Temple and Pilgrimage


1.      Construction of a Temple

a.       Silpashastras

b.      Auspicious site chosen, local spirits, gods, demons asked to depart and live elswhere.

c.       Temple as divine image.

                                                   i.      Consecrated (abishekam) like deity, “eyes” pierced at end of ceremony

2.      Temple as microcosm:

a.       Ground plan (mandala) = map of cosmos, cf. vedic fire altar, sanctum at center,

b.      The body of purusha – from essence to manifestation, purusha impresses his form on the temple.

a.       Building a temple is a ritual activity from beginning to end

3.      Southern Style – sloping shikara

4.      Northern Style (nagara):

a.       Smaller, elaborate exterior, interior sanctum dark and winfowless

b.      Like a mountain and cave
Series of higher porches (mandapas)

c.       Note the prolixity of exterior, interior focused on source of all

d.      Shikhara: highest spire of the temple, mountain peak (shikara; Culminates in sun-disk (amalaka, symbol of the celestial world))

e.       Circumambulting the murti (see temple layout)

f.        Moving toward the source of all, the seed of creation.  Garbhagrha (womb chamber) – a mystery at the heart.

g.       Circumabulation: From light to dark

5.      Pilgrimage:

a.       Take darsan, receive prasad

b.      Abodes of the gods, seats of the goddesses. 

                                                   i.      Hardwar: God’s door, through which Ganga enters the plains

                                                 ii.      Prayag – sacred confluence

c.       “Crossing places”: Tirthas

d.      Floating flowers

e.       Bringing back ganga jal