The Metaphysical Architecture of the Temple The basic plan of a Hindu temple is an expression of sacred geometry where the temple is visualized as a grand mandala. By sacred geometry we mean a science which has as its purpose the accurate laying out of the temple ground plan in relation to the cardinal directions and the heavens. Characteristically, a mandala is a sacred shape consisting of the intersection of a circle and a square. The square shape is symbolic of earth, signifying the four directions which bind and define it. Indeed, in Hindu thought whatever concerns terrestrial life is governed by the number four (four castes; the four Vedas etc.). Similarly, the circle is logically the perfect metaphor for heaven since it is a perfect shape, without beginning or end, signifying timelessness and eternity, a characteristically divine attribute. Thus a mandala (and by extension the temple) is the meeting ground of heaven and earth.
Rajaraja Cholan, The Great Chola King
RELIGIOUS INFLUENCE ON ARCHITECTURE: The Hindu religion played a vital part in the development of the Khmer temple. This religion became established in Cambodia by the second or third century and temples were built to honor Hindu gods.It was Jayavarman II (c. AD800 to AD850) who introduced the cult of devaraja into Cambodia, establishing the king as a representative of the Hindu god Siva. From this time temples were being built to honor both the god and the king. During the next two reigns, the practice of each new king building his own temple which became his tomb on his death, was firmly established.It was also Jayavarman II who made the first attempt at a [Map / pyramid temple], imitating the cosmic mountain of Hindu mythology, Mount Meru. This form would gradually evolve over the next 350 years to its most complex and brilliant creation, the Temple of [Map / Angkor Wat].
The Hoysala dynasty: 1000 A.D. to 1346 A.D. Founded by a tribal chief Nripa Kama, the dynasty is well remembered for the beautifully carved temples of Belur, Halebidu, Somanathapur, Shravanabelagola and others. Sandwiched between the Cholas to the south and the Badami Chalukyas in the north, Hoysala kings had a difficult time to keep their kingdom intact. But this did not affect their prosperity and administrative stability. Like most kings from Karnataka, Hoysalas were famous for their religious tolerance. They were also great patrons of art and culture. Intricately Carved Sculpture of a Dancer, Belur http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/deccan/hoysala/3344.htm