covered with stained glass made in Glasgow. The Napier museum in Trivandrum in Kerala is built on the colonial style of architecture. This beautiful museum framed by two wide towers stands majestically within a large garden on a hill. The exterior and the interior of the museum are very ornate.