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‘Temples of India’ is a fascinating way to understand science of Geometry and Architecture

Tarun's books 'Holy Cow and the Other Indian Stories' contains small chapters that answers simple questions about India

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Representational Image. Image source: www.tierratravels.com
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NEW DELHI, August 12: It’s unusual to come across a person who is indigenous to both pen and camera- more so when photography grew out of a casual remark. Tarun Chopra is one such person and what he has managed with his 12th book, “Temples of India – Abode of the Divine”, is to also trace the evolution of temple building with major architectural trendsetting examples.

To this extent, “Temples of India” (Prakash Books/pp 360/Rs 1,295), with its plethora of photographs, illustrations, ground plans as well as sections, is a valuable resource for both experts and laypersons to understand the fascinating science of geometry and architecture as temple-building evolved over some 2,000 years.

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Lingaraja Temple in Orissa. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Lingaraja Temple in Orissa. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Ten years in the making and based on painstaking research of the ancient texts of Shilpa Shastra and Vaastu Shastra, as also interactions with temple priests, the effort is quite an eye-opener.

“I visited the temples of varied faiths. It somehow compels you to think if there is a God, He has to be one for all. He cannot be different for each religion. The realisation then dawns that there is one Supreme cosmic power which itself has no religion,” Chopra told IANS in an interview.

A 48-page introduction makes for a handy primer on subjects like the oral tradition, Vaastu Shastra, Vaastupurushamandala (the metaphysical plan of a building), the legend of Vaastupurusha, temple builders, traditional building rites and rituals, the main architectural features of a Hindu temple, iconography of the temple, proportional measurements of an image, and temples as the markers of energy zones.

This sets the tone for Tripping On the Divine: a visual documentation of the evolution of most prominent temple styles spanning more than 2,000 years.

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“Very few places in the world offer this vast a canvas of art and architecture. This book is not based on the temples of religious importance; rather the temples illustrated in it are purely on their architectural merit. Many of them have unique qualifications to be first of their kind in the Indian subcontinent and in the world. Some temples are the stepping stones of architectural styles and initiated temple styles that evolved for the next 1,000 years,” Chopra writes.

Most of the 28 temples featured are A-listers — Sanchi, Ajanta, Ellora, Elephanta, Kanchipuram, Shravanabelagola, Khajuraho, Trichy, Madurai and Hampi, to name just a few. There are also some not too well known, at least for readers in North India. Among them are Teli Ka Mandir in Gwalior Fort, Gangaikondacholapuram (a smaller replica of the Brihadeshwara Temple in Tanjore), Darasuram (Tamil Nadu) and Aihole (Karnataka).

The bulk of the temples are located in South India and Chopra explained it thus: “Due to waves and waves of invasions that North India experienced at the hands of idol breakers, the temples in this region bore most of its brunt. Since the temples down south were relatively protected due to geographical distance, there is a wide variety of architectural styles that still exists today.”

“Temples…” is a logical extension of Chopra’s 11 previous books, most of which have India as their theme.

“My bestselling book ‘Holy Cow and the Other Indian Stories’ contains small chapters answering simple questions about India, why cows are on the road, why we get stamped so many times at the airport, the chaos that exists on the roads.. ‘India Exotic Destination’ illustrates the places frequented by visitors, while ‘Soul of India’ is a photo book that illustrates the beauty of the land through portraits, landscapes, street life and the like,” Chopra said.

“I am a photographer and writer devoted to making books on India. My endeavour is to take out books that are easy to read and assimilate. As a photographer, I have been commissioned to do various projects both in India and abroad,” he added.

All this grew out of a casual remark: “Why don’t you start taking pictures since you travel so much?”

What is rather unusual about “Temples…” is its standard format rather than the large coffee-table format generally adopted for such books — and the publisher said this was with a purpose.

“We decided to go with a smaller size to make the book handy for the buyer. Typical coffee tables are larger in size, but the sales of these books are down for the last few years, mainly because of the internet. A lot of images and data is now available on the net, but also because it’s hard to carry large books because of weight limitations or the general bulkier nature of the book.

“We wanted the readers to be able to enjoy ‘Temples of India’ while they travel through India and visit these temples,” Megha Parmar of Prakash Books told IANS. (IANS)

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Analysis of Ancient Aliens show on History Channel

Sometimes it looks likes the show is phony and fake. Many times it seems that they take a small point and turn it into a mammoth thing assuming that extraterrestrials were behind it.

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Ancient Aliens is one of the most famous shows of the History Channel. Wikimedia Commons
Ancient Aliens is one of the most famous shows of the History Channel. Wikimedia Commons
Dr. Bharti Raizada
A few weeks back, somehow I stumbled upon a show, on History channel, called Ancient Aliens.
After watching a couple of episodes, I think the show is trying to convey the following points:
Are aliens really real ? The show tries to answer the question, Pixabay
Are aliens really real ? The show tries to answer the question, Pixabay
1. Ancient civilizations were not able to do anything and they had no scientific knowledge, they were not able to build megalithic structures. Extraterrestrials came to earth and gave them the knowledge and also built things for them. They taught them science, mathematics, technology etc.
2. They even give the impression that all over the world, the government and high profile people are still in contact with extraterrestrials but all of them are trying to hide it from the public for some unknown reason and they all are able to keep it to themselves.
3. Gods may be extraterrestrial beings. They are very advanced scientifically and have very high tech spaceships and weapons. These beings came many times and at many places on earth. They interacted with different cultures. They want to control humans.
4. ET’s are continuously keeping an eye on humans.
5. They are guiding us on a specific path.
6. They keep coming and going back from this planet Earth. Initially, they came to mine Gold as their own planet was getting depleted of Gold.
7. They have lived with us and maybe living with us now. They also mate with humans. Very brilliant children on earth are the result of mating between aliens and humans.
8. They can wipe us out with weapons or diseases e.g. plagues.
9. Whole earth may be a scientific lab.
10. Aliens are doing some genetic experiment on us. All species of humans were created as an experiment and when the experiment did not go in the right direction, whole species e.g. Neanderthals, hominids etc were wiped out.
11. Time cycle on earth keeps repeating itself. Similar to a clock.
12. Our planet is a hologram. There is knowledge everywhere in the atmosphere. We just need to know how to get it. In very deep meditation probably we can get this knowledge which is in a code form. Many discoveries and inventions were by people who got this knowledge suddenly e.g. Nikola Tesla, Baba Vanga, Ramanujan etc.
13. Different religions/ cultures/civilizations have many common events e.g. great flood, the appearance of God or his messenger, working towards making  Gods or ET’s happy, concept of nine gods or counsel of nine, demigods, and primordial sea etc.
14. Many temples all over the earth still have some secret areas, wealth etc. which are not open to the public. Some of these are guarded by military and are considered very dangerous to go even nearby. Some people who tried to go in these areas fell very sick and died or never came back.
15. UFO is a real phenomenon. Many countries have secret labs where they are studying crashed UFO’s and captured aliens.
Aliens have bases on many planets, including ours. Pixabay
Aliens have bases on many planets, including ours. Pixabay

16. ET’s have bases on many of the planets including ours. They are present on Earth’s poles and other places on earth as well as inside earth. There are many layers inside the earth where vast cities of aliens exist.

17. There are living beings/life in space and on other planets. Some living beings live in extremes of temperatures or extremes of other conditions. There are beings who die if exposed to oxygen, some die in water, some die without water. There are living organisms on meteors, asteroids etc.
18. Shivling’s central pillar like part represents an energy storage equipment or atomic area. Surrounding part of the pillar is for waste materials to come out. Water is offered at the top of the pillar, like in nuclear reactors, to cool it down.
19. Kailash temple in Ajanta and Allora caves was built by ET’s using very high tech equipment which was capable of evaporating all ruble.
Kailash Temple at Ellora Caves is also said to be a creation of ET. Wikimedia Commons
Kailash Temple at Ellora Caves is also said to be a creation of ET. Wikimedia Commons
20. Underneath an Indian temple is an extensive tunnel system going to an underground structure where some beings sit on levitating thorns. Indian Government does not allow anyone to go near it.
21. Below another Indian temple, there is a door made of iron which has no locks. It is closed by mantras and no one dares to open it.
Is it really possible for US to have a military base at the moon? Pixabay
Is it really possible for US to have a military base at the moon? Pixabay
22. They say the US has a military base on the moon and that the moon is artificial and aliens have hollowed it out and have a city inside it.
23. There is a galactic war also.
24. Aliens abduct humans and do experiments on them. There are incidences where they took away the fetus from mother’s womb. Abductees describe these aliens as grey people and they feel paralyzed but are conscious during abduction period. Some abductees come back and some do not. There are instances where the whole village or group of people vanished from the earth.
25. There are giants, like Big Foot, living in woods. They smell like Sulphur, make loud sounds and elope very fast. They are doing some secret work for ET’s or are left here, on planet earth, for wrong or criminal activity on other planets.
Some points, which I don’t understand by watching Ancient Aliens, are…
1. First of all, if the aliens helped us building these mega structures like Machu Pichuu or the temple of Baalbek, then why did they take away the knowledge from us and why are they not helping us or building their own structures presently?
2. If they were so high tech, what happened to all of their creations? Why is everything in ruins now? Why we have to dig to find those structures now?
3. If they are living on other planets, what was the need to come to Earth and build things, is this not extra labor for them. And if they like Earth so much that they help us build things, then why don’t they live here?
4. They say that sometimes aliens give us knowledge and help us build thing but other times they say that aliens want to control us, destroy us and spread diseases like plagues. Is this not contradictory?
5. The makers of the show have themselves not seen any extraterrestrials, so their theories are based purely on imagination and have no scientific proof behind them.
There seems to be no concrete proof of the facts shown in the show to be true. Pixabay
There seems to be no concrete proof of the facts shown in the show to be true. Pixabay

6. They never bring mainstream scientist and archeologist on the show and interview them or ask their opinions, thus making people believe only their own opinion.

7. They keep repeating the same phrases and believe that by saying it repeatedly it will come true.
8. In one of the episodes, they say that deep inside a big structure and that it was very dark and there was no way to use lamps as there was not enough oxygen inside. Another said that he went there and tried to light his lighter but because of very low oxygen levels lighter was not lighting up. He forgot that he was breathing okay in that area of very low oxygen and came back alive with no consequences of low oxygen levels.
Sometimes it looks like their show is phony and fake. Many times it seems that they take a very small point and turn it into a mammoth thing and assume that extraterrestrials were behind that. Maybe they are fabricating some points.
Just to mention that many of Ancient Aliens Theorists do not have a degree in archaeology, history, religion, ancient language etc.
At some other times, it seems that their theory makes sense. As there are no explanations till now of many historical events, structures, knowledge etc., this theory at least tries to give some sense to these. These people are just postulating theories. They are not claiming that their theory is 100% true. If you believe that they are spreading lies then why no one ever sued them and History Channel.
Overall the show is very entertaining, educative, and addictive.