The fertile region of Fatehpur is dotted with exquisite examples of 4th to 8th century brickwork. The temples of Tenduli, Sarahan Buzurg, Thithaura and Korari have the most exemplary ornate bricks that is testimony to the technical proficiency and craftsmanship of the artisans of the post-Gupta period.
Located to the south bank of an old pond is the ancient temple complex of Korari, said to be the earliest brick creations in this region built in the Nagara style with the typical Latina shikhara. This temple complex originally had five temples of which three have been completely destroyed and fragments of their foundations are seen while two have been restored by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and are remarkably preserved.
The richly decorated external facades with its repetitive motifs and elaborately designed bricks on each side curving slightly inwards to the top are mesmerizing to say the least and affirms the ingenuity of the artisans.
The most interesting feature of Temples 1 and 2 is the square sanctum sanctorum enclosed within a hexadecagon (sixteen-sided polygon or 16-gon). It is to be noted that this has been built exactly as per the tenets of the Hindu scriptures. There are no idols consecrated in the sanctum sanctorum though there are some broken sculptures kept here as well as neatly outside the temples.
The Latina shikhara has been built over the roof of the sanctum sanctorum with a hollow chamber in between to reduce the weight on the walls. Interestingly, both the temples lean about 4 degrees about their own axes.
The temples at Korari most likely were built by the the Guptas though some historians opine that it is the work of the Pratiharas of Kannauj as a sizeable number of their architectural masterpieces have survived the ravages of the weather and time in the Ganga-Yamuna Doab.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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