Hindu temple sculpture was evolved with the rise of the Magadha Empire in India. Till then it was nature worship and Buddhism dominated the sub-continent. The rise of Magadha dynasty led to an absolute change in the religious architecture and sculpture. Some of the most exquisite sculptures were created during the Mauryan and Sunga eras. Stone sculptures decorate the interiors and the exteriors of the sophisticated temples; later temples are completely covered with sculpture. Each piece of temple sculpture has a precise iconographic meaning and plays a role in identifying and celebrating the principal deity housed in the temple as well as in symbolizing the Hindu cosmos.
The Gupta Empire encouraged a cultural florescence. Sculpture produced throughout the Gupta Empire has a relatively uniform “classic” style. It spread through much of India and along with the trade routes to influence the art of the countries of South and Southeast Asia. The Gupta style also greatly influenced the art of north Indian kingdoms for centuries after the end of the Gupta dynasty. There were two main artistic centres for sculpture production: Sarnath produced images with clinging material while Mathura created images with patterns of string folds in the material.
Nagara is the style of temple building which became trendy in Northern India. Earliest temples had only one shikhara (tower), but in the afterwards periods, numerous shikharas came. Latina is the easy and most ordinary type of shikhara. Latina types are mostly used for lodging the garbhagriha. Later on, the Latina buildings grew compound and in its place of appearing like a single tower, the temple began to support many little towers, which were clustered jointly like rising ton type with the tallest one being in the middle. Phamsana are broader and shorter than Latina form. Their roof is composed of some slabs that quietly rise to a single point over the centre of the building, unlike the Latina ones which look like roughly rising towers. Phamsana roofs do not bend inwards; in its place, they incline rising on a straight incline. In many north Indian temples, the phamsana type is used for mandapas while the chief garbhagriha is housed in a Latina construction. Valabhi are rectangular buildings with a roof that rises into a vaulted hall. The border of the vaulted hall is round, like the bamboo or wooden wagons that would have been drawn by bullocks in very old times. The shape of this temple is influenced by very old building forms that were already in survival. To know more read: