The Agni Purana

by N. Gangadharan | 1954 | 360,691 words | ISBN-10: 8120803590 | ISBN-13: 9788120803596

This page describes Preparations of ground for constructing temples which is chapter 39 of the English translation of the Agni Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas dealing with all topics concerning ancient Indian culture, tradition and sciences. Containing roughly 15,000 Sanskrit metrical verses, subjects contained in the Agni-Purana include cosmology, philosophy, architecture, iconography, economics, diplomacy, pilgrimage guides, ancient geography, gemology, ayurveda, etc.

Chapter 39 - Preparations of ground for constructing temples

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Hayagriva said:

1. O Brahman! Listen to me speaking about the installation of (images of) Viṣṇu and others. (The principles of) Pañcarātra[1] and Saptarātra have (already) been described by me.

2-5. They have been divided by the sages into twenty-five (books) in this world. Hayaśīrṣa tantra is the first one. Trailokyamohana, Vaibhava, Pauṣkara, Prahlāda, Gārgya, Gālava, Nāradīya, Śrīpraśna, Śāṇḍilya, Aiśvara, spoken by Satya, Śaunaka, Vāsiṣṭha, Jñānasāgara, Svāyambhuva, Kāpila, Tārkṣya, Nārāyaṇīyaka, Ātreya, Nārasiṃha, Ānanda, Aruṇa, Baudhāyana, and the one spoken by Viśva as the quintessence of that (the preceding), having eight parts (or the other books).

6-7. A brahmin born in the middle country may perform installation (rite). Those who were born in Kaccha (Cutch), (in the regions of the river) Kāverī, Koṅkaṇa, Kāmarūpa, Kaliṅga, Kāñcī, Kāśmīra, Kosala should not (do installation). The sky, wind, radiance, water, and earth are the pañcarātra.

8. Those other than the pañcarātra are inanimate and engulfed in darkness. He is the preceptor who has the knowledge “I am brahman and stainless Viṣṇu”.

9. Even though deficient in all characteristics he who is a. master of the tantras is (to be looked upon as) the preceptor. The image of the deity should be placed facing the city and never turned backwards.

10. At Kurukṣetra, Gayā and other places and near the rivers, (the image of) Brahmā at the centre of the city and (the image of) Indra on the east are auspicious.

11-12. (The images) of Agni, mothers, goblins, and Yama (should be placed) in the south-east. (The images) of Caṇḍikā (should be placed) in the south and those of the manes and demons in the south-west. The temples ofVaruṇa and others should be built in the west. (The images) of Vāyu and Nāga (serpent) (should be) on the north-west and those of Yakṣa and Guha (Kārttikeya) on the north.

13-15. (Those) of Caṇḍīśa (the lord of Caṇḍī), the great lord and Viṣṇu (are) always (placed) in the north-east. One should not knowingly construct a temple of a reduced size or equal in size or bigger in size than another temple already constructed so as to encroach upon it. A wise-man would leave between them a space measuring twice the elevation and erect a new temple without affecting both the temples. After having examined the ground one has to take possession of it.

16. The offerings to the (presiding) goblins should be offered upto the outer enclosing wall (with a mixture of) black gram, turmeric powder, fried grains, curd and flour.

17-18. Having dropped the flour in all directions along with (the recitation of) eight syllables: (one has to say), “The demons and goblins who remain on this ground may go away. I am making a place for Hari.” Having cleaved the earth with the plough one should cleave it with oxen.

19. Eight Paramāṇus make one rathāṇu. Eight rathāṇus are said to make one trasareṇu. Eight times that (makes) one bālāgra and eight times that is known as likhyā. Eight times that is known as yūka. Eight times that is a yavamadhyama. Eight times yava (makes) one aṅgula. Twenty-four aṅgulas (make) one kara. Four aṅgulas make one padmahastaka.

Footnotes and references:


The word rātra means knowledge and the Pañcarātra means the collective knowledge of five kinds according to the Nar. Sam. 1.1.

However the Ahir. Sam. the earliest text of this class of literature would take it to mean the fivefold manifestation of Lord Vāsudeva, viz. Para, vyūha, vibhava, arcā and an taryāmin.

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