Hindu temple

Hindu temple

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A Mandir, Devalayam, Devasthanam, or a Hindu temple (Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

: देवालयः, Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

: கோயில் / கோவில், Telugu
Telugu language
Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

 :దేవాలయం, ,, Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

: मन्दिर, Gujarati
Gujarati language
Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. It is derived from a language called Old Gujarati which is the ancestor language of the modern Gujarati and Rajasthani languages...

: મંદિર, Konkani
Konkani language
KonkaniKonkani is a name given to a group of several cognate dialects spoken along the narrow strip of land called Konkan, on the west coast of India. This is, however, somewhat an over-generalisation. Geographically, Konkan is defined roughly as the area between the river Damanganga to the north...

:दॆवळ / दॆवस्थान, Marathi
Marathi language
Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people of western and central India. It is the official language of the state of Maharashtra. There are over 68 million fluent speakers worldwide. Marathi has the fourth largest number of native speakers in India and is the fifteenth most...

: देऊळ, Oriya
Oriya language
Oriya , officially Odia from November, 2011, is an Indian language, belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. It is mainly spoken in the Indian states of Orissa and West Bengal...

:ଦେଉଳ,ମଦିର, Bengali
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

: মন্দির, Malayalam: അമ്പലം, Punjabi
Punjabi language
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

: ਮੰਦਰ) is a place of worship
Place of worship
A place of worship or house of worship is an establishment or her location where a group of people comes to perform acts of religious study, honor, or devotion. The form and function of religious architecture has evolved over thousands of years for both changing beliefs and architectural style...

 for followers of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

. A characteristic of most temples is the presence of murti
Murti
In Hinduism, a murti , or murthi, or vigraha or pratima typically refers to an image which expresses a Divine Spirit . Meaning literally "embodiment", a murti is a representation of a divinity, made usually of stone, wood, or metal, which serves as a means through which a divinity may be worshiped...

s
(statues) of the Hindu deity to whom the temple is dedicated. They are usually dedicated to one primary deity, the presiding deity, and other deities associated with the main deity. However, some temples are dedicated to several deities, and others are dedicated to murtis in an aniconic form. Many temples are in key geographical points, such as a hill top, near waterfalls, caves and rivers, because some believe the Puranas mention that "the gods always play where groves are near rivers, mountains, and springs."

Nomenclature, orthography and etymology



Many Hindu temples are known by different names around the world, depending upon the language. The word mandir or mandiram is used in many languages and is derived from a Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 word, mandira, for 'house' (of a deity by implication). Temples are known as Mandir, Devasthanam, Kshetralayam, Punyakshetram, or Punyakshetralayam in Telugu
Telugu language
Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

, as Deula(ଦେଉଳ)/Mandira(ମଦିର) in Oriya
Oriya language
Oriya , officially Odia from November, 2011, is an Indian language, belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. It is mainly spoken in the Indian states of Orissa and West Bengal...

, Devastanam in Kannada  and Mondir (মন্দির) in Bengali
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

, as Kshatriya or Jambalaya in Malayalam. Temples are known as kō-ail (கோயில்) (and occasionally, especially in modern formal speech, Aalayam (ஆலயம்) in Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

. The etymology is from kō (கோ) or lord, and il (இல்) home. (Besides meaning a deity's home, this term could also mean a king
King
- Centers of population :* King, Ontario, CanadaIn USA:* King, Indiana* King, North Carolina* King, Lincoln County, Wisconsin* King, Waupaca County, Wisconsin* King County, Washington- Moving-image works :Television:...

's home, since the term kō (கோ) is used interchangeably for royalty and divinity.)

History



The oldest temples that were built of brick
Brick
A brick is a block of ceramic material used in masonry construction, usually laid using various kinds of mortar. It has been regarded as one of the longest lasting and strongest building materials used throughout history.-History:...

 and wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

 no longer exist. Stone
Dimension stone
Dimension stone is natural stone or rock that has been selected and fabricated to specific sizes or shapes. Color, texture and pattern, and surface finish of the stone are also normal requirements...

 later became the preferred material. Temples marked the transition of Hinduism from the Vedic religion of ritual sacrifice
Sacrifice
Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals or people to God or the gods as an act of propitiation or worship.While sacrifice often implies ritual killing, the term offering can be used for bloodless sacrifices of cereal food or artifacts...

s to a religion of Bhakti
Bhakti
In Hinduism Bhakti is religious devotion in the form of active involvement of a devotee in worship of the divine.Within monotheistic Hinduism, it is the love felt by the worshipper towards the personal God, a concept expressed in Hindu theology as Svayam Bhagavan.Bhakti can be used of either...

 or love and devotion to a personal deity.

Temple construction and mode of worship
Worship
Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. The word is derived from the Old English worthscipe, meaning worthiness or worth-ship — to give, at its simplest, worth to something, for example, Christian worship.Evelyn Underhill defines worship thus: "The absolute...

 is governed by ancient Sanskrit scriptures called agamas
Āgama (Hinduism)
Agama means, in the Hindu context, "a traditional doctrine, or system which commands faith".In Hinduism, the Agamas are a collection of Sanskrit scriptures which are revered and followed by millions of Hindus.-Significance:...

, of which there are several, which deal with individual deities. There are substantial differences in architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

, customs, ritual
Ritual
A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

s and traditions in temples in different parts of India.

During the ritual consecration
Consecration
Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word "consecration" literally means "to associate with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups...

 of a temple, the presence of the universal all-encompassing Brahman
Brahman
In Hinduism, Brahman is the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe. Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Absolute or Godhead which is the Divine Ground of all being...

 is invoked into the main stone deity of the temple, through ritual, thereby making the deity and the temple sacred and divine.

Architecture and alignment



Earth has its energy centres that correspond to universal data centres of life and awareness. The temple, through which contacts or relations are established among the states of being (humans, spirits, and gods), is thus a combination of the data of yoga, astrology, and sacred geography. In the temple structure, there are diagrams similar to the ones described for chakra
Chakra
Chakra is a concept originating in Hindu texts, featured in tantric and yogic traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Its name derives from the Sanskrit word for "wheel" or "turning" .Chakra is a concept referring to wheel-like vortices...

s according to yoga
Yoga
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...

 experience, with proportions similar to those deriving from the position of the stars, by which the influence can be explained. The characteristics of site and orientation are connected to the living structure of the Earth. The Hindu temple is thus not a place where the faithful may gather but a sacred building constructed to receive subtle influences.

Hindu temples are generally divided into four main architectural styles: the Dravida style of South India, the Nagara
Nagara
Nagara is a village in the Shimoga district of the state of Karnataka, India. It is 17 km from Hosanagara or 84 km from Shimoga. This was called "Bidanoor" earlier during the 16th century, this was the last capital city of Keladi rulers. In 1763, Hyder Ali captured this area...

 style of North India, the mixed Vesara
Vesara
Vesara is a type of Indian architecture primarily used in temples. The two other prominent styles are Dravida and Nagara. Vesara is a combination of these two temple styles.-Description:...

 style and the Kalinga architecture
Kalinga architecture
The Kaḷinga architectural style is a style which flourished in the ancient Kalinga region or present eastern Indian state of Orissa and northern Andhra Pradesh. The style consists of three distinct types of temples: Rekha Deula, Pidha Deula and Khakhara Deula...

 (i.e. the temple style of Orissa).

Altars



In Hinduism, altars generally contain pictures or statues of gods and goddesses. Large, ornate altars are found in Hindu temples while smaller altars are found in homes and sometimes also in Hindu-run shops and restaurants. The word for temple is mandir (san
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

: मन्दिर), the altar (and that which contains it, even an alcove or a small cabinet) as hypostatised temple.

In South Indian temples, often each god will have His or Her own shrine, each contained in a minitature house (specifically, a mandir). These shrines are often scattered around the temple compound, with the three main ones being in the main area. The statue of the God (murti
Murti
In Hinduism, a murti , or murthi, or vigraha or pratima typically refers to an image which expresses a Divine Spirit . Meaning literally "embodiment", a murti is a representation of a divinity, made usually of stone, wood, or metal, which serves as a means through which a divinity may be worshiped...

) is placed on a stone pedestal in the shrine, and one or more lamps are hung in the shrine. There is usually a space to put the puja tray (tray with worship offerings). Directly outside the main shrine there will be a statue of the god's vahana
Vahana
Vāhana denotes the being, typically an animal or mythical entity, a particular deva is said to use as a vehicle. In this capacity, the vāhana is often called the deity's mount. Upon the partnership between the deva and his vāhana is woven much iconography and mythology...

 or vehicle. The shrines have curtains hung over the entrances, and wooden doors which are shut when the Deities are sleeping. Some South Indian temples have one main altar, with several statues placed upon it.

North Indian temples generally have one main altar at the front of the temple room. In some temples, the front of the room is separated with walls and several altars are placed in the alcoves. The statues on the altars are usually in pairs, each god with his consort (Radha-Krishna, Sita-Rama, Shiva-Parvati). However, some gods, such as Ganesha and Hanuman, are placed alone. Ritual items such as flowers or lamps may be placed on the altar.

Shrines are usually made of wood and have tiled floors for statues to be placed upon. Pictures may be hung on the walls of the shrine. The top of the shrine may have a series of levels, like a gopuram
Gopuram
A Gopuram or Gopura, is a monumental tower, usually ornate, at the entrance of any temple, especially in Southern India. This forms a prominent feature of Koils, Hindu temples of the Dravidian style. They are topped by the kalasam, a bulbous stone finial...

 tower on a temple. Each Hindu altar will have at least one oil lamp
Oil lamp
An oil lamp is an object used to produce light continuously for a period of time using an oil-based fuel source. The use of oil lamps began thousands of years ago and is continued to this day....

 and may contain a tray with puja equipment as well.

Customs and etiquette


The customs and etiquette when visiting Hindu temples have a long history and are filled with symbolism
Hindu iconography
Over the millennia of its development Hinduism has adopted several iconic symbols, forming part of Hindu iconography, that are imbued with spiritual meaning based on either the scriptures or cultural traditions. The exact significance accorded to any of the icons varies with region, period and...

, solemn respect and veneration of Brahma's creation.

Worshipers in major temples typically bring in symbolic offerings for the prayer or 'puja'. This includes fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

s, flower
Flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

s, sweets and other symbols of the bounty of the natural world. Temples in India are usually surrounded by small stores called 'dukanam' (Telugu) or 'dukan' (Hindi) which offer them typically wrapped in organic containers such as banana leaves
Banana leaf
Banana leaf is the leaf of the Banana plant. It is used for various functions, such as for decorative elements, wrappings, plate mat, and employed in cooking method....

.

When inside the temple, it is typical to keep both hands folded together as a sign of respect. The inner sanctuary, where the murtis reside, is known as the garbhagruh
Garbhagriha
Garbhagriha or Garbha griha is the small unlit shrine of a Hindu temple.Garbhagriha or ' is a Sanskrit word meaning the interior of the sanctum sanctorum, the innermost sanctum of a Hindu temple where resides the murti of the primary deity of the temple...

. It symbolizes the birthplace of the universe, the meeting place of the gods and mankind, and "the threshold between the transcendental and the phenomenal worlds." It is in this inner shrine that devotees offer prayers and salutations to the presiding deities. Devotees may or may not be able to personally present their offerings at the feet of the deity. In most South Indian temples, only the pujari
Pujari
Pujari means one who does the Puja of the idol of God physically in Hindu temples as a priest. Pujaris are also called archaka. Pujaris learn and chant hymns dedicated to God, generally in Sanskrit. Pujaris are mainly drawn from the Hindu Brahmin caste.-Pujaris as counselors:Throughout India,...

s
are allowed to enter into the garbhagruh. In North Indian temples, however, it is more common for devotees to be allowed entrance.

The mantras spoken are typically "Om Namo Narayana
Narayana
Narayana or Narayan or Naraina is an important Sanskrit name for Vishnu, and in many contemporary vernaculars a common Indian name. Narayana is also identified as the original man, Purusha. The Puranas present divergent views on Narayana...

" or "Om Namah Shivaya" which mean "Obeisance to Narayana (vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

)" or "Salutations to Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

". These are followed by a series of shloka
Shloka
A ' is a category of verse line developed from the Vedic Anuṣṭubh. It is the basis for Indian Epic verse, and may be considered the Indian verse form par excellence, occurring, as it does, far more frequently than any other meter in classical Sanskrit poetry. The Mahabharata and Ramayana, for...

s or verse
Verse (poetry)
A verse is formally a single line in a metrical composition, e.g. poetry. However, the word has come to represent any division or grouping of words in such a composition, which traditionally had been referred to as a stanza....

s from the holy texts such as the Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
The ' , also more simply known as Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, but is frequently treated as a freestanding text, and in particular, as an Upanishad in its own right, one of the several books that constitute general Vedic tradition...

, Upanishads or Vedas
Vedas
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

. Upon the conclusion of prayer
Prayer in Hinduism
Prayer or worship is considered to be an integral part of the Hindu religion. The chanting of mantras is the most popular form of worship in Hinduism. Yoga and meditation are also considered as a form of devotional service towards the Lord...

, devotees get down on their knees or even fall flat on their stomach and bow before the symbol of the deity. If a priest or 'Pujari' is present, he is likely to provide sacred symbolically blessed food called 'prasad' to the devotee. He may also apply a holy red mark called 'tilak' to the forehead of the devotee symbolising blessings.

Finally the worshiper or visitor walks clockwise around the sanctum sanctorum, stop once on each side, close their eyes and pray to the All Loving Being. The worshiper may receive a sprinkling of the water from the holy river Ganges while the 'pujari' states "Om Shanti" which means "peace be unto all".

During religious holiday
Holiday
A Holiday is a day designated as having special significance for which individuals, a government, or a religious group have deemed that observance is warranted. It is generally an official or unofficial observance of religious, national, or cultural significance, often accompanied by celebrations...

s, temples may be swarmed with devotees chanting and praying loudly. There may be facilitators called 'paandaas' who help visitors navigate through the crowds and complete the 'puja' or prayer rituals quickly.

Temple management staff typically announce the hours of operation, including timings for special 'pujas'. These timings, due to the vast diversity in Hinduism, vary from temple to temple. For example, some temples may perform aarti
Aarti
Aarti , also spelled arathi, aarthi is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a form of puja, in which light from wicks soaked in ghee or camphor is offered to one or more deities...

 once or twice per day, while other temples, such as those part of Swaminarayan movement, may perform aarti
Aarti
Aarti , also spelled arathi, aarthi is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a form of puja, in which light from wicks soaked in ghee or camphor is offered to one or more deities...

 five times per day. Additionally, there may be specially allotted times for devotees to perform circumambulations (or pradakshina
Pradakshina
Pradakshina or Pradakshinam , meaning circumambulation, consists of walking around in a 'circle' as a form of worship in Hindu ceremonies in India. The devotees walk around the sanctum sanctorum, the innermost chamber of the shrine housing the temple deity. It is done around sacred fire , trees and...

) around the outside of the temple. There are also timings for devotional song
Devotional song
A devotional song is a hymn which accompanies religious observances and rituals.Each major religion has its own tradition with devotional hymns. In the West, the devotional has been a part of the liturgy in Roman Catholicism, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, and others, since...

s or music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

 called bhajan
Bhajan
A Bhajan is any type of Indian devotional song. It has no fixed form: it may be as simple as a mantra or kirtan or as sophisticated as the dhrupad or kriti with music based on classical ragas and talas. It is normally lyrical, expressing love for the Divine...

s, which are accompanied by a dholak
Dholak
The Dholak is a North Indian, Pakistani and Nepalese double-headed hand-drum Madal. The name dholki may also refer to a slightly different instrument that uses high-pitch tabla style syahi masala on its treble skin. This instrument is also known as Naal or Dholki....

 or tabla
Tabla
The tabla is a popular Indian percussion instrument used in Hindustani classical music and in popular and devotional music of the Indian subcontinent. The instrument consists of a pair of hand drums of contrasting sizes and timbres...

 soloist and/or harmonium
Harmonium
A harmonium is a free-standing keyboard instrument similar to a reed organ. Sound is produced by air being blown through sets of free reeds, resulting in a sound similar to that of an accordion...

 soloist. There are dates and times for devotional dances such as the classical Bharata Natyam dance performed by accomplished performers.

Visitors and worshipers to Hindu temples are required to remove shoes and other footwear before entering. Most temples have an area designated to store footwear. Additionally, it may be customary, particularly at South Indian temples, for men to remove shirts and to cover pants and shorts with a traditional cloth known as a Vasthiram.

The Hindu religion teaches that all life-forms are created by Brahma and that humankind needs to share the world with the animal kingdom. It is common to see stray dogs, cows, monkeys, and birds congregated at temples.

North Indian temples


Most ordinary temples in North Indian rituals are very simple in stark contrast to South Indian temples which have elaborate rituals. Also North Indian temples often tend to be less orthodox and in many cases everybody are permitted to enter the innermost sanctum of the deity and worship the deity personally. In such cases, the deity is not adorned with valuable jewelry.
The innermost heart of the temple is the sanctum where the deity (usually of fixed stone) is present, followed by a large hall for lay worshipers to stand in and obtain "darshan" or divine audience. There may or may not be many more surrounding corridors, halls etc. However there will be space for devotees to go around the temple in clock wise fashion circumambulation as a mark of respect. In North Indian temples, the tallest towers are built over the sanctum sanctorum.

One example of a type of more elaborate North Indian temple is the style of temple known as the Shikharbaddha Mandir found in Northern and Western India, and particularly famous in the Swaminarayan Hindu tradition. These temples have towers, or shikharas, built over the sanctum sanctorum, in which the deity is installed.

South Indian temples



Many large bannabs (grand stone temples) still stand in South India. Ritual tends to be orthodox and elaborate especially in the large vedic brahmincal temples, which follow the pan-Indian Sanskrit agama scriptural traditions. Apart from the main fixed stone deities, processional deities made of panchaloha (an alloy of gold, silver, copper, zinc and tin) are bathed, dressed, decorated with valuables and taken out in processions for festivals throughout the year. The richer the temple, the more elaborate the festivals. However, many ancient temples in small villages with great architectural and historical heritage value languish for lack of funds for maintenance.

Famous South Indian temples are Lord Sri Venkateshwara Temple, Tirumala
Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams
Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams also referred as TTD is an independent trust which manages the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple at Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh...

 Tirupati temple, Andhra; Mookambi temple, Karnataka; Chennakesava
Chennakesava Temple
The Chennakesava Temple originally called Vijayanarayana Temple was built on the banks of the Yagachi River in Belur, an early capital of the Hoysala Empire. Belur is 40 km from Hassan city and 220 km from Bangalore, in Hassan district of Karnataka state, India. Chennakesava literally...

 temple, Belur (Karnataka); Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Kerala; Sabarimala temple, Kerala; Guruvayoor temples, Kerala; Kodungallor temple, Kerala; Anikkattilammakshethram
Anikkattilammakshethram
Anikkattilammakshethram is a temple situated at Anicadu Village, 3.5 km from Mallappally in Pathanamthitta district in the southern part of Kerala, India. Adiparasakthi Sivan and Parvathi are given equal status in the temple. Agnimahakalan and Agniyekshi are symbolized by these idols. Each...

, kerala; Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari is a town in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. It is also sometimes referred to as Cape Comorin. Located at the southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula, it is the geographical end of the Indian mainland. The district in Tamil Nadu where the town is located is called Kanyakumari...

 temple, Tamil Nadu (TN); Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple
Meenakshi Amman Temple
Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple or Tiru-alavai is a historic Hindu temple located in the south side of river Vaigai in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India...

, Tamil Nadu; Srirangam
Srirangam
Srirangam , Old name is Vellithirumutha gramam and Tamil name is Thiruvarangam , is an island and a part of the city of Tiruchirapalli , in South India....

 Ranganathar temple and Thiruvanaikaval
Thiruvanaikaval
Thiruvanaikaval is a famous Shiva temple in Tiruchirapalli , located in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The temple was built by Kocengannan , one of the Early Cholas, around 1,800 years ago...

 temple of Tiruchi, TN; Golden Temple of Sripuram
Sripuram
The golden temple of Sripuram is a spiritual park situated at the foot of a small range of green hills in a place known as "Malaikodi" in the city of Vellore in Tamil Nadu, India...

, TN; Brihadeshwara temple, Thanjavur, TN; oldest temples such as Kailasanathar
Kailasanathar Temple
The Kailasanath temple is the oldest temple of Kanchipuram, located in Tamil Nadu, India. It is Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Siva and known for its historical presence...

temple, Varatharajaperumal temple, Kamakshi temple and Ekambareshwarar
Ekambareswarar Temple
Ekambareswarar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in Kanchipuram in the state of Tamil Nadu, India.It is one of the five major Shiva temples or Pancha Bootha Sthalams representing the element - Earth...

 temple of Kanchipuram, TN; Thirukadiyur Abirami temple, TN; Andal temple, Srivilliputhur
Srivilliputhur
Srivilliputhur is a semi-urban town and a municipality in Virudhunagar district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu....

, TN; Natarajar
Chidambaram Temple
Thillai Natarajah Temple, Chidambaram is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in the town of Chidambaram, East-Central Tamil Nadu, South India. The temple is known as the foremost of all temples to Saivites and has influenced worship, architecture, sculpture and performance art for over two...

 temple, Chidambaram, TN; Kumbeshwara, Kumbakonam, TN; Thiruvannaamalai temple, Tamil Nadu; Palani temple, Tamil Nadu; Kodungallor temple, Kerala; Chettikulangara Devi temple
Chettikulangara Devi Temple
Chettikulangara Sree Bhagavathi temple is one of the most renowned temples in Kerala. The temple is located at Chettikulangara in Mavelikkara taluk of Alappuzha district in the south Indian state of Kerala...

, Kerala; Aranmula Parthasarathy temple, Kerala; Tripunithura sree Poornathrayesa, Kerala.

Temples in Orissa



Temples often greatly vary in their appearance, rituals, traditions, festivals and customs from region to region. Temples in eastern state of Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

 and Western India also have their distinctions. In the south, Kerala temples are very different from temples in the other three states.
The most world famous temples i.e. Jagannath temple
Jagannath Temple
-India:*Jagannath Temple, Puri, Orissa, India*Jagannath Temple, Koraput, Orissa, India*Jagannath Temple, Baripada, Mayurbhanj, Orissa, India*Jagannath Temple, Nayagarh, Orissa, India*Jagannath Temple, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India*Jagannath Temple, Delhi, India...

 at Puri, Sun temple at Konark, Lingaraj temple
Lingaraj Temple
Lingaraj Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Harihara, another name for Shiva and is one of the oldest temples of Bhubaneswar, a revered pilgrimage center and the capital of the state of Orissa, India....

 at Bhubaneswar are found in Orissa. These temples are over 1200 years old. In Bhubaneswar, around 10,000 temples are present which represents strong Hindusim in Orissa.

Temples of Goa and other Konkani temples



The temple architecture of Goa is quite unique. As part of Inquisition of Goa
Goa Inquisition
The Goa Inquisition was the office of the Inquisition acting in the Indian state of Goa and the rest of the Portuguese empire in Asia. It was established in 1560, briefly suppressed from 1774–1778, and finally abolished in 1812. The Goan Inquisition is considered a blot on the history of...

, the Portuguese demolished more than 1000 temples on Island of Goa. New temples were later built in the areas in Goa which were not parts of Portuguese kingdom, and were under reign of Hindu princely states. Thus these temples are not more than 500 years old, and are a unique blend of original Goan temple architecture, Dravidian, Nagar and Hemadpanti temple styles with some Islamic and Portuguese architectural influences.Goan temples were built using sedimentary rocks,wood,limestone and clay tiles as well as copper sheets were used for the roofs.These temples were decorated with mural art called as Kavi kala or ocher art.The interiors were decorated with such murals as well as exquisite wood carvings depicting scenes from the Hindu mythology
Hindu mythology
Hindu religious literature is the large body of traditional narratives related to Hinduism, notably as contained in Sanskrit literature, such as the Sanskrit epics and the Puranas. As such, it is a subset of Nepali and Indian culture...

.

Temples in West Bengal and Bangaladesh


In West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

 and Bangaladesh, temple architecture has assumed a unique identity and evolved into the Bengali terra cotta temple architecture. Due to lack of suitable stone in the alluvial Gangetic delta, the temple makers had to resort to other materials instead of stone. This gave rise to using terra cotta
Terra cotta
Terracotta, Terra cotta or Terra-cotta is a clay-based unglazed ceramic, although the term can also be applied to glazed ceramics where the fired body is porous and red in color...

 as a medium for temple construction. Terra-cotta exteriors with rich carvings are a unique feature of Bengali temples. The town of Vishnupur in West Bengal is renowned for this type of architecture.

Usually a part of the intended total motif was carved by hand on one side of a brick and then baked. While under construction, these carved bricks were arranged to make up the entire motif.

The Bengali style of temple is not luxurious. Rather, most are modeled on simple thatched-roof earthen huts used as dwellings by commoners. This can be attributed to the popularity of bhakti
Bhakti
In Hinduism Bhakti is religious devotion in the form of active involvement of a devotee in worship of the divine.Within monotheistic Hinduism, it is the love felt by the worshipper towards the personal God, a concept expressed in Hindu theology as Svayam Bhagavan.Bhakti can be used of either...

 cults which taught people to view gods as close to themselves. Thus, various styles like do-chala, char-chala, and aat-chala sprang up. However, there is also a popular style of building known as Navaratna
Navaratna
Navaratna is literally a Sanskrit compound word meaning "nine gems".-Royal setting:The ancient origin of the 9 Gems—called Navaratna in Sanskrit, Hindi, Burmese, Indonesian, and Nepalese, Navarathinam in Tamil, Navarathnalu in Telugu,Navarathnam in Malayalam, Navaratne in Singhalese, Nopparat in...

 (nine-towered) or Pancharatna (five-towered) in Bengal which is more luxurious than the Chala buildings. A typical example of Navaratna style is the Dakshineswar Kali Temple
Dakshineswar Kali Temple
The Dakshineswar Kali Temple is a Hindu temple located in Dakshineswar near Kolkata. Situated on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, the presiding deity of the temple is Bhavatarini, an aspect of Kali, meaning, 'She who liberates Her devotees from the ocean of existence i.e Saṃsāra'...

.

Hindu Temples outside South Asia


Many members of the South Asian diaspora have established Hindu mandirs outside India as a means of preserving and celebrating cultural and spiritual heritage abroad. Describing the hundreds of mandirs that can be found throughout the United States, scholar Gail M. Harley observes, “The temples serve as central locations where Hindus can come together to worship during holy festivals and socialize with other Hindus. Temples in America reflect the colorful kaleidoscopic aspects contained in Hinduism while unifying people who are disbursed throughout the American landscape.”

Numerous mandirs in North America and Europe have gained particular prominence and acclaim. The Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple
Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple (Spanish Fork)
The Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah was built to meet the needs of the Hindu community in Utah County, Utah. The temple hosts seasonal festivals, weddings, receptions, and other weekly services for prayer and meditation.- History :...

 in Utah, for example, attracts thousands of visitors each year for a variety of cultural and religious events. The B.A.P.S.
BAPS
Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha , often abbreviated as BAPS , is a major organization within the Swaminarayan sect of Hinduism...

 organization has built over sixty mandirs in North America, as well as numerous temples in Europe. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir London, for example, has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest traditional Hindu temple outside India, and has been constructed according to Vedic architectural standards. The temples constructed in this traditional style of temple architecture are known as Shikharbaddha Mandirs.
Another example of a Swaminarayan Shikharbaddha Mandir is the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Toronto
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Toronto
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Toronto is a Hindu temple in Toronto, Ontario, opened on July 22, 2007 by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS. Also in attendance at the ceremony were Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Federal Opposition Leader...

, which is the largest Hindu temple in Canada.

Temples in Indonesia



Hindu temples of ancient Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, bear resemblances with temples of South Indian style. However later ancient Javanese art and architecture developed its own style. The fine example of 9th century Javanese Hindu temple is the towering Trimurti
Trimurti
The Trimurti is a concept in Hinduism "in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahmā the creator, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver, and Śhiva the destroyer or transformer," These three deities have been called "the Hindu triad" or...

 temple of Prambanan
Prambanan
Prambanan is a ninth century Hindu temple compound in Central Java, Indonesia, dedicated to the Trimurti, the expression of God as the Creator , the Sustainer and the Destroyer...

 in Yogyakarta.
In Bali
Bali
Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east...

, unlike the common towering indoor India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n Hindu temple, Pura (Balinese temple)
Pura (Balinese temple)
A pura is a Balinese Hindu temple. and the place of worship for the adherents of Balinese Hinduism in Indonesia. Most of the puras are found on the island of Bali, as Hinduism is the predominant religion in the island; however many puras exist in other parts of Indonesia where there are significant...

 is designed as an open-air worship place within enclosed walls, connected with series of intricately decorated gates to reach its compounds. The design, plan and layout of the holy pura is followed the "Trimandala" concept, three mandala
Mandala
Maṇḍala is a Sanskrit word that means "circle". In the Buddhist and Hindu religious traditions their sacred art often takes a mandala form. The basic form of most Hindu and Buddhist mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point...

 zone arranged according to the hierarchy of its sacredness.

Temple Management and erosion of Autonomy by control of states and Law



The Archeological Survey of India has control of most ancient temples of archaeological importance in India.

In India, theoretically, a temple is managed by a temple board committee
Committee
A committee is a type of small deliberative assembly that is usually intended to remain subordinate to another, larger deliberative assembly—which when organized so that action on committee requires a vote by all its entitled members, is called the "Committee of the Whole"...

 that administers its finance
Finance
"Finance" is often defined simply as the management of money or “funds” management Modern finance, however, is a family of business activity that includes the origination, marketing, and management of cash and money surrogates through a variety of capital accounts, instruments, and markets created...

s, management and events.

However since independence, the autonomy of individual Hindu religious denominations to manage their own affairs with respect to temples of their own denomination have been severely eroded. State governments of many states in India (and especially all the states in South India) have gradually increased their control over all Hindu temples. Over decades, by enacting various laws which have been fought both successfully and unsuccessfully up to the Supreme court of India, politicians of the ruling parties especially in the southern states control every aspect of temple management and functioning.

See also


  • Hindu temple architecture
    Hindu temple architecture
    India's temple architecture developed from the sthapathis' and shilpis' creativit, but n general these are from the Vishwakarma . A small Hindu temple consists of an inner sanctum, the garbha griha or womb-chamber, in which the image is housed, often circumambulation, a congregation hall, and...

  • List of Hindu temples
  • List of Hindu deities
  • Altar (section Hinduism)