What are the eight standard architectural features a Hindu temple should have?

The renowned archeologist KK Muhammed among others determined after long research that a large Hindu temple once stood in Ayodhya.

Kalasam in Video at 34m 19 secs & 52m 04 secs

This question is about the eight characteristics of a temple Ashta mangala Chinhas or symbols that a temple should have about which he mentioned in this connection. I heard for the first through this video that such a code/ practice exists as mentioned in old temple architecture texts.May be known to Melsanthis or other professionals.

The pillars with Poorna Kalasam/Kumbham, Amalakam/Mandala carved roof, Navagrahas, Swastika mark, Makara Pranali (gargoyle for water outflow after cleaning deity) etc. among them?

  • 1
    "The renowned archeologist KK Muhammed among others determined after long research that a large Hindu temple once stood in Ayodhya before misappropriation." - how is this line and the following video relevant to the question? Looks unnecessary to me. You should probably edit it out. Aug 21, 2020 at 21:56
  • OK shall change the question adding in comments by way of context but cannot edit the video.The renowned archeologist KK Muhammed determined after long research that a large Hindu temple once stood in Ayodhya before its misappropriation had all the eight signs of a Hindu temple.that he confirmed in the exploration/excavation.
    – Narasimham
    Aug 22, 2020 at 11:09
  • Still don't understand how this statement is relevant to your main question: "The renowned archaeologist KK Muhammed among others determined after long research that a large Hindu temple once stood in Ayodhya." If this is a generic question about any temple, why mention the temple at Ayodhya or its history? Aug 22, 2020 at 23:45
  • Although been visiting temples many years for Pooja etc. had no general idea about temple architecture and construction. Looking for any text or classical reference. The present example is an arbitrary context for the question where I am first hearing about them.
    – Narasimham
    Aug 23, 2020 at 9:29

1 Answer 1


I think your question is way too much generic to be answered in detail. But i think is very interesting , although i didn't see the video itself. I will post here just an example with a source , based on the description about just pillars and bricks inside ancient temples:

As regards the assembling Pillars Starnbha-sandhayah ,following are a few excerpts from Pride of India: A Glimpse Into India’s Scientific Heritage

Assembly of Pillars: It is said that there are five types of assemblies suitable for pillars; these are Mesayuddha, Trikhanda, Saubhadra, Ardhapani and Mahavrtta. Mesayuddharn trikhandam ca saubhadram cardhapanikam I Mahavrttarn ca paficaite stambhanam sandhayah smrtah II When there is a central tenon* (projection at the end of a piece of wood etc., with a width) a third (that of the pillar) and a length twice or two and half time its width, this is Mesayuddha (mortise – A hole to receive a tenon ,and tenon) assembly Svavyasakarnamadhyardhadvigunam va tadayatam I Tryarnsaikam madhyarnasikham mesayuddharn prakIrtitam II) In the Trikhanda assembly, there are three mortises and three tenons arranged as a Swastika, The assembly called Saubhadra comprises four peripheral tenons. Svastyakararn trikhandarn syat satriciili trikhandakarn I Parsve catuhsikhopetam saubhadramiti sarnjfiitam II An assembly is called Ardhapani (scarf joint) when half the lower and half the upper pieces are cut to size according to the thickness chosen (for the pillar) Ardham chitva tu mule Sgre canyonyabhinivesanat I Ardhapaniriti prokto grhitaghanamanatah When there is a semicircular section tenon at the centre, the assembly is called Mahavrtta, the well advised man employs this for circular section pillars Ardhavrttasikharn madhye tanmahavrttarnucyate I Vrttakrtisu padesu prayunjita vicaksanah II The assembling of (the different parts of) a pillar should be done below the middle and any assembling done above will be a source of accident; (however) the assembly which brings together the bell-capital and the abacus gives the certainty of success. When a stone pillar, with its decoration, (is to be assembled) this should be done according to the specific case. Stambhanam starnbhadairghyardhadadhah sandhanamacaret I Stambhamadhyordhvasandhisced vipadamaspadam sad a II Kumbhamandyadisarnyuktam sandhanam sam pad am padam I Salankare silastarnbhe yathayogam tathacaret II It should be known that the assembling of the vertical pieces is done according to the disposition of the different parts of the tree; if the bottom is above and the top is below, all chance of success is lost Sthitasya padapasyangapravrttivasato viduh / Urdhvamulamadhascagram sarvasampadvinasanam II ] Ramanathaswamy

Temple B.Bricks (Ishtaka)

Bricks have been in use for thousands of years in construction of yupa the sacrificial altars and Chaithyas the early temples of the Vedic ages. Shathapatha Brahmana as also Shilpa Rathna describes the methods for moulding and burning the bricks. The Sulba sutras and Manasara detail the dimensions of the bricks of various sizes in relation to the sacrificial altars constructed for various purposes. The remnants of the Indus valley civilization too amply demonstrate the extensive use of bricks in construction of buildings and other structures. During the later ages, the bricks were used in the temple structures mainly for erecting Gopuras the temple towers and Vimanas the domes over the sanctum. As per the descriptions given in Manasara the bricks were made in various sizes; the size of the bricks varying from 7 inches to 26 or even to 31 inches in length. The length of the bricks were 1 ¼, 1 ½, 1 ¾ or 2 times the width .The height of the brick was ½ its width or equal to the width. Thus, bricks of different sizes, shapes, and types were made. The composition, shape and baking of a brick depended upon the use to which it was put. Interestingly, the bricks with straight and linier edges were called male bricks; while those with a broad front side and a narrower back side or those of curved shape were called female bricks. The bricks in concave shape were called neuter bricks. The male bricks could be used in the construction of the prasada, the sanctum. The female bricks were used for the sanctum of female deities. The neuter bricks were generally not used in temple construction; but were used for lining the walls of the well. According to Shukla Yajurveda Samhita, bricks were made from thoroughly mixed and pulverized earth and other ingredients. The earth was strengthened by mixing goat hair, fine sand, iron flake or filings and powdered stone. Earth was also mixed with ‘raal oil’, etc. and thoroughly beaten and blended in order to increase the strength of the material by enhancing the cohesion of the earth particles. Triphala concoction is said to render the earth, white ants (termite) and microbe proof.

Source : sreenivasarao's blogs

  • Thank you soo much for your detailed answer and the reference touching upon every aspect of the ancient art of temple building. It is a source for their study with so much historical information providing a glimpse into the importance of temples in peoples' lives. Thanks again. One can in particular understand the pillar design in simple terms and to make sketches of the same. Recently a series of videos by Praveen Mohan revived much interest on several traditional aspects of the subject.
    – Narasimham
    Aug 23, 2020 at 17:11
  • @Narasimham , my pleasure. Indeed it is very important and fascinating. There are other texts like written books as well, try to search on archive.org for example. If the answer somehow satisfy your question , remember to put it as answered. Aug 23, 2020 at 22:37

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