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A Gopuram or Gopura is a large, ornate tower that can be found at the entrance of any temple, particularly in Southern India. This is a key element of Dravidian-style Hindu temples called Koil. They serve as entrances to the temple compound through the surrounding walls. A stone finial with a bulbous shape called a kalasam sits atop them.  The Kalashams at the pinnacle of Gopuram’s roof are filled with the Navadhanya (9 types of cereals and pulses). Historically, being the tallest structures in the town, they were meant to aid in restarting life in the event of destructive natural disasters.


 The main entrance to the temple complex is referred to as the gopuram. This distinctive towering structure, which is typically several feet high, is richly decorated with intricate sculptures of dancing figures and with sculptures and carvings of Yalis and mythological animals to be found in the outer enclosed space. Humans and divine beings are in the central enclosures. 


The southern state of Tamil Nadu is famous for its temples which abound throughout this culture-rich land. Many of the temples in the South are rich in mythology and history that go back many centuries to the time when many significant dynasties ruled southern India and beyond. A koil may have several gopurams, which are typically built into tiers of walls around the main shrine.


 In addition to the Indian art and architecture of rock-cut temples, the Pallava dynasty laid the foundations for the Dravidian architectural style used to build Hindu temples. South India gave rise to the architectural style known as "Dravidian architecture," which took on its final form by the sixteenth century.


The Brihadeeswarar temple at Thanjavur and Gangaikondacholapuram are two of the best examples of Dravidian architecture. Large granite blocks were used to build the two temples' enormous structures. A remarkable feature of Brihadeeswarar temple is that a massive stone weighing 80,000 kilos is perched atop its sixteen-story Vimana (diminishing pyramid). Even today, it remains a mystery as to how such a big, hefty stone was raised so high.

The gopuram, or entrance doorway, is the first thing we see when we enter a temple. The gopurams are very significant and an essential component of temple construction since devotees bow their heads at gopuram to pay respect to the deity inside the temple even before entering. There is a well-known saying: ‘Gopura darshanam, koti paapa nashanam’  is a well-known Tamil proverb that translates to "sins are forgiven by seeing the gopuram."


Gopura are primarily built-in accordance with the agama that each individual temple follows. Additionally, they are constructed based on the Vastu Shastra and the Shipa Shastra. In building the temple's gopuram, there is a rule that, as the main temple's center is approached, the size of the temple towers must be reduced. That explains why a temple with multiple gopuras has outer ones that are very massive and tall and inner ones that are smaller.



Top 3 tallest Gopuram temples in India:

1. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

Height (ft): 239.501

Year:  1987 A.D

Location: Srirangam, Tamil Nadu, India


2. Murudeshwara Temple

Height (ft):  237.5

Year:  2008 A.D.

Location:  Murudeshwar, Karnataka, India


 3. Annamalaiyar Temple

Height (ft):  216.5

Year:  9th century A.D.

Location: Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India



Now these magnificent gopurams of Indian temple structures are available in the form of 500-piece jigsaw puzzles. Have fun finding the missing pieces while exploring the splendid Indian temple architecture and the mythological stories.


Explore "Gopuram - The Pinnacle" puzzle by Aurva


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