Understanding the Architecture of Hindu Temples: A Philosophical Interpretation
Authors: A. Bandyopadhyay
Vedic philosophy is one of the oldest existing philosophies of the world. Started around 6500 BC, in Western Indian subcontinent, the Indus valley Civilizations developed a theology which, gradually developed into a well-established philosophy of beliefs, popularly known as ‘Hindu religion’. In Vedic theology, the abstract concept of God was formulated mostly by close observation of the dynamicity and the recurrence of natural and universal phenomena. Through the ages, the philosophy of this theology went through various discursions, debates, and questionings and the abstract concept of God was, in time, formalized into more representational forms by the means of various signs and symbols. Often, these symbols were used in more subtle ways in the construction of “sacred” sculptures and structures. Apparently, two different philosophies were developed from the Vedic philosophy and these two philosophies are mostly seen in the northern part and southern part of the Indian subcontinent. This paper tries to summarize the complex philosophical treaties of Hinduism of northern and southern India and seeks to understand the meanings of the various signs and symbolisms that were incorporated in the architecture of Hindu temples, including the names given to various parts of the temples. The Hindu temples are not only places of worship or ‘houses of Gods’ like the Greek and Roman temples but are also structures that symbolize the dynamicity and also spiritual upliftment of human beings.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3593222Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 301
 R. Dalal, The Vedas: An Introduction to Hinduism’s Sacred Texts. Penguin New Delhi, 2014.
 F. Capra, The Tao of Physics, Flamingo UK, 1982.
 R. Dalal, Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin New Delhi, 2010, pp. 318.
 http://www.andhrabharati.com/dictionary/sanskrit/FontHelph. (Accessed: 25-Aug-2019).
 J. Sen, Principles of Indian Architecture: A Timeline Study of her Contributions to Global Patters of Civilization. Cygnus Publ., 2008.
 G. Michell, The Hindu temple: An Introduction to its Meaning and Forms. University of Chicago Press, 1988.
 J. Chevalier and A. Gheerbrant, A Dictionary of Symbols. Penguin Group USA, 1996.
 P. Brown, Indian Architecture, Buddhist and Hindu Periods, Kiran Book Agency, Delhi, 2010.
 http://www.acharya.gen.in:8080/cgi-bin/dictionary/more_meanings. cgi?word=daalagaa&start=4. (Accessed: 25-Aug-2019).
 https://www.wisdomlib.org/index.php. (Accessed: 25-Aug-2019).
 http://www.acharya.gen.in:8080/cgi-bin/dictionary/search.cgi?word=mohana&exact=yes. (Accessed: 25-Aug-2019).
 S. Kramrisch and R. Burnier, The Hindu Temple. Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 2015.
 http://www.andhrabharati.com/dictionary/sanskrit/FontHelp. (Accessed: 25-Aug-2019).
 “Amalaka,” HiSoUR - Hi So You Are, 18-Apr-2018. (Online). Available: https://www.hisour.com/amalaka-28450/. (Accessed: 28-Aug-2019).
 https://www.wisdomlib.org/definition/kalasha. (Accessed: 25-Aug-2019).
 V. Bharne and K. Krusche, Rediscovering the Hindu Temple: The Sacred Architecture and Urbanism of India. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014.