The Solanki Architecture

The Solanki Architecture

Maru-Gurjara architecture, also known as Chaulukya style or Solanki style, is a form of west-Indian temple architecture that dates back to the 11th-13th century and the Chaulukya dynasty, which is also known as the Solanki dynasty. Established by King Mularaja, it was the last Hindu dynasty and it originated in Gujarat and rajasthan. Although it began as a regional type of Hindu temple building, it quickly gained popularity in Jain temples and later extended throughout India and to expatriate groups around the world, largely under Jain sponsorship. The latter show kirtimukha, elephants, and horse riders in long lines. Almost no area of the surface is unadorned. In larger temples, two smaller side entrances with porches are typical, along with the main shikhara tower typically having numerous urushringa subsidiary spirelets atop it. If anything, interiors are even more opulently ornamented, with intricate carving covering the majority of surfaces.

Source: mysteryofindia 


Jain temples in particular frequently have very low domes with extremely detailed rosette carvings on the inside. Another distinguishing feature is the intricately carved "flying" arch-like features that appear between the pillars and contact the horizontal beam above in the middle. These are entirely ornamental and serve no structural use. The style is distinguishable from other north Indian temple styles of the time on the exteriors by the fact that the external walls of the temples have been built by an increasing number of projections and recesses, accommodating sharply carved statues in niches. These are typically positioned above the lowest moulding bands in overlaid registers. By the 13th century, the style had largely disappeared from Hindu temples in its native locations, especially after the region had been conquered by the Muslim Delhi Sultanate in 1298. But despite this, Jains continued to employ it there and elsewhere, with a remarkable "revival" in the 15th century—unusual for an Indian temple style. Jain temples frequently had one closed and two pillared halls in succession on the main axis leading to the shrine.

Source: amarujala

 Finally overthrown in 1244, the Hindu Vaghela dynasty ruled the area for a number of years before being defeated by the Muslim Delhi Sultanate. After then, temple construction in the original districts of the style generally stopped, but there were occasionally slight expansions and repairs made to older structures. However, Jains began to view the Solanki era as a sort of "golden age," and the Maru-Gurjara architectural style evidently came to represent the norm for Jains, particularly the Vetmbara branch of the faith. In the 15th century, the style started to resurface in Jain temples in the same region. From there, it expanded throughout India, originally going eastward. 


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