The Temples of Rajasthan - Part II

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Sasbahu Temples, late 10th century, Nagda
These twin Vaishnava temples are raised on a common terrace to face east towards the tank. The temples are entered through a gateway with carved lintels and a central multi-lobed arch. Ten subsidiary shrines surround the larger temple; the smaller one has only four shrines. Both buildings follow the same basic scheme.

Each consists of a sanctuary, a mandapa with projections, and an open porch. The walls are plain, except for sculptures in two tiers on the principal projections: thus, Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu, surmounted respectively by Rama, Balarama and Parashurama. The brick towers, though ruined, have clusters of diminutive turrets.
The mandapas and porches have sculptures and decorative motifs, in contrast with the unadorned sanctuary walls. Relief images comprise various deities, including the Dikpalas, amorous couples, maidens and narrative friezes, as well as scenes from the Ramayana. The columns are richly decorated; so is the octagonal ceiling, with eight female brackets in the smaller temple. Porches in the larger temple replace the intricately carved stone windows in the mandapa of the smaller temple.

Ambika Mata Temple, 961
This small but elaborate Hindu temple dates from the Pratihara period. The building consists of a towered sanctuary, a mandapa with projections on two sides and a small porch on the front (west). The outer walls have figurative panels carved almost in the round; these are set in niches sheltered by miniature caves. Within the niches are female deities, many of which are forms of Durga, as well as the Dik-palas, attendant maidens in seductive postures and rearing beasts. High up on the walls are seated musicians, sages and amorous couples. Rising above the sanctuary is the curvilinear tower, with diminutive towered motifs at the corners and in the middle of each side.

The mandapa has pierced stone windows on the north and south, flanked by carved panels similar to those on the sanctuary walls. Additional niches are positioned in the roof, which rises in a pyramidal formation in a number of cave-like tiers. The porch is sheltered by an angled eave. An elaborately carved doorway leads to the sanctuary, where a small Ambika image is enshrined. The ceiling panels of the mandapa and porch are carved with multi-lobed motifs and pendant medallions. Placed within the mandapa is a carved panel of dancing Ganesha.
In one of the nearby shrines is a skeletal figure of Chamunda. A detached entrance pavilion stands a short distance away.

Temple of Mira Bhai, Udaipur, l0th century
The rhythmically projecting walls of this temple arc elevated on a high basement with deep mouldings and an almost continuous band of sculptures. Above rises the clustered form of the tower.

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