Brahmeswara Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India, erected at the end of the 9th century CE, is richly carved inside and out. This Hindu temple can be dated with fair accuracy by the use of inscriptions that were originally on the temple. They are now lost, but records of them preserve the information of around 1058 CE. The temple is built in the 18th regnal year of the Somavamsi king Udyotakesari by his mother Kolavati Devi, which corresponds to 1058 CE.
Historians place the temple to belong to the late 11th century as ascertained from an inscription carried to Calcutta from Bhubaneswar. The inscription indicates that the temple was built by Kolavatidevi, the mother of Somavamsi king Udyota Kesari. It was built with four Natyasalas at a place known as Siddhatirtha in Ekamra (modern-day Bhubaneswar). The inscription was recorded during the 18th renal year of Udyotha Kesari, corresponding to 1060 CE. Since the inscription is not in its original place, historians indicate the possibility of the reference to another temple, but based on the location and other features specified, it is ascertained that the inscription belongs to the temple. Also, another issue raised by Panigrahi is that the four cardinal temples are Angasalas (associate temples) and not Natyasalas (dance halls) as indicated in the inscription.
The temple is classified as a panchatanaya temple where apart from the main shrine, there are four subsidiary shrines in the four corners around the temple. The temple on account of its later origin has a perfectly developed structure compared to its predecessors. The vimana of the temple is 18.96 m (62.2 ft) tall. The temple is built with traditional architectural methods of wood carving, but applied on stone building. The buildings were built in a shape of full volume pyramid, and then they would be carved inside and outside. The total area of the land is 208.84 sq. m. and the temple is built on an area of 181.16 sq. m. The basic structure of the Orissan temple has two connecting buildings. The smaller is the Jagmohana, or assembly hall. Behind it is the Shikhara, the towering sanctuary. Later temples have two additional halls in front—one for dancing, and the other for banquets.
The Brahmeswara shows quite a bit of affinity with the much earlier Mukteswar Temple, including the carved interior of the Jagmohana, and in the sculptural iconography such as the lion head motif, which appeared for the first time in the Mukteswara, and is here evident in profusion. There are quite a number of innovations, however, including the introduction of a great number of musicians and dancers, some holding lutes, on the exterior walls. For the first time in temple architectural history, iron beams find their first use.
On sandstone walls, there are symbolic decorations and the notion of godlike figures that help the believer in his meditation. The carvings over the door frame contain beautiful flower designs as well as flying figures. Like the Rajarani, there are images of the eight directional Guardian Deities. There are also quite a number of tantric-related images, and even Chamunda appears on the western facade, holding a trident and a human head, standing on a corpse. Shiva and other deities are also depicted in their horrific aspects.One of the lost inscriptions stated that a Queen Kolavati presented ‘many beautiful women’ to the temple, and it has been suggested that this is evidence of the ‘Devadasi’ tradition, which assumed such importance in later Orissan temple architecture and temple life.
The Martand Sun Temple is a Hindu temple located near the city of Anantnag in the Kashmir Valley of Jammu and Kashmir (union territory), India. It dates back to the eighth century CE and was dedicated to Surya, the chief solar deity in Hinduism; Surya is also known by the Sanskrit-language synonym Martand (मार्तण्ड, Mārtaṇḍa). The temple was destroyed by Sikandar Shah Miri.
According to Kalhana, the Martand Sun Temple was commissioned by Lalitaditya Muktapida in the eighth century CE.According to Jonaraja (fl. 1430) as well as Hasan Ali, the temple was destroyed by Sikandar Shah Miri (1389-1413) in a zeal to Islamise the society under the advice of Sufi preacher Mir Muhammad Hamadani; Jonaraja pinned the blame on his chief-counsel Suhabhatta, a Brahman neo-convert who was held to have manifested a reign of intense persecution for the local Hindus whereas Ali particularly affirmed Sikandar’s own convictions in these aspects.
Scholars caution against accepting these sources at face value — Jonaraja was appointed by Sikandar’s son, who sought to bring back the Brahminical elite into the royal fold while later Muslim chroniclers had their motives to fit the past into an idealist tale of orthodox Islamic morality. According to Chitralekha Zutshi and Richard G. Salomon, Sikandar’s policies were guided by realpolitik and, like with the previous Hindu rulers, an attempt to secure political legitimacy by asserting state power over Brahmans and gaining access to wealth controlled by Brahminical institutions. J. L. Bhan notes a stone sculpture—a four-armed Brahma, sculpted by son of a Buddhist Sanghapati and dedicated to Sikandar—to challenge simplistic notions of religious persecution. Slaje disagrees about an absence of religious motivations but notes the aversion of Brahmin chroniclers to be, largely, the result of resistance to the gradual disintegration of caste-hierarchy under Muslim influence.
The Martand temple was built on top of a plateau from where one can view whole of the Kashmir Valley. From the ruins and related archaeological findings, it can be said it was an excellent specimen of Kashmiri architecture, which had blended the Gandharan, Gupta and Chinese forms of architecture. The Archaeological Survey of India has declared the Martand Sun Temple as a site of national importance in Jammu and Kashmir. The temple appears in the list of centrally protected monuments as Kartanda (Sun Temple).
The temple has a colonnaded courtyard, with its primary shrine in its center and surrounded by 84 smaller shrines, stretching to be 220 feet long and 142 feet broad total and incorporating a smaller temple that was previously built. The temple turns out to be the largest example of a peristyle in Kashmir, and is complex due to its various chambers that are proportional in size and aligned with the overall perimeter of the temple. In accordance with Hindu temple architecture, the primary entrance to the temple is situated in the western side of the quadrangle and is the same width as the temple itself, creating grandeur. The entrance is highly reflective of the temple as a whole due to its elaborate decoration and allusion to the deities worshiped inside. The primary shrine is located in a centralised structure (the temple proper) that is thought to have had a pyramidal top – a common feature of the temples in Kashmir. Various wall carvings in the antechamber of the temple proper depict other gods, such as Vishnu, and river goddesses, such as Ganga and Yamuna, in addition to the sun-god Surya.
The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple (Devanagari: कंदारिया महादेव मंदिर, Kandāriyā Mahādeva Mandir), meaning “the Great God of the Cave”, is the largest and most ornate Hindu temple in the medieval temple group found at Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, India. It is considered one of the best examples of temples preserved from the medieval period in India. Because of its outstanding preservation and testimony to the Chandela culture, the temple was inscribed on the UNESCOWorld Heritage List in 1986.
Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is located in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh in Central India. It is in the Khajuraho village, and the temple complex is spread over an area of 6 square kilometres (2.3 sq mi). It is in the western part of the village to the west of the Vishnu temple. The temple complex, in the Khajuraho village at an elevation of 282 metres (925 ft), is well connected by road, rail and air services. Khajuraho is 55 kilometres (34 mi) to the south of Mahoba, 47 kilometres (29 mi) away from the Chhatarpur city to its east, 43 kilometres (27 mi) away from Panna, 175 kilometres (109 mi) by road away from Jhansi on the north, and 600 kilometres (370 mi) to the south – east of Delhi. It is 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) from the railway station. Khajuraho is served by Khajuraho Airport (IATA Code: HJR), with services to Delhi, Agra and Mumbai. It is 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the temple.
Khajuraho was once the capital of the Chandela dynasty. The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, one of the best examples of temples preserved from the medieval period in India, is the largest of the western group of temples in the Khajuraho complex which was built by the Chandela rulers. Shiva is the chief deity in the temple deified in the sanctum sanctorum. The Kandariya Mahadeva temple was built during the reign of Vidyadhara (r. c. 1003-1035 CE). At various periods of the reign of this dynasty many famous temples dedicated to Vishnu, Shiva, Surya, Shakti of the Hindu religion and also for the Thirthankaras of Jain religion were built. Vidhyadhara, also known as Bida in the recordings of the Muslim historian Ibn-al-Athir was a powerful ruler who fought Mahmud of Ghazni in the first offensive launched by the latter in 1019. This battle was not conclusive and Mahmud had to return to Ghazni. Mahmud again waged war against Vidhyadhara in 1022. He attacked the fort of Kalinjar. The siege of the fort was unsuccessful. It was lifted and Mahmud and Vidhyadhara called a truce and parted by exchanging gifts. Vidhyadhara celebrated his success over Mahmud and other rulers by building the Kaṇḍāriyā Mahādeva Temple, dedicated to his family deity Shiva. Epigraphic inscriptions on a pilaster of the mandapa in the temple mentions the name of the builder of the temple as Virimda, which is interpreted as the pseudonym of Vidhyadhara. Its construction is dated to the period from 1025 and 1050 AD.
All the extant temples in Khajuraho including the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple were inscribed in 1986 under the UNESCOList of World Heritage Sites under Criterion III for its artistic creation and under Criterion V for the culture of the Chandelas that was dominant until the country was invaded by Muslims in 1202. The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, 31 metres (102 ft) in height, is in the western complex, which is the largest among the three groups of the Khajuraho complex of temples. This western group of temples, consisting of the Kandariya, Matangeshwara and Vishvanatha temples, is compared to a “cosmic design of a hexagon (a yantra or Cosmo gram)” representing the three forms of Shiva. The temple architecture is an assemblage of porches and towers which terminates in a shikhara or spire, a feature which was common from the 10th century onwards in the temples of Central India.
The temple is founded on a massive plinth of 4 metres (13 ft) height. The temple structure above the plinth is dexterously planned and pleasingly detailed. The superstructure is built in a steep mountain shape or form, symbolic of Mount Meru which is said to be the mythical source of creation of the world. The superstructure has richly decorated roofs which rise in a grand form terminating in the shikara, which has 84 miniature spires. The temple is in layout of 6 square kilometres (2.3 sq mi), of which 22 are extant including the Kaṇḍāriyā Mahādeva Temple. This temple is characteristically built over a plan of 31 metres (102 ft) in length and 20 metres (66 ft) in width with the main tower soaring to a height of 31 metres (102 ft), and is called the “largest and grandest temple of Khajuraho”. A series of steep steps with high rise lead from the ground level to the entrance to the temple. The layout of the temple is a five-part design, a commonality with the Lakshmana and Vishvanatha temples in the Khajuraho complex. Right at the entrance there is torana, a very intricately carved garland which is sculpted from a single stone; such entrances are part of a Hindu wedding procession. The carvings on the entrance gate shows the “tactile quality of the stone and also the character of the symmetrical design” that is on view in the entire temple which has high relief carvings of the figurines. Finely chiseled, the decorative quality of the ornamentation with the sharp inscribed lines has “strong angular forms and brilliant dark-light patterns”. The carvings are of circles, undulations giving off spirals or sprays, geometric patterns, masks of lions and other uniform designs which has created a pleasant picture that is unique to this temple, among all others in the complex.
Mukteshwara Temple (IAST: Mukteśwara; also spelt Mukteswara) is a 10th-century Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India. The temple dates back to 950–975 CE and is a monument of importance in the study of the development of Hindu temples in Odisha. The stylistic development the Mukteswara marks the culmination of all earlier developments, and initiates a period of experiment which continues for an entire century, as seen in such temples as the Rajarani Temple and Lingaraj temple, both located in Bhubaneswar. It is one of the prominent tourist attractions of the city.
The Mukteshvara Temple is found to be the earliest work from the Somavamshi period. Most scholars believe the temple is the successor to Parashurameshvara Temple and built earlier to the Brahmeswara Temple (1060 CE). Percy Brown puts the date of construction of the temple to 950 CE. The presence of a torana, which is not part of any other temple in the region, makes this temple unique and some of the representations indicate the builders were starters of a new culture. K.C. Panigrahi places the temple to be built during 966 CE and postulates that the Somavamshi king Yayati I built the temple. He also associates the legend of Kirtivassa to this temple, but the postulation is not accepted as Kirtivasa is associated with Lingaraja, though both were built at the same time for the same deity, Shiva. There is no historic evidence to conclude that Yayati had built the temple.
This architecture is one of the basic reasons why Mukteshvara Temple is also known as the “Gem of Odisha architecture” or “Kalinga Architecture” . The temple faces west and is constructed in a lower basement amidst a group of temples. The pyramidal roof to the jagamohana present in the temple was the first of its kind over the conventional two tier structure. The temple is a small one compared to other larger temples in Bhubaneswar. The temples is enclosed within an octagonal compound wall with elaborate carvings on it. It is believed that the experiment of newer pattern in the temple showed a mature phase compared to its predecessors and culminated the beginning of replication of similar pattern in the later temples in the city. The temple has a porch, called torana, which acts as the gateway to the octagonal compound. The temple has two structures namely, the vimana (structure above the sanctum) and a mukhasala, the leading hall, both of which are built on a raised platform. The temple is the earlies to be built in pithadeula type.
The most important feature of the Mukteshvara Temple is the torana, or the arched gateway, dating back to about 900 CE and showing the influence of Buddhist architecture. The arched gateway has thick pillars that have strings of beads and other ornaments carved on statues of smiling women in languorous repose. The porch is a walled chamber with a low, massive roof and internal pillars. The combination of vertical and horizontal lines is skilfully arranged so as to give dignity of buildings of moderate height. This early astylar form of the temple is best illustrated in this temple. The gateway has sculptures that range from elaborate scrolls to pleasant female forms and figures of monkeys and peacocks. The front and back of the arch are similar in design.
Mukteshvara means “Lord of Freedom” (from the cycle of births and deaths). The temple is dedicated to Hindu God Shiva. There are a number of sculptures of skeletal ascetics in teaching or meditation poses. Some scholars correlate the role of the temple as a centre for Tantric initiation with the name Mukteshvara as a possible thesis. The outer face of the compound wall has niches of Hindu deities like Saraswathi, Ganesha and Lakulisha (the fifth century founder of the Pashupata sect of tantric Shaivism). The numerous images of Lakulisha are found in miniature forms within Chaitya arches, showing various mudras like yoga, Bhumispara and vyakyana with yogapatta tied to their knees. They are accompanied by the images of the disciples. According to tradition, barren women give birth to sons if they take a dip in the Marichi Kunda tank in the premises of the temple on the night before Ashokashtami car festival. On the evening, the water in the tank is sold to the public.
The Durga temple is an early 8th-century Hindu temple located in Aihole, Karnataka, India. Originally dedicated to Surya, it has the most embellished and largest relief panels in Aihole depicting artwork of Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Shaktism and Vedic deities. Apart from its fine carvings, it is notable for its apsidal plan – a rare example among early Chalukyan Hindu temple architecture. Though dedicated to Surya, the temple is now named Durga because a durg or fortified lookout was constructed on top of it after the 13th-century during the wars between Hindu kingdoms and Islamic Sultanates. This rubble lookout survived through the 19th-century when this site was rediscovered (it is now gone, temple has been restored). The Durga temple is the most prominent attraction in Aihole for tourist and scholars. It is a part of a pending UNESCO World Heritage Site application.
The temple has been dated between the late 7th century and early 8th-century of the early Chalukya dynasty. According to Dhaky and Meister – scholars of Indian temple architecture, an inscription discovered in the 1970s confirms that this temple was originally dedicated to Surya, built by someone named Kumara, but does not include a date. On paleographic grounds, the inscription cannot be later than c. 700 CE.
The Durga temple at Aihole has been a subject of much debate and several wrong theories since it discovery. Gary Tartakov, a scholar of Architecture and Archaeology, has published a lengthy and detailed historiographic review of how it has baffled scholars, been misidentified and how some have wrongly accused early Hindus of appropriating a temple that did not belong to them. The ruins of Durga temple were re-discovered by Briggs – a British artillery officer in early 1860s. Briggs sensed the significance of its art and structure, took the earliest photographs and published them as “Shivite temple in Iwullee”. Shortly thereafter, James Fergusson announced it was “a Buddhist monument” because of its apsidal shape. Fergusson further speculated that it is an example of “inglorious, structural version of a Buddhist caitya hall” that was “appropriated by Brahmanical Hindus”. Thus began the long presumed exclusive association of apsidal plan architecture as Buddhist. As other scholars visited and examined other evidence such as the extensive reliefs and panels, the understanding and theories about the Durga temple evolved. James Burgess posited that this must have been a Vishnu temple from the start, as there was no evidence of any Buddhist temple or of appropriation by the Hindus. Henry Cousens was the first to link to it Surya, but through Surya-Narayana (Vishnu). As the Aihole site was further explored, excavated, more thoroughly cleaned up and restored in the 1960s and 1970s, new inscriptions were among the discoveries. In particular, in the cleaned sections of the Durga temple in the 1970s, a new inscription, from c. 700 CE, was found. It was accurately translated by K.V. Ramesh in 1976, later by Srinivas Padigar. This inscription confirmed that the temple was built by Kumara for Hindu deity Aditya (Surya).
According to Tartakov’s detailed review of the Durga temple, the inertia of the historic interpretations and the repetition of “stereotyped information” from colonial era scholarship has perpetuated the misunderstandings. According to Sinha – a scholar of Indian architecture and history, instead of the evidence and science on the Durga temple, the original orientalist framework has continued its influence on the Indian authors. Tartakov states that the writing of history of Durga temple as Buddhist or Buddhist-inspired has become a folklore and received truth, no matter what the evidence in the temple and the site says. According to some scholars such as George Michell, writing before Tartakov’s book was published, this 8th-century temple plan derives from rock-cut chaitya hall tradition that existed about a 1000 years earlier in 2nd to 1st-century BCE Buddhist caves. This view has been contested by other scholars who have published their studies after the publication of the Tartakov’s book. For example, Himanshu Prabha Ray questions the process of continuity over the ten centuries gap, quotes earliest Sanskrit texts on temple architecture and archaeological discoveries of ancient and medieval apsidal Hindu temples in many states of India. According to Philip Harding, Durga temple takes the “form of an apsidal temple with inner and outer ambulatories — a form early researchers considered a derivative of Buddhist chaitya halls, but is now generally recognized as a traditional Brahmanical form”.
The Durga temple has an apsidal plan for its sanctum, one that fuses with a square plan for the mandapa. This design seems to have borrowed influences from early apsidal Buddhist Chaitya Caves such as the Karla Chaitya. It is the largest of a group of over 120 temples at Aihole and illustrates a mature example of the Badami Chalukya architecture. The architecture of the temple is sophisticated as it combines an apsidal plan for the sanctum (garbhagriya) with a non-apsidal Nagara-latina shikhara with roots in North Indian architecture. In other parts such as the mandapa, it uses a mix of rectangular and square plans, all fronted by a mukhacatuski-style entrance. It integrates an ambulatory passage within. This fusion of north and south Indian ideas on architecture is not disjointed, but one well integrated. For example, the adhisthana is formulated by a Nagara khura-kumbha, and the decoration with it is Dravida. The most original feature of the temple is a peristyle delimiting an ambulatory around the temple itself and whose walls are covered with sculptures of different gods or goddesses. The rounded ends at the rear or sanctuary end include a total of three layers: the wall of the sanctuary itself, the main temple wall beyond a passageway running behind this, and a pteroma or ambulatory as an open loggia with pillars, running all round the building. Stone grilles with various geometrical openwork patterns ventilate the interior from the ambulatory. The heart of the shrine (garba griha) is surmounted by a tower which announces the future higher towers shikharas and vimanas. The amalaka that once crowned the shikara is on the ground nearby (visible in top picture).
Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple a.k.a Arulmigu Meenakshi Amman Thirukkovil is a historic Hindu temple located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi, a form of Shakti, and her consort, Sundareshwarar, a form of Shiva. The temple is at the centre of the ancient temple city of Madurai mentioned in the Tamil Sangam literature, with the goddess temple mentioned in 6th-century CE texts. This temple is one of the Paadal Petra Sthalams, which are 275 temples of Shiva that are revered in the verses of Tamil Saiva Nayanars of the 6th-9th century CE.The west tower (gopuram) of the temple is the model based on which the Tamil Nadu State Emblem is designed.
Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple was built by Pandyan Emperor Sadayavarman Kulasekaran I (1190 CE–1205 CE). He built the main Portions of the three-storeyed Gopuram at the entrance of Sundareswarar Shrine and the central portion of the Goddess Meenakshi Shrine are some of the earliest surviving parts of the temple. The traditional texts call him a poet-saint king, additionally credit him with a poem called Ambikai Malai, as well as shrines (koil) each for Natarajar and Surya near the main temple, Ayyanar in the east, Vinayagar in the south, Kariamalperumal in the west and Kali in the north. He also built a Mahamandapam. Kulasekara Pandya was also a poet and he composed a poem on Meenakshi named Ambikai Malai. Maravarman Sundara Pandyan I built a gopuram in 1231, then called Avanivendaraman, later rebuilt, expanded and named as Sundara Pandya Thirukkopuram. Chitra gopuram (W), also known as Muttalakkum Vayil, was built by Maravarman Sundara Pandyan II (1238-1251). This gopuram is named after the frescoes and reliefs that depict secular and religious themes of Hindu culture. Maravarman Sundara Pandyan II also added a pillared corridor to the Sundareswara shrine and the Sundara Pandyan Mandapam. It was rebuilt after the 14th-century damage, its granite structure was renovated by Kumara Krishnappar after 1595.
Though the temple has historic roots, most of the present campus structure was rebuilt after the 14th century CE, further repaired, renovated and expanded in the 17th century by Tirumala Nayaka. In the early 14th century, the armies of Delhi Sultanate led by Muslim Commander Malik Kafur plundered the temple, looted it of its valuables and destroyed the Madurai temple town along with many other temple towns of South India. The contemporary temple is the result of rebuilding efforts started by the Vijayanagara Empire rulers who rebuilt the core and reopened the temple. In the 16th century, the temple complex was further expanded and fortified by the Nayak ruler Vishwanatha Nayakar and later others. The restored complex now houses 14 gopurams (gateway towers), ranging from 45–50 m in height, with the southern gopura tallest at 51.9 metres (170 ft). The complex has numerous sculpted pillared halls such as Aayirankaal (1000-pillared hall), Kilikoondu-mandapam, Golu-mandapam and Pudu-mandapam. Its shrines are dedicated to Hindu deities and Shaivism scholars, with the vimanas above the garbhagrihas (sanctums) of Meenakshi and Sundaresvara gilded with gold.
The temple is a major pilgrimage destination within the Shaivism tradition, dedicated to Meenakshi Devi and Shiva. However, the temple includes Vishnu in many narratives, sculptures and rituals as he is considered to be Meenakshi’s brother. This has made this temple and Madurai as the “southern Mathura”, one included in Vaishnava texts. The Meenakshi temple also includes Lakshmi, flute playing Krishna, Rukmini, Brahma, Saraswati, and other Vedic and Puranic deities, as well as artwork showing narratives from major Hindu texts. The large temple complex is the most prominent landmark in Madurai and attracts tens of thousands of visitors a day. The temple attracts over a million pilgrims and visitors during the annual 10-day Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival, celebrated with much festivities and a ratha (chariot) procession during the Tamil month of Chittirai (overlaps with April–May in the Georgian calendar, Chaitra in North India). The Temple has been adjudged the best ‘Swachh Iconic Place’ in India as on 1 October 2017 under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
The town of Madurai is ancient and one mentioned in Sangam era texts. These are dated to be from the 1st to 4th century CE. Some early Tamil texts call Madurai as Koodal, and these portray it as a capital and a temple town where every street radiated from the temple. Goddess Meenakshi is described as the divine ruler, who along with Shiva were the primary deities that the southern Tamil kingdoms such as the Pandya dynasty revered. The early texts imply that a temple existed in Madurai by the mid-6th century. In medieval literature and inscriptions, it is sometimes referred to as Kadambavanam (lit. “forest of Kadamba”) or Velliambalam (lit. “silver hall” where Shiva danced). It was described to be the Sangam of scholars, or a place where scholars meet. It is mentioned in the Tamil text Tiruvilayadalpuranam and the Sanskrit text Halasya Mahatmya. It is one of the shrines of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams.Early Tamil texts mention the temple and its primary deity by various epithets and names. Thirugnanasambandar, the famous Hindu saint of Saiva philosophy for example, mentioned this temple in the 7th century, and described the deity as Aalavaai Iraivan. The origin of the temple is mentioned in these early Tamil texts, some in the regional Puranam genre of literature. All of these place the temple in ancient times and include a warrior goddess, but the details vary significantly and are inconsistent with each other. Some link to it deities they call Aalavaai Iraivan and Aalavaai Annal, or alternatively Angayar Kanni Ammai. Some link its legend to other deities such as Indra who proclaim the primacy of the goddess, while some describe Hindu gods appearing before ancient kings or saints urging wealthy merchants to build this temple in the honour of a goddess. One legend describes a childless king and queen performing yajna for a son, they get a daughter who inherits the kingdom, conquers the earth, meets Shiva ultimately, marries him, continues to rule from Madurai, and the temple memorializes those times. Scholars have attempted to determine the history of the temple from inscriptions found in and outside Madurai, as well as comparing the records relating to South Indian dynasties. These largely post-date the 12th century.
The goddess Meenakshi is the principal deity of the temple, unlike most Shiva temples in South India where Shiva is the principal deity. According to the Tamil text Tiruvilaiyatarpuranam, King Malayadwaja Pandya and his wife Kanchanamalai performed a Yajna seeking a son for succession. Instead, a daughter was born out of the fire who was already 3 years old and had three breasts. Shiva intervened and said that the parents should treat her like a son, and when she meets her husband, she will lose the third breast. They followed the advice. The girl grew up, the king crowned her as the successor and when she met Shiva, his words came true, she took her true form of Meenakshi. According to Harman, this may reflect the matrilineal traditions in South India and the regional belief that “penultimate [spiritual] powers rest with the women”, gods listen to their spouse, and that the fates of kingdoms rest with the women. According to Susan Bayly, the reverence for Meenakshi is a part of the Hindu goddess tradition that integrates with the Hindu society where the “woman is the lynchpin of the system” of social relationships. The marriage of Meenakshi and Shiva was a grand event, with all gods, goddesses and living beings gathered. Vishnu is believed to be the brother of Meenakshi, giving her away to Shiva at the wedding.
The Shri Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple (श्री त्र्यंबकेश्वर ज्योतिर्लिंग मंदिर) is an ancient Hindu temple in the town of Trimbak, in the Trimbakeshwar tehsil in the Nashik District of Maharashtra, India, 28 km from the city of Nashik and 40 km from Nashik road. It is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and is one of the twelve jyotirlingas where the Hindu genealogy registers at Trimbakeshwar, Maharashtra are kept. The origin of the sacred Godavari river is near Trimbak. Kusavarta kunda (sacred pond) in the temple premises, built by Shrimant Sardar Raosaheb Parnerkar who was the Fadnavis of Indore State, is the source of the Godavari River, the second longest river in India. A bust of Sardar Fadnavis and his wife can be seen on the edge of the kunda. The current temple was built by Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao after it was destroyed by Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.
The temple is located between three hills namely Brahmagiri, Nilagiri and Kalagiri. The temple has three lingas (an iconic form of Shiva) representing Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. The temple tank is called Amritavarshini, which measured 28 m (92 ft) by 30 m (98 ft). There are three other bodies of water, namely, Bilvatirtha, Viswanantirtha and Mukundatirtha. There are images of various deities, namely, Ganga, Jaleswara, Rameswara, Gautameswara, Kedarnatha, Rama, Krishna, Parashurama and Lakshmi Narayana. The temple also has several monasteries and samadhis of saints.
As per the Shiva Purana, once Brahma (the Hindu God of creation) and Vishnu (the Hindu God of preservation) had an argument in terms of supremacy of creation. To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. Vishnu and Brahma split their ways to downwards and upwards respectively to find the end of the light in either direction. Brahma lied that he found out the end, while Vishnu conceded his defeat. Shiva appeared as the second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that he would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshipped till the end of eternity. The jyotirlinga is the supreme partless reality, out of which Shiva partly appears. The Jyotirlinga shrines, thus are places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. Originally there were believed to be 64 jyotirlingas while 12 of them are considered to be very auspicious and holy. Each of the twelve jyotirlinga sites take the name of the presiding deity – each considered different manifestation of Shiva. At all these sites, the primary image is lingam representing the beginningless and endless Stambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.
The twelve jyothirlinga are Somnath in Gujarat, Mallikarjuna at Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh, Mahakaleswar at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh, Kedarnath in Himalayas, Bhimashankar in Maharashtra, Viswanath at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Trimbakeshwar in Maharashtra, Vaidyanath at Deoghar in Jharkhand, Nageshwar Temple at Dwaraka in Gujarat, Rameshwar at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Grishneshwar at Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Shiva showed himself as a Jyotirlinga on the night of the Aridra Nakshatra. It is believed that a person can see the Jyotirlingas as columns of fire piercing through the earth as he reaches a higher level of spiritual attainment. Each Jyotirlinga site takes the name of the presiding deity. Basically, the Jyotirlinga signifies the infinite nature of Shiva. At the highest level, Shiva is regarded as formless, limitless, transcendent and unchanging absolute Brahman and the primal Atman (soul, self) of the universe.
Shri Trimbakeshwar is a religious center having one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. The extraordinary feature of the Jyotirlinga located here is its three faces embodying Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Due to the excessive use of water, the linga has started to erode. It is said that this erosion symbolizes the eroding nature of human society. The Lingas are covered by a jeweled crown which is placed over the Gold Mask of Trideva (Brahma Vishnu Shiva). The crown is said to be from the age of Pandavas and consists of diamonds, emeralds, and many precious stones. The crown is displayed every Monday from 4-5 pm (Shiva). All other Jyotirlingas have Shiva as the main deity. The entire black stone temple is known for its appealing architecture and sculpture and is at the foothills of a mountain called Brahmagiri. Three sources of the Godavari originate from the Brahmagiri mountain.
Ramappa Temple, also known as the Rudreswara temple, is a Kakatiya styleHindu temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, located in Telangana, India. It is 15 km (9.3 mi) from Mulugu, 66 km (41 mi) from Warangal, 209 km (130 mi) from Hyderabad. An inscription in the temple says it was constructed in the year 1213 CE by Recherla Rudra—a general of Kakatiya ruler Ganapati Deva (r. 1199–1262). Located in the vicinity of Ramappa Lake, the Ramappa Temple complex which consist of three temples was constructed between 1212 and 1234, designed and architect by Ramappa—after whom the temple complex is named.Marco Polo, during his visit to the Kakatiya empire, supposedly called the temple “the brightest star in the galaxy of temples”. In July 2021, Ramappa Temple was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ramappa Temple stands on a 6-foot (1.8 m) high star-shaped platform. The hall in front of the sanctum has numerous carved pillars that have been positioned to create an effect that combines light and space wonderfully. The temple is named after the sculptor Ramappa, who built it, making it the only temple in India to be named after its craftsman.
The main structure is in a reddish sandstone, but the columns round the outside have large brackets of black basalt which is rich in iron, magnesium and silica. These are carved as mythical animals or female dancers or musicians, and are “the masterpieces of Kakatiya art, notable for their delicate carving, sensuous postures and elongated bodies and heads”. On 25 July 2021, the temple was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as “Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Telangana”.
Tourist attractions of Ramappa Temple, Ramappa lake, and Laknavaram lake are located in Mulugu distrtict. Jampanna vagu (stream) and Dayyala vagu (stream) flow in this district and there are few water falls in this district. Ramappa Lake, constructed in 13th Century A.D. during Ganapathi Deva’s time substantiates the intricate irrigation work of the Kakatiyas. And the Laknavaram Lake, surrounded by deciduous forests is a very popular tourist spot.
Lingaraja Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva and is one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar, the capital of the Indian state of Odisha, India. The temple is the most prominent landmark of Bhubaneswar city and one of the major tourist attractions of the state. The Lingaraja temple is the largest temple in Bhubaneswar. The central tower of the temple is 180 ft (55 m) tall. The temple represents the quintessence of the Kalinga architecture and culminating the medieval stages of the architectural tradition at Bhubaneswar. The temple is believed to be built by the kings from the Somavamsi dynasty, with later additions from the Ganga rulers. The temple is built in the Deula style that has four components namely, vimana (structure containing the sanctum), jagamohana (assembly hall), natamandira (festival hall) and bhoga-mandapa (hall of offerings), each increasing in the height to its predecessor. The temple complex has 108 other shrines and is enclosed by a large compound wall.
Bhubaneswar is called the Ekamra Kshetra as the deity of Lingaraja was originally under a mango tree (Ekamra) as noted in Ekamra Purana, a 13th-century Sanskrit treatise. The temple is active in worship practises, unlike most other temples in Bhubaneswar. The temple has images of Vishnu, possibly because of the rising prominence of Jagannath sect emanating from the Ganga rulers who built the Jagannath Temple in Puri in the 12th century. The central deity of the temple, Lingaraja, is worshipped as Shiva.
Lingaraja temple is maintained by the Temple Trust Board and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The temple has an average of 6,000 visitors per day and receives lakhs of visitors during festivals. Shivaratri festival is the major festival celebrated in the temple and event during 2012 witnessed 200,000 visitors. The temple compound is not open to non-Hindus, but there is a viewing platform beside the wall offering a good view of the main exteriors. This was originally erected for a visit by Lord Curzon when Viceroy. The temple in its present form dates back to the last decade of the eleventh century. There is evidence that part of the temple was built during the sixth century CE as mentioned in some of the seventh century Sanskrit texts. Fergusson believes that the temple might have been initiated by Lalat Indu Keshari who reigned from 615 to 657 CE. The Assembly hall (jagamohana), sanctum and temple tower were built during the eleventh century, while the Hall of offering (bhoga-mandapa) was built during the twelfth century. The natamandira was built by the wife of Salini between 1099 and 1104 CE. By the time the Lingaraja temple was completely constructed, the Jagannath (form of Vishnu) sect had been growing in the region, which historians believe, is evidenced by the co-existence of Vishnu and Shiva worship at the temple. The kings of Ganga dynasty were ardent followers of Vaishnavism, [shaivism] and [shaktism] and built the Jagannath Temple at Puri in the 12th century.
As per some accounts, the temple is believed to have been built by the Somavanshi king Yayati I (1025-1040), during the 11th century CE. Jajati Keshari shifted his capital from Jajpur to Bhubaneswar which was referred to as Ekamra Kshetra in the Brahma Purana, an ancient scripture. One of the Somavamsi queens donated a village to the temple and the Brahmins attached to the temple received generous grants. An inscription from the Saka year 1094 (1172 CE) indicates gifts of gold coins to the temple by Rajaraja II. Another inscription of Narasimha I from the 11th century indicates offer of beetel leaves as tambula to the presiding deity. Other stone inscriptions in the temple indicate royal grants from Chodaganga to the nearby village people.K.C. Panigrahi mentions that Yayti I had no time to build the temple and it should have been initiated by his sons Ananta Kesari and Udyota Kesari (believed to be other names of Yayati II as well). The argument provided against the view is that is his weak successors could not have constructed such a magnificent structure.
The Lingaraja temple is the largest temple in Bhubaneswar. James Fergusson (1808–86), a noted critic and historian rated the temple as “one of the finest examples of purely Hindu temple in India”. It is enshrined within a spacious compound wall of laterite measuring 520 ft (160 m) by 465 ft (142 m). The wall is 7.5 ft (2.3 m) thick and surmounted by a plain slant coping. Alongside the inner face of the boundary wall, there is a terrace to protect the compound wall against outside aggression. The tower is 45.11 m (148.0 ft) high and the complex has 150 smaller shrines in its spacious courtyard. Each inch of the 55 m (180 ft) tall tower is sculpted. The door in the gate of the entrance porch is made of sandalwood. The Lingaraja temple faces east and is built of sandstone and laterite. The main entrance is located in the east, while there are small entrances in the north and south. The temple is built in the Deula style that has four components namely, vimana (structure containing the sanctum), jagamohana (assembly hall), natamandira (festival hall) and bhoga-mandapa (hall of offerings), with all four in axial alignment with descending height. The dance hall was associated with the raising prominence of the devadasi system that existed during the time. The various units from the Hall of offering to the tower of the sanctum increase in height.