Throughout the history Indians were tend to subtract or carve spaces into rocks than to built them from zero. So that, in time subtraction took the basis of their architectural intention and put forward a relation between man-made and natural elements in which the natural elements and topography used as materials or design problems. Since their structure relied on what nature provided, the inclusion of columns were needed to strengthen the structure. In the time of Gupta India they made great cave monasteries, rock-cut temples carved from single masses and the first significant masonry temples built like pyramids over small sanctuaries.
The beliefs in India have multiplied, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism etc. This let pilgrimage shrines and relics to gain greater importance than political centers. Buddhists commissioned chaitya halls (a Buddhist prayer hall with a stupa at one end, resembles early Christian basilicas in plan due to its axiality and columns around the hall) and monasteries but only few were built in permanent materials. Caves at Bhaja are one of the earliest examples. They combined wooden tradition with stone architecture. One entered this chaitya hall from an horse-shoe arched entry (known as gavakshas similar to those used in Islamic culture) and upper level of interior was carved like a barrel vault. At the end there stood a cylindrical pedestal. Another example is Karli caves, differing from Bhaja temples designers combined stone with wooden details around clerestory windows and door. Sculpted animal figures stood as the guardians of the temple.
Post-Gupta Dravidian Temples
After the fall of Gupta dynasty because of the Hun invasions, Chalukya dynasty emerge as the new power. Works of this era showed the evolution of rock-cut temples to constructed ones. The Durga temple has an oblong form with rounded corners. It’s plan derived from chaityas but this time it was not a structure carved into stone cliffs but constructed. Designers raised a pyramidal tower, using thin, horizontal layers.
The Dravidian temple architecture appeared intrinsically sculptural, developed from rock-cut caves into mounded piles. The temples at Mahabalipuram indicated the transition from carved out monolithic works to masonry structures built of joined stones. The Pandava ratha at Mahabalipuram included five buildings surrounded by rectangular walls. Four of the temples had a linear organisation each carved out from a single stone but looked like they had been built from pieces. They were among the first structural temples built in durable materials in this region.