Theory of Indian Temple Architecture & Hindu Vastushastra
A house is designed considering the requirements of the person staying in it. Similarly a temple needs to be designed according to comfort of its resident, the main God, other Deities along with him and devotees. Being the residence of almighty, a temple has deep-rooted religious feelings attached to it; hence every corner has to be designed with extra care. The Hindu scripter, ancient saints have deep study of the five main aspects (Abhutas) of the universe. They are 1) Sky (Brahmand) 2) Fire (Agni, the Sun) 3) Air 4) The Earth (Prithvi) and 5) Water.
They had no binoculars, but they had detailed knowledge of the constellation of stars (Nakshatras), Directions (Disha) and their effects on whole world and even on each human being. These Saints have detailed guide lines for designing every corner of the temple along with religious as well as scientific explanation for the same.
It starts with main deity for whom temple is made. The direction of where the main entrance varies from deity to deity. East side direction entrance is best for most of the deities. Second choice is west or north, but not south. Gods like Shree Kali Mata prefers south side entrance only. Shree Hanuman, (a son of Air) has no problem with any direction. He will be more powerful at facing south direction. Not even the entrance but the size of temple depends on constellation of stars (Nakshatra) at particular direction. And depending on that, there is list of permissible sizes of the temple specified by the Vastu Shastra. Every Nakshatra has different list of sizes. The sizes are given in ancient units, which can be converted in to feet (British System) easily. It can be converted again in meters (metric system). It also decides sizes of rooms of all deities (Garbha Griha), heights / sizes of plinth, columns, slabs, Parikrama and even square area of the temple. We still have our associate gurus (guides) who give us all the supporting information and guidance.
It is always protected by all main four deities of the four directions as follows-
1) Shree Indra (king of Gods) at East,
2) Shree Varuna (God of rain, water) at west,
3) Shree Kubera (God of wealth) at north
4) Shree Yama (God of death) at south.
Besides giving the temple a typical look, the style of providing offsets to walls and domes (Shikhara) have structural advantage. It gives support to tall dome which can stand for long period even during earth quake. The angles, sizes and proportions of these offsets are also specified. There are many aspects like these in Temple Vastu Shastra which are written in various ancient Granthas (Ancient holy books of Hindu religion) separately. We better follow these aspects while designing a temple for every deity.