Hindu Temple; 3 Definition(s)


Hindu Temple means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Shilpashastra (iconography)

Hindu Temple in Shilpashastra glossary... « previous · [H] · next »

The Hindu temple is called devagṛha in Sanskrit and kōyil in Tamil, which means the house of god. The practice of preparing images of the deities mentioned in the Vedic mantras slowly disappeared by the end of the Vedic Period. The yāgaśālās (places where the sacrificial rites were performed) of the Vedic Period got metamorphosed into temples by the Epic Period owing to the influence of cultic practice. The early temples were built with perishable materials like timber and clay. Later came the cave temples and temples carved out of stone or built with bricks. Heavy stone structures with ornate architecture and sculpture belong to a still later period. The building of a temple has a set pattern with a basic philosophy of the temple, its meaning and significance.

The Hindu temple displays sculptures on the outer surface, the maṇḍapas (the various columned halls) and the prāsāda (a three-storeyed palace, a complete solid mass, on whose multi-buttressed walls the images are displayed), in which the innermost sanctuary or the garbhagṛha is located. The garbhagṛha or the womb cell is a small, dark, cubical chamber even in the largest temples. The divine symbol or the deity, invariably carved out of stone, is installed in the garbhagṛha. The door of this cell usually faces the east. In front of the doorway is the rectangular chamber which is called the antarāla or vestibule. The vestibule is the intermediate chamber between the garbhagṛha and the pillared hall called the maṇḍapa. Entrance to the maṇḍapa is by a porch called the ardha maṇḍapa (the hall leading to the inner sanctum sanctorum).

On the whole, a temple is a structure of figure sculptures. T. A. Gopinath Rao points out the specificities of each temple by saying that each temple is filled with numerous images of gods, goddesses, parivāra-devatas (gods related in a family), devas (attendants to the gods), śālagrāmās (cakra–an ammonite shell), bānaliṅgās (egg-shaped pebbles), yantras (mystic and magical diagrams engraved upon metallic plates), navagrahas (the nine planetary divinities), certain divine animals and birds, certain holy rivers, tanks, trees and sepulchers of saints.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)
Shilpashastra book cover
context information

Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

Discover the meaning of hindu temple in the context of Shilpashastra from relevant books on Exotic India

General definition (in Hinduism)

Hindu Temple in Hinduism glossary... « previous · [H] · next »

Temples played a significant role in the life of the Tamils and occupied a central place in their lives. They served as places of worship, divine experience, entertainment, aesthetic relish, social togetherness, as well as home for artistes in the fields of sculpture, painting, music, dance and philosophy. A Hindu temple is one of the means to attain mokṣa (release). The Hindu temple is a monument with elaborate sculptures and wide circumnutating passages, with other deities placed around the chief deity.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras

India history and geogprahy

Hindu Temple in India history glossary... « previous · [H] · next »

The Hindu temples are intended to show by concrete physical designs the constitution of man both in his higher and lower aspects. The various prakaras stand for the various protective coverings, the deity in the sanctum sanctorum or the innermost sabha or hall of the temple standing for the human spirit.

Source: archive.org: South Indian Festivities
India history book cover
context information

The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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