Wednesday February 21, 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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How telecom has become driver of economic change in India

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The country's hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front.
The country's hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front. Wikimedia Commons
  • India has done well to stay ahead of the curve in the technological revolution
  • The sectoral change in productivity has been the highest in the telecommunications sector since the reforms of 1991
  • India has managed to provide the cheapest telephony services around the world

For the most part of human history, the change was glacial in pace. It was quite safe to assume that the world at the time of your death would look pretty much similar to the one at the time of your birth. That is no longer the case, and the pace of change seems to be growing exponentially. Futurist Ray Kurzweil put it succinctly when he wrote in 2001: “We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century – it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).” Since the time of his writing, a lot has changed, especially with the advent of the internet.

India has done well to stay ahead of the curve in the technological revolution. The country’s hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front. In fact, according to Reserve Bank of India data, the sectoral change in productivity has been the highest in the telecommunications sector since the reforms of 1991, growing by over 10 percent. On the other hand, no other sector has had a productivity growth of above five percent during the same period. It is no wonder that it has also been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Indian economy, growing at over seven percent in the last decade itself.

Also Read: Social Media in India: Understanding The Dynamics of ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’

Such an unprecedented pace of growth has been brought about the precise levels of change that Kurzweil was so enthusiastic about. Today’s smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Meanwhile, India has managed to provide the cheapest telephony services around the world, which has hit rock bottom after the entry of Reliance Jio. This has ensured access to those even at the bottom of the pyramid.

A rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country.
A rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country. Wikimedia Commons

Even though consumers have come to be accustomed to fast-paced changes within the telecom sector, the entry of Jio altered the face of the industry like never before by changing the very basis of competition. Data became the focal point of competition for an industry that derived over 75 percent of its revenue from voice. It was quite obvious that there would be immediate economic effects due to it. Now that we’re nearing a year of Jio’s paid operations, during which time it has even become profitable, we saw it fit to quantify its socio-economic impact on the country. Three broad takeaways need to be highlighted.

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First, the most evident effect has been the rise in affordability of calling and data services. Voice services have become practically costless while data prices have dropped from an average of Rs 152 per GB to lower than Rs 10 per GB. Such a drastic reduction in data prices has not only brought the internet within the reach of a larger proportion of the Indian population but has also allowed newer segments of society to use and experience it for the first time. Since the monthly saving of an average internet user came out to be Rs 142 per month (taking a conservative estimate that the consumer is still using 1 GB of data each month) and there are about 350 million mobile internet users in the country (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India data), the yearly financial savings for the entire country comes out to be Rs 60,000 crore.

To put things in perspective, this amount is more than four times the entire GDP of Bhutan. Therefore, mere savings by the consumer on data has been at astonishing proportions.

Today's smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Wikimedia Commons
Today’s smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Wikimedia Commons

Now, this data has been used for services that have brought to life a thriving app economy within the country. So, the second level of impact has been in the redressal of a variety of consumer needs — ranging from education, health and entertainment to banking. For instance, students in remote areas can now access online courseware and small businesses can access newer markets. Information asymmetry has been considerably reduced.

Third, a rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country. These effects arise not merely from the creation of an internet economy, but also due to the synergy effects it generates. Information becomes more accessible and communication a lot easier. Businesses find it easier to operate and access consumers. Labour working in cities has to make less frequent trips home and becomes more productive as a result. Education and health services become available in inaccessible locations. Multiple avenues open up for knowledge and skill enhancement.

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An econometric analysis for the Indian economy showed that the 15 percent increase in internet penetration due to Jio and the spill-over effects it creates will raise the per capita levels of the country’s GDP by 5.85 percent, provided all else remains constant.

Thus, India’s telecom sector will continue to drive the economy forward, at least in the short run, and hopefully catapult India into 20,000 years of progress within this century, as Kurzweil postulated. The best approach for the state would be to ensure the environment of unfettered competition within the industry. Maybe other sectors of the economy ought to take a leaf out of the telecom growth story. The Indian banking sector comes to mind. However, that is a topic for another day. (IANS)

(Amit Kapoor is Chair, Institute for Competitiveness, India. He can be contacted at Amit. Kapoor@competitiveness.in and tweets @kautiliya. Chirag Yadav, a senior researcher at the institute, has contributed to the article.)