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Temple Architecture
Andhra Pradesh Temple

In Andhra Pradesh the main deity is generally found in the center of the temple. The accessory buildings are usually inside a rectangular wall which has high gopurams (towers) that can be seen from a great distance. The eastern entrance is typically the main entrance and the deity usually faces east. The tower over the main deity is called a vimana, and it is generally covered with sculptures from top to bottom. The deity room is called the garbha-griha, which is in a circular or square building surrounded by a pradakshina-patha (path), so devotees can go around the deities. In front of this area is the ardha-mandapa, which may be square or rectangular. The maha-mandapa is in front of the ardhamandapa. It consists of a building with pillars in it with an entrance and space on three sides. There may be other mandapas like the nrittya mandapa and kalyana-mandapa.

Usually on either side of the main entrance of the ardha-mandapa are two dwarapalakas (carvings of temple guards). In front of the sanctum is located either Garuda, in a Vishnu temple, or Nandi, the bull, in a Siva temple.

In most temples there are usually two sets of deities: One is permanent and is called the Mulabera and the other is taken on processions and is called the Utsavabera. In some temples there are different deities for abhisheka (bathing) and utsava (festivals).




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