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Hindu Temple Architecture

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  • danw888
    Here are a couple of references to studies of Hindu Temple Architecture taken from a list on Vaishnava studies Dan What Sri Rengarajan brought out with great
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2004
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      Here are a couple of references to studies of Hindu Temple
      Architecture taken from a list on Vaishnava studies

      Dan


      What Sri Rengarajan brought out with great affection is the aspect of
      the Hindu temple , its meaning and forms. Two references might be of
      interest
      to some of you ,who want to follow up on this subject. One is an
      excellent
      monograph by George Mitchell entitled " The Hindu Temple, An
      Introduction
      to its meaning and Forms". It was published in 1977 by B.I.
      Publications
      of Bombay and London. Part one deals with the meaning of the Hindu
      Temple.
      Part 2 with the forms of the temples of India and thier derivatives
      in S.E.
      Asia.

      Part 1 has the following 4 chapters:

      1. The Civilization of Hinduism
      2.The World of Gods
      3.The World of Man
      4.The temple as a link between Gods and Men

      In the first chapter, the author puts Hinduism and temple worship in
      perspective this way: "It is unimaginable in Hinduism that any
      activity,
      impulse or process can be without some divine potential. Hinduism
      spans
      the complete spectrum of Indian culture from the everyday
      agricultural life
      of the village to the transcendental speculations of the philosopher.
      At its most rarified and abstract level,Hindu thought dismisses the
      world as
      illusory;
      it aims at breaking through this illusion to discover an ultimate
      reality
      beyond.The temple reflects this range of Hinduism and is much more
      than a
      mere setting for the practises associated with cetain beliefs; it is
      imbued
      with a complex system of symbolism by which it embodies the most
      elevated
      notions of Hindu philosophy while still serving the requirements of
      everyday
      religious life. It is, therefore, an expression both of Hindu Society
      and
      of the most profound levels of Hindu Civilization."

      In the second chapter, the discussion is on the World of Gods. Here ,
      the author discusses Time and Universe and states that in Hinduism,
      "the activities of the Gods and the lives of human beinngs are linked
      together
      in a
      continum in which time is conceived as a cyclical system." The
      approach to
      the
      sanctuary and the circumambulation in a clockwise direction and the
      outward
      radiation of Energy from the Center of the sanctuary(Garbha Graham )
      are
      covered in the Second chapter. The cosmology of the temple plan in
      the form
      of a sacred geometric diagram(Mandala) is brought out nicely by Sri
      Rengarajan.
      The mandala in the Hindu temple construction terms is recognized
      generally
      as a square divided into number of smaller squares by an intersecting
      grid
      of lines to represent the microscopic image of the Universe(s) with
      its(their)
      concentrically organized structure. A symbolic connection is
      created , binding
      together
      the world of Gods-the universe and its miniature construction thru
      the work
      of man-the temple. The Mahapurusha or the Cosmic Purusha of the
      Purusha
      Sookta is centered in the Garbha Graha of the Mandala. Sri Ranganatha
      is
      at he epicenter of the Srirangam temple as the Maha Purusha
      representing the
      above principles. The sacred Mathematics of the Temple architects is
      outlined
      in classical texts such as Shukranatisara.

      The second reference on the architecture of the Hindu temple and the
      intricacies
      found
      therein are the subject of a scholarly study by Professor Dennis
      Hudson
      of Smith College.It appeared few months ago in an issue
      of the Journal of Sri Vaishnava studies(summer 95 Issue) dedicated to
      Vaishnava Temples. The title of Dr. Hudson's article is:
      "The Srimad Bhagavata Purana in Stone: The text as an Eigth century
      Temple
      and its implications".He has studied the temple built by Nandi
      Varman II in
      the 8th century.This king is also the builder of the Kesava Perumal
      temple,
      where Kuresa worshipped.In his brilliant study on the Esoteric and
      Exoteric
      aspects of the subject, he identifies the correlation between
      Bhagavatham and
      the carved panels adorning the sanctuary of this temple. It is a
      treat to read
      and digest this wealth of information provided by Professor Hudson.
      He connects
      the
      temple panelsto the subject matter of the different cantos of
      Bhagavatam and
      specific chapters of Bhagavad Gita and Paancharaatra Agamam.

      V,Sadagopan
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