In Sanskrit, the word Shikhara means “mountain peak” which is how these beautiful temples with extremely tall towers of spires earned their name. This temple architecture is very common in Texas and in both Hindu temples as well as Jain temples.
When referring to Jain Shikhara temples, there are three types of shikharas, the Latina, Sekhari, and Bhumija. One thing that they all have in common is the fact that the temples contain a deity enshrined within the temple.
The Latina shikhara has four different faces and each face will often have projections. All of the design elements curve towards the top and the structure has a uniform look.
The Sekhari shikhara has spires and spirelets that reinforce the main design. The spires will cover the entire face. The spires can come in multiple sizes and there are often spirelets on the corners of the temple. This highly decorative temple style is ornate.
The Bhumija style tower has many small spires that go both horizontally and vertically. The spires go all the way to the top and this effect makes the tower look like a grid. The shape isn’t round and it looks more like a pyramid than anything else. You will find this style often in West India.
The shikhara style is found in Hindu temples and these temples also have their own unique styles of shikharas; Nagara, Vesara and Dravidian.
The Nagara style is often found in North India. This type of shikhara has a curved shape that is very high.
The Vesara style has more of a conical shape and it features a lot of very intricate carvings.
The Dravidian style is often found in Southern India. It has four sides and has a shape like a pyramid with pavilions that get progressively smaller as they get to the top. This straight structure is detailed and ornate.
Common Design Elements
Every type of shikhara structure is going to have an urn at the peak which is used for offerings. If you are going to be in India you are definitely going to want to spend some time visiting these temples as they are fascinating to look at. Each temple has a storied history and they are very impressive.
The temples are inspiring and they have so much history. They are beautiful and you feel a sense of awe when you look at them. Knowing the design elements of the temples helps you to understand them more.