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Notes on the Geography of Peninsular India: Kanchipuram: Vaikuntha Perumal Temple: Photo 2

world pictures Peninsular India: Kanchipuram: Vaikuntha Perumal Temple

Step to the side and you see the temple's original wall, which encloses an unusually high vimana, literally a "palace" but figuratively a shrine and its enclosure. The style of the wall is characteristically Pallavan, with a moulding at the base, pilasters on the wall, and a parapet shaped like a curved or thatched roof. The vimana within has the same triple arrangement repeated at successively smaller sizes, so that the exterior wall appears as the base of the pyramidal set. This Dravidian style, to give it its name, appears first at Aihole and Badami, but it was adopted by Rajasimha at Mamallapuram and carried over by Nandivarman II, the builder of Vaikuntha Perumal. The building is his "magnum opus," according to K.R. Srinivasan in The Encyclopedia of Indian Temple Architecture: South India, Lower Dravidadesa, 1983, p. 69.

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