Some of the important characteristics are given below:
i. The use of pillars for architectural as well as decorative purpose is on an unprecedented scale. The pillars and piers are very prominent in the architectural scheme of the temples. We find varied and ingenious designs of the pillars. The sculpture on pillars illustrated various myths and legends. Ornamented brackets from the part of pillar capitals. Horse was the most common animal on the pillars.
ii. Another distinguishing feature is the use of huge reverse curve eaves at the cornice. This feature has been borrowed into the style from the Deccan and gives the pavilions a dignified appearance.
iii. In terms of temple architecture, by this period certain new features were in evidence. Mandapa or open pavilion with a raised platform, meant for seating deities are common.
Two accessory structures : the Amman shrine and the Kalyanmandapa began to be considered indispensable elements apart from the garbhagriha and the Gopuram. Garbhagriha is central part of the temple where the presiding deity is installed.
The Amman shrine is a subsidiary temple, enshrining the consort of the chief deity of the garbhagriha.
The Kalyan mandapa, with elaborately carved pillars was basically an open pillared pavilion with an elevated platform in the centre.
It is an important characteristic of temples of the period since it was used for the exhibition of the images of deity and his consort on ceremonial occasions. The Kalyan mandapas were also meant to celebrate divine weddings.
iv. Gopurams or royal gateways of the period were huge structures and often dwarfed the towers on the central shrines, and signalled the presence of the temple from a great distance.
Gopurams, with their lavish figure ornamentation and forming huge entrances to temple enclosures, grew taller and more numerous.
v. The walls of the temple, at times, had painted scenes from the ‘Ramayana’ and the ‘Mahabharata’ many of the secular buildings of the period have Indo-Muslim features.
The Elephant Stables with a dome over each individual stall, and the Lotus Mahal with its cusped arches prove the point.
Example of Vijaynagar Art :
The remains of Vijaynagar show the past magnificence in architecture and sculpture. The Hindu resurgence is reflected in the large number of temples, built in Dravida style with some typical improvization. The best examples are the Hazara Rama Temple and the Vithalaswami temple.
The Hazara Rama Temple is modest but one of the most perfectly finished extent specimen of Hindu temple architecture.
The Vithalaswami temple (planned on a grandiose scale but never completed) shows the extreme limits in florid magnificence of the Vijaynagar style.
The Velour temple has the Kalyan mandapa in its richest and most beautiful form. Other examples are found at Kumbakonam, Kanchipuram, Srirangam, Rameswaram and Lepakshi.
At Lepakshi one notable structure is the Hall of Dance and the pillar decoration of the Virabhadra temple there shows the typical sculpture’s device of creating motif in which part of one object figure was incorporated into the design of another.
The literary evidences regarding the city of Vijaynagar and its palace are also very impressive (as large as Rome, seven concentric fortifications).
The Nayakas who rose on the fall of the Vijaynagar Empire furthered, the artistic traditions of Vijaynagar.