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gopura

in South Indian architecture, the entrance gateway to the Hindu temple enclosure. Relatively small in the earlier period, the gopuras grew in size from the mid-12th century until the colossal gateways came to dominate the temple complex, quite surpassing the main sanctum for architectural elaboration. Often a series of gopuras are to be found at a shrine, each providing entry through a new enclosure wall.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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