Manipuri temple art and architecture is basically of Hindu style
showing more inclination towards the traditional Hindu building art and
architecture of Bengal. There is no existence of any temple and its art relating
to the animistic faith of ancient Manipur. The architectural style of Manipuri
temples exhibit its basis in the ancestral houses of forest dwellers. The temple
construction was done with bamboo. It resembles the Bengal temple style. The
parabolic contours in the majority of temples of Manipur are a dominating characteristic.
This style is prominently achieved in hut-type temples like that of Mahabali
Temple and Nagara styles of Govindajee temple and Tangal temple.
There are a few
temples on Shikhara style .e.g. Kakching Narsingh Thakur temple, Lord Krishna
temple of Krishnampat and Krishna Chandra temple of Kakhing Bazar. Another peculiar style is given to Kamakhya
temple of Hiyangthang Lairenbi. This temple reveals the
amalgamation of Shikhara and pagoda styles. The style of Sanamahi temple
is unique, the polygonal Baptistery type in a Gothic style structure ends
with Nagara style, having Amalaka Sila on the top.
The temples are designed on the principle
that the main structure,
square in plan, its walls vertical but lines and planes (which in most buildings
are ordinarily horizontal) in this type are carried across in its front in
series of parallel curves, bent in the form of a bow. Such a distinctive
application of curves specially effects the form of the roof and its cornice or eave,
which in contour are parabolic and clearly inherited from a bamboo
framework given this shape in order to throw off heavy monsoon rains.
The site for the temple, earth's terrestrial surface, has to
be near the bank of a river or lake or amongst the groves or on a hillock in
solitude. The sites for some of the temples in Manipur have been at the places
of the capital of the king Patron. Almost all the temples of Manipur are
constructed on Brahmanical rules of Vastushastra. Therefore the square plan is
taken as the basis. It denotes the Panchratna plan with Brahma in the
central position and other gods on the sides. In all temples the material used
was brick and mud. The pedestal or the platform is distinctively prominent in
all temples of Manipur because the entire valley is a low lying area and in
rainy seasons the ground surface gets flooded. All temples in Manipur have the
Mandapas. The most artistic point about the Mandapa is the display of the
paintings about the love story of Khamba-Thoibi.