“I have witnessed two types of mindset, one where people remove their footwear before entering an empty sanctum with a thought that there would have been a deity or a lord at some point of time in the past. And others, who walk all over the temple with their shoes and do not respect the heritage of our country,” expressed Shefali Vaidya during the interactive session, ‘Temple Architecture: History and Evolution’ organised by Manthan on Sunday at Chitnavis Centre.
Speaking about the important and sacred element of the Temples, temple tanks Vaidya said, temple tanks played an important role in the vicinity of temples in the ancient times. Unlike today, there was no access to water pipelines. Hence, the community people contributed to the water that was collected and stored in the tanks. This water acted as source of potable water during summers. Since, it was maintained by the temple authorities it was kept clean. However, today the temple tanks can be seen in a shabby state. If one person throws a plastic bottle in an empty temple tank, 500 people do the same thing instead of cleaning it.
Speaking about what is a temple, Vaidya said, a temple is a focal point of the community and also a place of learning, apart from a place where our deity resides and people visit the icon for their spiritual growth. She stressed on worshiping with all senses, which includes, sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. This can be achieved by ringing the temple bell, lighting the lamp, offering flowers and dhoop, drinking the teerth and having Prasad and taking the heat of the aarti.
Speaking upon the elements of temple architecture, Vaidya emphasised that the sanctuary as a whole is known as Vimana, which consists of two parts, the upper called as Shikhara and the lower known as Garbhagriha. Shikhara is the tallest tapering portion of the temple which represents Mount Meru, an abode of the Gods. There is a pradakshina path outside Garbhagriha where the devotees walk around the deity in a clockwise direction. The Mandapa is the pillared hall in front of the Garbhgriha where devotees assemble. She opined that Garbhagriha is dark inside because it represents the cosmic womb.
She narrated the architecture of temples and their evolution right from the Sindhu-Saraswati civilization, which was the first to find the seals of Pashupati Shiva, which is the first available pictorial depiction.
Vaidya stressed upon Rashtrakuta, Pallava, Chozha and Hoysala architecture. She concluded her talk by stressing how the mindset of people needs to change. The temples must be considered as ours and only then they would be maintained and would be brought back to glory.
The event was conducted was Premlata Daga, while Sagar Mitkary proposed the vote of thanks.
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