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Temples: history, architecture and distribution

Ramana, you were looking for this article

<b>The Church and The Temple</b>
Subhash Kak
Published on Wednesday, October 16, 2002
Accessed 4465 Times

My art-historian colleague, Rikki Scollard, is puzzled by the parallels between the Hindu/Buddhist temple and the Catholic Church. Here's a list she has drawn up:
Angels Apsaras
Saints Sants
Halos Halos
Catacombs Cave-temples
Cathedral floor plan Chaitya hall floor plan
Rosary Rosary
Orders of priests/nuns Orders of monks/nuns (in Buddhism)
Repetition in prayer Repetition in prayer
Symbolism of wheel Symbolism of wheel
Tree of life Tree of life
Use of relics Use of relics (Buddhism)
Temptation of Jesus by Satan Temptation of the Buddha by Mara
Circumambulation Circumambulation

When French missionaries, Hac and Gabet, visited Lhasa in 1842, they were astonished by how similar Buddhist ritual was to the Catholic: "The crozier, the mitre, the chasuble, the cardinal's robe, … , the double choir at the Divine Office, the chants, the exorcism, the censer with five chains, the blessing which the Lamas impart by extending the right hand over the heads of the faithful, the rosary, the celibacy of the clergy, their separation from the world, the worship of saints, the fasts, processions, litanies, holy water -- these are the points of contact which the Buddhists have with us."
I was reminded of the atmosphere in an Indian temple on a visit to a Greek Orthodox Church on an island near Athens, especially in the use of candles, incense and the profusion of images of saints.

<b>Historians have been aware of these similarities for a long time. Some have argued that the early Christian ritual was born out of the then prevailing religious practices in the Near East and Buddhism may have served as the prototype. </b>

Temples, as sacred spaces, are found in all ancient cultures. The parallels between the ancient temples of India and Greece (for example, Delphi in Greece and pilgrimage centers described in the Puranas) may be due to mutual borrowings, evolution from a common heritage, or a consequence of universal archetypes.

There is ample evidence of trade and interaction between the West and India going back to the third millennium BC. The Sumerians looked east for their spiritual homeland and Indus seals have been found in Mesopotamia. In an earlier column on Sulekha, I described the Indic element in West Asia in the second millennium BC.

<b>The Hindu Temple </b>
For the clearest articulation of the philosophy behind temple design we must turn to Indic sources. According to the Sthapatya Veda (the Indian tradition of architecture), the temple and the town should mirror the cosmos. The temple architecture and the city plan are, therefore, related in their conception. There exists a continuity in the Indian architectural tradition. The Harappan cities have a grid plan, just as is recommended in the Vedic manuals. The square shape represents the heavens, with the four directions representing the cardinal directions as well as the two solstices and the equinoxes of the sun's orbit.

A late example of a city designed according to the Vedic precepts is Jaipur. Vidyadhara, who designed the plan of the city, used the pithapada mandala as the basis. In this mandala of nine squares that represents the universe, the central square is occupied by the earth. In the city, which consists of nine large squares, the central square is assigned to the royal palace. The astronomical monuments of Maharaja Jai Singh II may also be seen as embodiments of the Vedic altars.

The monument that has been studied most extensively for its cosmological basis is the Vishnu temple in Angkor Wat. The temple served as a practical observatory where the rising sun was aligned on the equinox and solstice days with the western entrance of the temple, with many sighting lines for seasonally observing the risings of the sun and the moon. The detailed plan embodied numbers from Hindu cosmology, of which 108 is most significant.

The number 108 represents the distance from the earth to the sun and the moon in sun and moon diameters, respectively. The diameter of the sun is also 108 times the diameter of the earth, but that fact is not likely to have been known to the Vedic rishis. This number of dance poses (karanas) given in the Natya Shastra is also 108, as is the number of beads in a rosary (japamala). The "distance" between the body and the inner sun is also taken to be 108, and the number of marmas in Ayurveda is 107. The total number of syllables in the Rigveda is taken to be 432,000, a number related to 108.
The number 360, the number of days in the civil year, is also taken to be the number of bones in the developing foetus, a number that fuses later into the 206 bones of the adult. The primary Vedic number is three, representing the tripartite division of the physical world into the earth, the atmosphere, and the sky and that of the person into the physical body, the pranas, and the inner sky.

The Hindu temple represents the Meru mountain, the navel of the earth. The Brihat Samhita lists the many design requirements that the temple building must satisfy. For example, it says "the height of the temple should be double its width, and the height of the foundation above the ground with the steps equal to a third of this height. The sanctum sanctorum should be half the width of the temple" and so on. It also lists twenty types of temples that range from one to twelve storeys in height.

<b>Vedic Altars </b>
In my book The Astronomical Code of the Rgveda and elsewhere, I have shown that the Vedic altars had an astronomical basis related to the reconciliation of the lunar and solar years. The fire altars symbolized the universe and there were three types of altars representing the earth, the space and the sky. The altar for the earth was drawn as circular whereas the sky (or heaven) altar was drawn as square. The geometric problems of circulature of a square and that of squaring a circle are a result of equating the earth and the sky altars.

The fire altars were surrounded by 360 enclosing stones, of these 21 were around the earth altar, 78 around the space altar and 261 around the sky altar. In other words, the earth, the space, and the sky are symbolically assigned the numbers 21, 78, and 261. Considering the earth/cosmos dichotomy, the two numbers are 21 and 339 since cosmos includes the space and the sky.

The main altar was built in five layers. The basic square shape was modified to several forms, such as falcon and turtle. These altars were built in five layers, of a thousand bricks of specified shapes. The construction of these altars required the solution to several geometric and algebraic problems.

Two different kinds of bricks were used: the special and the ordinary. The total number of the special bricks used was 396, explained as 360 days of the year and the additional 36 days of the intercalary month. Two kinds of day counts: the solar day, and tithi, whose mean value is the lunar year divided into 360 parts. Considering the altar by layers, the first has 98, the second has 41, the third has 71, the fourth has 47 and the fifth has 138. The sum of the bricks in the fourth and the fifth layers equals 186 tithis of the half-year. The number of bricks in the third and the fourth layers equals the integer nearest to one third the number of days in the lunar year, and the number of bricks in the third layer equals the integer nearest to one fifth of the number of days in the lunar year, and so on.

The number of ordinary bricks equals 10,800 which equals the number of muhurtas in a year (1 day = 30 muhurtas), or equivalently the number of days in 30 years. Of these 21 go into the garhapatya, 78 into the eight dhishnya hearths, and the rest go into the ahavaniya altar.

The main altar was an area of 7 1/2 units. This area was taken to be equivalent to the nominal year of 360 days. Each subsequent year, the shape was to be reproduced with the area increased by one unit.

A well-known altar ritual says that altars should be constructed in a sequence of 95, with progressively increasing areas. The increase in the area, by one unit yearly, in building progressively larger fire altars is 48 tithis which is about equal to the intercalation required to make the nakshatra year in tithis equal to the solar year in tithis. But there is a residual excess which in 95 years adds up to 89 tithis; it appears that after this period such a correction was made.

The 95-year cycle corresponds to the tropical year being equal to 365.24675 days. The cycles needed to harmonize various motions led to the concept of increasing periods and world ages.

The number of syllables in the Rigveda confirms the textual references that the book was to represent a symbolic altar. According to various early texts, the number of syllables in the Rigveda is 432,000, which is the number of muhurtas in forty years. In reality, the syllable count is somewhat less because certain syllables are supposed to be left unspoken.

The verse count of the Rigveda can be viewed as the number of sky days in forty years or 261 x 40 = 10,440, and the verse count of all the Vedas is 261 x 78 = 20,358.

<b>Temple Antecedents</b>
The temple is considered in the image of the Cosmic Purusha, on whose body is displayed all creation in its materiality and movement. The prototype of the temple is the Agnikshetra, the sacred ground on which the Vedic altars are built. The Agnikshetra is an oblong or trapezoidal area on which the fire altars are built. It has been suggested that the agnichayana sacred ground is the prototype, because in it is installed a golden disc (rukma) representing the sun with a golden image of the purusha on it. The detailed ritual includes components that would now be termed Shaivite, Vaishnava, or Shakta. In Nachiketa Agni, 21 bricks of gold are placed one top of the other in a form of shivalinga. The disk of the rukma, which is placed in the navel of the uttaravedi (the main altar) on a lotus leaf is in correspondence to the lotus emanating from Vishnu's navel which holds the universe. Several bricks are named after goddesses, such as the seven krittikas.

The temple is the representation of the cosmos both at the level of the universe and the individual, making it possible for the devotee to get inspired to achieve his own spiritual transformation.

Complementing the tradition of the Vedic ritual was that of the munis and yogis who lived in caves and performed austerities. From this tradition arose the Vihara, where the priests lived and the chaitya halls that also housed the stupa paralleling the uttaravedi. The rock-cut chaityas represent a surviving form of a tradition that was usually implemented using wood or brick. The later temple tradition is linked to the rock-cut chaityas and other wooden chaityagrihas that can only be conjectured.

The design of the chaitya is a forerunner to the design of a cathedral. Some see the chaitya as being derived from the Lycian temple, but its evolution from the Vedic altar-complex appears more natural. The chaitya hall that housed the stupa may be seen as a development out of the agnichayana tradition where within the brick structure of the altar were buried the rukma and the golden purusha. The image is placed in a perforated brick which encases it like a casket quite like the casket of the stupa with the relic within it.

Figure 2. Chaitya Cave 9 at Ajanta, a conjectural reconstruction of a wooden chaityagriha, painting of a wooden house in Ajanta, Chaitya Cave in Karli

The rock-cut temples preserve features of earlier structures that have not survived. For example, we see the pointed arch of the chaitya halls that is not seen in other monuments on the ground made of brick or stone until the 8th or 9th century. In the words of the art-historian, Susan Huntington regarding the Mauryan-period Lomash Rishi cave: "<b>The sophisticated woodworking techniques recorded in the cave makes it certain that ancient India had an elaborate and lengthy history of wooden architecture prior to the Maurya period, though some of the forms are only preserved then." </b>

Figure 3. Lomash Rishi Cave
The Temple Plan

The temple construction begins with the Vastupurusha mandala, which is a yantra, mostly divided into 64 (8 x 8) or 81 (9 x 9) squares, which are the seats of 45 divinities. Brahma is at the centre, around him 12 squares represent the Adityas, and in the outer circle are 28 squares that represent the nakshatras (Figure 4). The Vastumandala with its border is the place where the motions of the sun and the moon and the planets are reconciled. It is the Vastu in which the decrepit, old Chyavana of the Rigveda asks his sons to put him down so that he would become young again. Chyavana is the moon and Sukanya, whom he desires, is the sun.

Figure 4

In the basic Vedic scheme, the circle represents the earth and the square represents the heavens or the deity. But the altar or the temple, as a representation of the dynamism of the universe, requires a breaking of the symmetry of the square. As seen clearly in the agnichayana and other altar constructions, this is done in a variety of ways. Although the main altar might be square or its derivative, the overall sacred area is taken to be a departure from this shape. In particular, the temples to the goddess are drawn on a rectangular plan. In Shiva or Vishnu temples, which are square, change is represented by a play of diagonal lines. These diagonals are essentially kinetic and are therefore representative of movement and stress. They embody the time-factor in a composition.

The Hindu temple, as a conception of the astronomical frame of the universe, serves the same purpose as the Vedic altar, which reconciled the motions of the sun and the moon. The progressive complexity of the classical temple was inevitable given an attempt to bring in the cycles of the planets and other ideas of the yugas into the scheme.

The temple represents the outer and the inner cosmos. The outer cosmos is expressed in terms of various astronomical connections between the temple structure and the motions of the sun, the moon, and the planets. The inner cosmos is represented in terms of the consciousness at the womb of the temple and various levels of the superstructure that correspond to the states of consciousness.

The Buddhist temple and the Catholic cathedral do not consciously express the same range of details about the cosmos, but they are also supposed to represent the heavens. Vedic philosophy and ritual helps us understand the symbols behind the Buddhist and Catholic ritual. For example, it explains why the rosary has 108 beads. <span style='color:red'>For this no satisfactory explanation is provided within the Christian tradition</span>
Sringeri Mutt demands entry to shrine in PoK
‘The concepts of equality, love towards each other and the whole world as family which Shankara advocated 1,200 years ago is relevant even today.’

The Administrative Officer of Sringeri Mutt, V R Gowrishankar has demanded that Sarvajna Peetha, located at Sharade in Pak occupied Kashmir (PoK) should be opened to Indians.

Speaking at the valedictory function of Shaankara Sandesha Saptaha, he stated that Shankaracharya’s name was entwined with Sanaatana Dharma. His philosophy had worldwide respect and following. Another such philosophy has not been discovered after his time. It is a widespread opinion that Advaita and Shankara are one and the same, he remarked.

Commenting on the Advaita philosophy, Gowrishankar said that the philosophy determined the purpose behind creating religious texts at a time when the true meaning of the principles was obscured by the frequent changes in analysing the Sanaatana Dharma through the centuries. Shankara’s philosophy merely mirrored the meaning of the principles, he remarked.
Letters to TTD Master Plan Committee

Please write letters as a devotee of Lord Sri Venkateshwara (via postal service) ASAP on your respective letter heads with your opinions on the destruction of the Temple, addressed to the committee that has been formed to evaluate the destruction at Tirumala.

Please do send an email as well to: masterplancommittee@yahoo.com

The more letters we write the better influence it will have on the authorities to re-build the 1000 pillared structure that was destroyed a few months ago and not to build a new prakaram at the world famous temple of Sri Venkateswara.

Please pass on this information to all bagavath bandhus and friends.

Letter should be addressed to:

Mr.P.V.R.K. Prasad I.A.S
Masterplan Committee of TTD
Himayanth Nagar
Hyderabad, AP
India. 500029
Revered Swami Jyotirnanda (copied to Sw Dayananda Saraswati)
(Please feel free to distribute)

In response to your email about the government agenda to control Hindu temples.

The distress you feel is understandable.

Here is a nation of 80 percent Hindus, where the Hindus have to cower to corrupt politicians to survive or have a say in running their own institutions!

Vivekananda had warned that if India loses its sense of perspective and moves away from spirituality and embraces a more secular stance, the state will crumble. Spirituality is ingrained in our blood, even if we try to move away from it, we are bound to fail as it goes against the grain of our inner constitution.

The 'easy independence' we enjoyed through Gandhian methodology has come at a heavy price; our future being dictated by the Nehru clan and all that 'secular' ideology that came with it. We displaced our 'spiritual ideology' in favour of this 'crass materialism' that was imported from the West. The West has mastered this ideology and have harnessed its powers for the good of its people. We alas are unable to handle it.

What we now have is a cocktail of the worst of the East and worst of the West in full play on the Indian subcontinent.

The Bollywood phenomenon is an example of this amalgamation: Escapism, sentimentality, pornography, greed and lust -- sheer poison laced with honey - deceptively dished out through wonderful settings and music is eating away the spiritual fabric of this nation even in the remotest villages.......but no one seems to notice or care.

Surveys show that one of the most corrupt nations in the world today is India. No aspect of its life is free from underhanded methods. What to say of the politicians and their methods of promoting a 'secular' agenda. A Hindu nation where the real Hindus have to take cover by resorting to 'declassifying themselves from being defined as Hindus' in order to survive (as in the case of the Ramakrishna and Aurbindo centres), reflects the desperate state of affairs.

Where is the dignity or freedom that should arise from our Hindu teachings? Sure, our children have the freedom to take on hard labour for survival while vast portion of the population lives in abject poverty and degradation.

A small elite continue to live off these poor people. We are not practising Hindus in any sense! We are only Hindus in name so is it a wonder that the system is now asking us to relinquish our rights to run our own temples?

Is there no way out? We can and should protest vociferously (at least that shows that we are still alive) but as you are aware we are shouting at the corrupt politicians. We may try and protest to the people, but they have gone back to their inertial sleep with easy fixes of the opium of popular Bollywood culture.

The resolution of the Indian problem will come --- and it will come from the West. The spiritual salvation of India is through the spiritual salvation of the West. This nation is maturing itself out of a 'materialistic mode' and is shifting to a spiritual mode. It is only when this process matures and becomes established in the West, will India get a wakeup call from her slumber of degradation. The world is now a global village and things have a habit of developing rapidly ....In our lifetimes we will see these developments coming to fruition. Well, we hope and pray that this process happens sooner rather than later.
dilip lakhani
Vivekananda Centre London
Indian authorities demolish "Pashupatinath Temple" in New Delhi
(http://www.nepalnews.com Dec 30 04)

Authorities in New Delhi, India, have demolished the "Pashupatinath Temple" in the Indian capital, a leading English daily in Nepal reported Thursday.

A bulldozer from the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), escorted by dozens of policemen, Wednesday pulled down the temple which stood on the banks of the Yamuna River for the last forty years. Dozens of devotees visited the temple almost every morning, The Kathmandu Post (TKP) reported.

"By 12 pm, Wednesday, the 'Nepali Mandir' had been reduced to rubble and the three-feet-tall five-faced Shiva Lingam was nowhere to be seen. The only surviving items were a small Shiva Lingam, a statue of Goddess Durga and a plastic stool the temple priest used for prayers," the TKP report said.

The Delhi-based Royal Nepalese Embassy, the TKP report said, had made verbal as well as written request to Indian Authorities to protect the temple but the DDA demolished the temple, along with a number of "illegally constructed" constructions on the banks of the river, in line with an order of the Supreme Court of India issued in May 2003, to remove encroachment on
the river banks.

However, according to the report, the caretakers of the Nepali temple say that the land where the temple stood was legally registered. "We are extremely hurt and outraged by the ruthlessness of Delhi authorities," the daily quoted Nilkantha Sharma, the 54-year-old priest of the temple, as saying.

The report also said that the caretakers of the temple are thinking to move the court against the demolition. "We are not going to stay put," the report quoted Prem Chhetri, an advocate of Nepali origin whose ancestors moved to India from Koshi Zone, "We, too, are going to
move the Supreme Court, seeking adequate compensation for the damage, and allocation of a piece of land in the city, where we can reinstate our great deity".

nepalnews.com amt Dec 30 04
Hindu law, temple administration, and globalization:
<b>Ganesh idol recovered during excavation at mosque</b>
January 21, 2005 15:13 IST
Last Updated: January 21, 2005 15:18 IST

A Ganesh idol was unearthed on Thursday during excavations at a mosque in Jambusar in Bharuch district, about 60 km from Vadodara, police said.

Bharuch's Superintendent of Police G S Malik said the idol has been kept separately for people to offer prayers.

This idol was discovered during excavations at the 150-year-old mosque in a predominantly Hindu area.

A large number of Hindu devotees flocked to the mosque to have a glimpse of the
statue, he added.

Security has been beefed up in the area as a precautionary measure, Police
Sub-Inspector V R Patel said<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
How Hindus can stop politicians taking over temples!

I think this is an important issue. And the author has come up with 2 ways to stop this practice. Other things can also be done. For example..

(1) We muct first try to bring in a legislation that makes it compulsory for all govt run institutions to compulsorily label in all prominent places that all proceeds to this religious institution are administered by so-and-so government. This bill by itself needs to be promoted by hindu parties and will result in bringing the issues to everyone's attention.

(2) The second step would be for the bill to make it compulsory for other charitable institutions to setup their booths inside government run temples. So for example ekal-vidyalaya should be able to setup a donation box inside the temple premises. The charitable institution has to provide information and has to be approved by the board trustees.

(3) The third step would be for the hindu-organisations to setup hindu-schools and universities for education, research and development of indic studies. The funding will have to be provided by both public and private sector as well as individuals.

Thoughts ?
Came in an email

Kanyakumari Bhagavathiamman Temple

Kanyakumari picturesquely situated at the Land's End at the confluence of the three seas, has been attracting vast multitudes of pilgrims and tourists alike. Though the town has grown us a major tourist spot over the years, its frame as a pilgrim center dates back to the puranic era.

Sage Parasurama is said to have installed the deity of Devi Bhagavathi on the shores here. A small gopuram on the northern entrance of the temple leads one to the sanctum. The beautiful image of the Goddess in resplendent glory, with a rosary in her right hand doing eternal penance, bestows on the deotee immense wealth of spiritual energy and peace of mind.

Lord Ganesha, Surya, Bala Soundari, the processional deity of the Goddess, and Lord Ayyappa have separate shrines oon the prakarams. A well inside the second prakaram, known as Moola Ganga Theertham, Provides water for the Devi's abhishekam. The eastern entrance, facing the sea, remains closed throughout the year except for the Aaraattu rituals.

According to a lengend, Banasura, the king of Demons, had obtained a boon from Lord Siva that he could be vanquished only by a virgin. Unable to bear the harassmentof the Asura king, the Devas invoked Goddess Parashakti too redeem them. Shakti came here as a virgin girl and did penance on the shores.

Lord Siva of Suchindrum wished to marry the Goddess, and the wedding was fixed for an auspicious hour before dawn. Devarishi Narada, realising that the marruage will spoil the end of Banasura, falsely heralded the break of dawn by assuming the form of a cock even as the wedding party was on its way to kanniyakumari. The Divine wedding did not take place as siva returned to Suchindrum disappointed. The Devi also resumed Her penance on the rock, now known as Sripadaparai, a few hundred metres offshore.

Meanwhile, Banasura heard about the beauty of the girl and came to request Her hand in marriage. When Devi rejected the idea, the demon king decided to win her by force. This led to a fierce battle, in which the Goddess killed the demon. The relieved Devas returned blessed.

The Sripadaparai is now known as Swami Vivekananda Rock, where the holy feet of the Goddess is enshrined.

The tradition here is to take a holy dip at the bathing ghat at the confluence of the three seas. There are about 25 Theerthams on the shores.
<b>Under the orders of the Madras Bench of Madurai High court, an estimated 40 Hindu temples,some as old as forty years, have been demolished. The infamous Sun TV showed the bulldozers, (remniscent of Israeli bull dozers )went about in razing to ground all the temples. This is the third day the demolition is continuing. The english media has been keeping silent.The protest of local unarmed Hindus were smashed by armed policemen who dispersed the crowd by lathi charge. (Sun TV 19.2.2005).The news is reported by the Madurai edition of the local Dinamlar in the front page.</b>
For some of the snaps of this gruesome incident, check out

One of these temples was 50 years old and the women who protested against
the demolition by sitting inside the temple were forcibly removed.
Razed temple rebuilt after 615 years
By D. Sreenivasulu

The newly-constructed Jogulamba temple at Alampur.

ALAMPUR, FEB. 27. Jogulamba Devi temple at Alampur, one of the 18 Sakti peethams in Indian sub-continent, including Sankari Devi temple in Sri Lanka, has been reconstructed after 615 years. According to historical so urces, the temple was razed to the ground during Muslim invasion in 1390 AD. The local people put up a fierce
resistance and killed the invaders and moved the main idol to the nearby Balabrahmeswara temple. Since then, the idol had been worshipped in the secluded place in the temple.

Alampur, 20 km from Kurnool, which is known as `Dakshin Kasi' flourished as spiritual and education centre in ancient times.

The Chalukyas of Badami, mainly by the initiative of Pulakesin-II put up a number of temples in and around Alampur in the 7th and 8th centuries. At Alampur alone, Chalukyas built nine temples devoted to Navabrahmeswara and Jogulamba.

Of them, eight magnificent temples of Navabrahmeswara survived but the temple of Tarakabrahma could not be traced.

The Jogulamba temple was reconstructed at the same place where it stood. The temple was rebuilt in the same way it was described in the `Rasaratnakaram' of Nityanatha Sidha of 12th century AD. Sankaracharya was believed to have installed `Sri Chakra' at Jogulamba temple, which is not available now.

Since the Alampur temple complex was declared a heritage site, the supporters of Jogulamba temple had a difficult time to convince the Archaeological Survey of India and the State Government to revive the temple.

Fund mobilisation

The temple was designed to match the Chalukyan architecture so that the new temple would fit into the group of temples.

The Endowments Department, led by the former Commissioner, Ajay Kallam, took initiative to raise funds for reconstruction of the temple. The temples across the country donated money for the temple while Srisailam Devastanam adopted it to ensure uninterrupted rituals.

Giving the reasons for failure to revive the temple in the last 600 years, Sanskrit scholar, historian and epigraphist, Gadiyaram Ramakrishna Sarma, has analysed that political uncertainty prevailed during the medieval age delayed the reconstruction of the temple.
Temples of Lord shiva in India by region
Has anyone here visited this temple?

Tipu Sultan's Sathyamangalam connection

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->According to S.R.Krishnaswamy, a Tipu Sultan chronicler based here, and A.R.K.Arun, a palaeontologist, in one of the 100 pillars of the Venugoplaswamy Temple at Sathyamangalam are the images of the deity and Tipu Sultan.

"Tipu is depicted with a bare-chested tunic and holds a parrot on his right hand. His left hand folded at the waist is supported by a staff. The characteristic moustache and turban signify his identity. A local Muslim prays every morning in this temple. Religious harmony of Tipu's domain has not been found wanting here
I have heard a lot of peolle saying taht the Taj Mahal was originally a Hindu temple. Is this actually true?
<!--QuoteBegin-Tulsidas Khan+Mar 2 2005, 08:18 AM-->QUOTE(Tulsidas Khan @ Mar 2 2005, 08:18 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> I have heard a lot of peolle saying taht the Taj Mahal was originally a Hindu temple.  Is this actually true? <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->TN to appoint women priests in temples


The Tamil Nadu Government will appoint women as temple priests irrespective of their caste, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Minister P C Ramasamy told the State Assembly today.

Replying to a question from a woman MLA during Question Hour, he said both Hindu men and women, belonging to any caste, could become temple priests if they had the necessary qualification.

Earlier, Ms Maheshwari (Congress), who raised the supplementary question, greeted Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on the occasion of Women's Day and said the credit for taking women from the kitchen to the commando force would go to her. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Deccan Chronicle,
March 9, 2005
<b>Muslim woman builds Hindu temple</b>
Lucknow, March 9: Shivaratri, on Tuesday, was special this year for the people of Varanasi and a memorable one for those who believe in Hindu-Muslim amity. Noor Fatima, a Muslim lawyer, has built a temple for Lord Shiva in the Rudra Vihar colony in Ganeshpur locality of Varanasi that was dedicated to the devotees on Shivratri by Justice Tarun Chatterjee. The temple, known as Rudreshwar Mahadev temple, was built in a record time of three months by Noor Fatima who personally supervised the construction work of the temple, along with her two daughters, Roshini and Khushboo. Fatima told reporters in Varanasi on Tuesday that some months ago, Lord Shiva had appeared in her dreams and asked her to build a temple for him. “As a devout Muslim, I was confused about this dream. I consulted many religious leaders and Hindu dharama-charyas and asked them about the significance of this dream. Then suddenly, there were some untimely deaths in the family, including that of my husband, Murad Ali Khan, who died in a road accident. Finally, I decided I would obey the command of the Lord and began temple construction with a paltry sum of Rs 5,000,” she recalled. According to Fatima, as soon as she started the task of temple construction, she was flooded with support both monetary and moral — from people belonging to Hindu as well as Muslim communities. “Suddenly, there was no dearth of money and resources and the temple got built within a record time of three months,” Fatima told this correspondent.
“As the work progressed, I found myself more and more at peace with circumstances and now I find myself completely relaxed and free from tension,” she said. On Tuesday,<b> the people of Varanasi saw Fatima and her two daughters performing Vedic rituals with just the right touch of devotional fervour as the priests recited mantras and the crowds chanted Har Har Mahadev. </b>And within 24 hours of the pran pratishtha (installation of the God’s idol) at the Shiva temple, the temple has already being christened as “Noor Wala Mandir.” Perhaps, this is the most befitting tribute to Hindu-Muslim amity in the strife-ridden society in the country today.
'Ugra Narasimha' leaves Thai Princess speechless

Thursday March 10 2005 00:00 IST

BELLARY: The beautiful giant statue of Ugra Narasimha at Hampi has
left Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn speechless.

The 50 plus Princess is visiting the historic Hampi for the first
time. <b>A History Professor, the Princess was virtually swept off her
feet by the sheer beauty and grandeur of the place.</b> She arrived here
from Goa on Tuesday in a special aircraft.

When deputy director of the Centre for Archaeology explained the
historical significance of the Ugra Narasimha statue, she could say
only word `marvellous' to express her feelings.

<b>``Hampi is privileged to have a deity of Virupaksheswara,'' said the
Princess while speaking to reporters after performing a pooja at the
Virupaksha temple, where she was received with pomp and splendour with
an elephant garlanding her on arrival.</b>

It was interesting, she said, adding that it was like history or past
being presented to the future. It was a living tradition as it is full
of monuments and places of immense archaeological significance.`` I am
privileged to be here. Old times have come to the new,'' said the

The Princess spent a long time at the Lotus Mahal and Elephant stables
and kept noting down things apart from taking photographs. Inside the
Virupaksha temple, she was moved by the number of Gopurams. And at the
Vijaya Vittala Temple, the Princess was astounded by the pillars that
produce the `Sapta Swaram'.


The Princess said relations between Thailand and India were excellent.
She said though this was her first visit to Hampi, she had visited
India earlier and had worked towards bettering the relationship
between the two countries.

Before leaving for Bangalore after her visit, the Princess remarked:
One day is too short a time to see Hampi.


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