Tuesday December 11, 2018

13 Beautiful Ancient Temples in India showcase Architectural Brilliance

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Brihadeeswarar Temple, Wikimedia
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Here is the list of 13 Ancient Temples In India

New Delhi, March 29, 2017: In ancient times, the temples were social hubs where people used to assemble. They served as the centres of imparting skills and arts of dance, music and combat to subsequent generations. Today, the following temples are reminiscent of our past and craftsmen’s architectural brilliance in those days.

1. Brihadeshwara Temple, Tanjore, Tamil Nadu

This temple was dedicated to Shiva and is the magnum opus of Dravidian art. It was built by King Rajaraja Chola in 1002 AD.In ancient days, Thanjavur known as “The rice bowl of Tamil Nadu,” was an important city to the ancient Cholas. The Brihadeshwara temple amalgamates the best in the tradition of temple building – architecture, sculpture, painting and other allied arts. It is composed of many interconnected structures such as the Nandi pavilion, a pillared portico and a large hall. Its vimana (the roof like structure that towers above the sanctum sanctorum or main shrine) is 66 metres high.

2. Kailashnath Temple, Ellora

This was built as a dedication to Lord Shiva, the destroyer. It is symbolised as the Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva. It is a tribute to man’s greatness, even though academia have not given it its due place in our school history syllabus. It was carved in immaculate proportion and alignment to its adjacent structures, which include columns, flying bridges, stone arches, and statues and buildings – all made out of a single piece of rock.

3. Chennakeshava Temple, Karnataka

Situated on the banks of the Yagachi river, this temple was an early masterpiece of the Hoysala Period. It was built in Belur, the capital of Hoysala kingdom. It was built by the Vijayanagara ruler to commemorate their victory over the Cholas and is solely dedicated to Vishnu as most of the figural carvings depict aspects of Vishnu, particularly the incarnations and the God seated with Lakshmi. Currently, Belur has been proposed as UNESCO world heritage site for its beautiful 10th century temples.

4. Tungnath Temple, Uttarakhand

At an elevation of 3680 metres above sea level, the Tugnath Temple is the highest elevated of the Panch Kedar, the others are Madhyamaheshwar, Kedarnath, Rudranath and Kalpeshwar. The temple is connected to the Ramayana where Lord Ram meditated to release the curse of Brahmahatya for having exterminated Ravana. The temple is quite small, and hence only 10 people are allowed in at a time. March to October, excluding the summer months of June to September, Tungnath temple best serves the tourists with natural beauty along with religious favor.

5. Adi Kumbeswarar, Tamil Nadu

Located in the temple town of India, Kumbhakonam, this temple dates back to the Vijaynagara period. Adi Kumbeswarar is the presiding deity of the temple and the shrine is located in the centre. Kumbeswarar is in the form a lingam believed to have been made by Shiva himself when he mixed the nectar of immortality and sand. The popular Hindu festival of Mahamaham is associated with this temple.

6. Jagatpita Brahma Mandir, Rajasthan

Although the structure of this temple dates back to the 14th century, this temple is said to be 2000 years old. The temple is mainly built of marble and stone slabs. It has a distinct red pinnacle and a bird motif. The temple sanctum sanctorum holds the central images of Brahma and his second consort Gayatri. It witnesses a festival dedicated to Brahma during the Kartik Purnima.

6. Jagatpita Brahma Mandir or Brahma Temple, Rajasthan

Although the edifice of this temple dates back to the 14th century, this temple is said to be 2000 years old. The temple is mainly built of marble and stone slabs. It possesses a distinct red pinnacle and a bird motif. The temple sanctum sanctorum holds the central images of Brahma and his second consort Gayatri. It witnesses a festival dedicated to Brahma during the Kartik Purnima.

8. Konark Sun Temple, Odisha

This temple was built by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty around AD 1250. This colossal temple is dedicated to Sun God. The name Konark is derived form the words Kona – Corner and Arka – Sun. The temple is in the shape of a gigantic chariot with elaborately carved stone wheels, pillars and walls. A major part of the structure is now in ruins. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

9. Dilwara Temples near Mount Abu, Rajasthan

Located about 2.5 km from Mount Abu, each of these five temples are unique in their own way and were built between the 11th and 13th century AD and are remarkable for their niches and carvings on marble. These five temples (Vimal Vasahi, Luna Vasahi, Pittalhar Temple, Parshvanatha Temple and Mahavir Swami Temple) are considered the most beautiful Jain pilgrimage sites in the world.

10. Pancha Ratna Temple, Bankura, West Bengal

Built in 1643 by King Raghunath Singha, this temple stands on a low square plinth and consists of an ambulatory pathway with a porch opened by three arches on the four sides of the temple. The central shikhara is octagonal, and the rest four are square. The walls are richly decorated with terracotta carvings featuring aspects of Lord Krishna’s life.

11. Badami Cave Temples, Karnataka

The Badami cave temples are a complex of temples located at Badami, a town in the Bagalkot District in the northern part of Karnataka, India.  Badami was established by Pulakesin I in 6th century; however the architectural expansion was observed by the Chalukyas. They are considered an example of Indian rock-cut architecture.

12. Vittala Temple, Hampi, Karnataka

Perhaps one of the most popular of all the temples in the Hampi complex, this houses the famous musical pillars that have amazing acoustics. The British wanted to find out the reason behind this, and so they cut two pillars to check if anything inside was sonorous. They found nothing but hollow pillars. The road leading to the temple was once a market where horses were traded. Even today we can see the ruins of the market on both the sides of the road. The temple contains images of foreigners like Persians selling horses.

13. Orchha Temples, Madhya Pradesh

Orchha is another famous tourist spot located near the famous Khajuraho Temple. The town has Chaturbhuj Temple, Lakshmi Temple and Ram Raja Temple.

The Chaturbhuj temple is imposing with tall spires built atop a high platform. Its exterior is richly ornamented with lotus symbols. The Raja Ram Temple resembles a palace as the Ram is worshiped as a king here.

The Lakshmi Temple is an odd amalgamation of temple and fort and an unique mixture of concentric forms. It consists of an octagonal central tower inside a triangular temple. In line with this eccentricity, the entrance gate is set in a corner rather than the wall.

– by Sabhyata Badhwar. Twitter: @SabbyDarkhorse

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Hindus In Delhi Push For A Temple On The Ruins Of a Mosque

The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

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Supporters of Vishwa Hindu Parishad gather during a rally in New Delhi, Dec. 9, 2018. The group gathered thousands of supporters to demand the construction of a Hindu temple on a site where a mosque was attacked, demolished in 1992. VOA

Tens of thousands of hardline Hindu protesters marched in New Delhi on Sunday, calling for a grand temple to be built on the ruins of a destroyed mosque in a flashpoint Indian city.

Trident-waving devotees clad in saffron filled a huge parade ground in the Indian capital under tight security, where speakers warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi they would not let up until the temple was sanctioned.

Some of Modi’s supporters feel the Hindu nationalist leader has not done enough to raise a shrine at a site in Ayodhya, a city believed by many to be the birthplace of the deity Ram.

The site was home to a medieval mosque for 460 years until Hindu zealots tore it down in 1992, kicking off riots across India that left thousands dead, most of them Muslims.

Its future has been tied up in courts for decades but some hardliners want Modi, who is seeking reelection in 2019, to push parliament to guarantee the temple by law.

World Hindu Congress, Hindu
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“The gathering here is telling you that Hindus won’t sit back until the temple is built, and our wishes are respected,” said Champat Rai, the leader of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) group that organized the protest.

Demonstrators chanting “Praise be to Ram” packed the Ramlila Maidan, a vast ground capable of holding more than 50,000 people, and filled the surrounding streets.

Some carried maces and tridents — weapons traditionally wielded by Hindu gods — and traveled great distances by train and bus to reach the rally.

“We have come here to protect our religion and Hindu pride. We want a temple for our Lord Ram,” Hitesh Bharadwaj, a teacher from Delhi’s satellite city Noida, told AFP.

The hardline VHP has applied pressure on Modi in recent weeks, staging a huge show of force in Ayodhya itself last month.

Hindu, Mosque
Photo credit: theguardian.com

A close ally of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the group is spearheading a push to raise the Ram temple, and is calling for more protests as the premier prepares to go to the polls by May.

The BJP was on the margins until the 1980s when its top leaders, including Modi, backed a growing movement for the construction of the Ram temple.

Its advocates want parliament to introduce a law bypassing legal hurdles blocking the temple before Modi’s term ends.

Also Read: Delhi’s Air Quality Leads To Ban On Trucks And Construction

The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

“We don’t care about the courts. A grand temple will be constructed in 2019,” Sushil Chawdhary, a VHP leader, told AFP. (VOA)