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Growth of Hindu Temples

Vedic man, (and modern man) felt a deep need to express his love for God. Love requires an object of adoration, hence the inevitable use of imagery, verbal and visual. Thus, the temple or mandir is a concrete expression of man's feelings. Mandirs acquire a meaning only in terms of the Deity they enshrine, even as houses have a meaning only when they house people, and not when they are rows and rows of vacant buildings.

There are certain referances in Vedic literature which point to many great artists and craftsmen which are mentioned in the Rig Veda, like the Ribhus, working in gold, bronze, stone, and wood. This shows that the craftsmanship to do such work (image making) existed...

Other hymns to Mitra and Varuna indicate a mandir of a thousand pillars made of bronze or gold (Rig Veda II. 41.5./V.62.6-8) Later Hindu mandirs were often made in the form of chariots (rathas). As the chariot is very prominent in Vedic texts, perhaps even in these it may have referred to mandirs of that form.

Assuming that the Rig Vedic dating mentioned here is correct as suggested by current scholars, image worship and mandir construction have been most probably the first in the history of the world. India is known as the land of temples. From its northern most regions to the tip of its southern peninsula in the Indian ocean, India is filled with places of worship. It would be difficult to walk a mile here without coming across a temple of some sort or the other, be it a historic monuments or simply a piece of stone symbolising a village deity. (Gram-Devta).

Hinduism in its essence is a way of worshipping life in its every form. It looks upon life not as a single opportunity but as a part of larger circle of births and deaths. Liberation or Moksha must be striven for and obtained by following different parts i.e. either by acquiring knowledge i.e Jnana marg, by devotion or Bhakti Marg, or by action i.e Karma marg. Bhakti marg thus makes devotion an inevitable aspect of Hinduism.

A Hindu temple is a celeberation of rites and traditions, a highly evolved art form, a panorama of myths and legends for the entertainment and enlightment of the devotee, a depiction of a natural powers, a tool to uplift the worshipper's soul, a socio-cultural centre, a symbolic presentation of the various forces of nature - worldly as well as divine.




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