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Temples of Brindavan
The series of Brahmanical structures at Brindavan in the state of Uttar Pradesh, about six miles from Mathura, are of a much later medieval date. The town of Brindavan (a.k.a Brindaban and Vrindavan) is associated with Lord Krishna, for it is believed to have been the scene of his most notable exploits. Almost all the temples are built of red sandstone ľ a highly localized architectural idiom. Most of them were built towards the end of the 16th century or the beginning of 17th century, at the behest of Hindu princes who allied themselves with the Mogul emperor Akbar and were followers of Chaitanya, the great preacher of the Vaishnava faith. The most important is Govind-Deva, built in 1590 A.D. by Raja Man Singh of Amber (now in Rajasthan). Only the spacious cruciform mahamandapa remains, for the rest of the building was completely destroyed during the reign of Aurangjeb. The mahamandapa has an elevation of several stories and contains open arcades and a vaulted dome composed of intersecting, pointed arches. The design the Govind-Deva temple, with its accentuated angles and openings, is an innovation in the field of temple architecture. The constructional plan of the roof of the mandapa has been adopted from contemporary mosques, and is evidence of Muslim influence on Hindu craftsmen. The complete absence of figured sculptures and decorations on the walls, which bear distinct Islamic touches, signify the change that had taken place in the political and religious set-up. The temple of Jugal Kishore, of which only the shrine and the ardha-mandapa have survived, is next in importance. This shrine is octagonal in plan and has a rectangular assembly hall attached to one of its sides. The most distinctive feature, however, is the shikhara, which tapers into a conical tower, with a ponderous amalasila or finial at the apex. The other notable temples at Brindaban are the Madanmohan, the Gopinath and the Radhaballabh.
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