Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thillai Nataraj

This is the Thillai Nataraj Temple in Chidambaram, India.  This temple was created for one of the Hindu gods Shiva.  The Thillai Nataraj Temple, is located in the center of the town Chidambaram.  The temple grounds spread across 40 acres, and has been a worshiping place of Shiva since the classical period.  This temple is one of five Pancha Bootha Sthalams, the holiest Shiva temples that depict one of the five elements.  The one that this temple represents is akasha, which in the material world means the basis and essence of all living things.

Some of the cool Architecture of this temple, is that it is built on the center point of the Earth's equator.  Two of the other temples mentioned above, and this temple, are all on a straight line on the same longitudinal line.  These temples are depicted to represent the human body, the roof of this temple has 26,000 golden tiles, which ironically are the number of breathes a person has in one day.  These tiles are put in place by 72,000 nails, which is the amount of invisible ducts that carry energy to the body.,_Chidambaram

Post written by Matthew Spangler

Dharmaraja Ratha

“The Dharmaraja Ratha is a hindu temple from the Pallava period (mid-7th century.)
During the Pallava dynasty, Hindu art flourished in southern India.
These works were most likely commissioned by Mamalla I.
A wonderful version of a southern-styled Hindu temple is the Dharmaraja Ratha.
Two art forms are fused in these monuments by reproducing architecture in sculpture form.
The process for carving these large architectural sculptures is similar to that developed by the sculptors of the Buddhist cave-temples, but here the rathas are masses in space not space in masses.
ratha is a vehicle of the gods, carved from a series of boulder out-crops.
An exterior statue is a portrait of Mamalla I, posed stiffly to show authority, like a god.”

Post written by Amelia Kirby

Vaishno Devi

The temple of Vaishno Devi is placed amongst snow capped mountains in the Trikuta mountain in Jammu and Kashir, India. It is one of the most common places for people that travel to India to visit. It is said that the Goddess Vaishno speaks to her followers and once a person receives her "calling", they drop what they are doing and they march toward the temple of Vaishno Devi. Her loyal followers seem to be drawn by a supernatural occurrence and whilst climbing up to the temple they chant, "Prem se bolo, Jai Mata Di". Since this journey is scaling 5,200 feet above sea level, they have a long way to chant and reflect on themselves. 

This temple is among the snow capped mountains and yet, it is still stone washed white. It has an openness of a "courtyard" feel to it and also has a sense of protection with the center being encased. On the roof, there are the smaller box like instances and they have the typical curve of Hindu temples. The columns and the peaks on the roof are almost like they are trying to become closer to the heavens. For dropping everything and responding to a "calling" this is a beautiful place to be called to. 

[Picture from Flickr and the factual information comes from]

Post written by Kelsey Patterson

Kandarya Mahadeva

The Kendarya Mahadeva (Lord of Lords) temple, located in Khajuraho, is a beautifully designed structure that exemplifies the northern Hindu style of temple architecture. Unlike the southern temples, the northern style is much more tightly compact and in many cases more of a single structure rather than multiple structures combined to create a single complex. The design of Kendarya Mahadeva temple is an elongated double crucifix and rests on a single platform. The spires are of a design meant to resemble that of the peaks of the Himalayas, home of the Gods. Like many other temples Kendarya Mahadeva temple was originally whitewashed to further resemble the snowy peaks of the mountains but over time has weathered away to reveal the base sandstone that the temple consists of.
  The lines contained in the design of the spires is used to point upwards towards the Heavens. The compact design combined with the repetitive patterns create a sense of energy within the structure which is further strengthened by the arching spire walls. Although the northern temples are much smaller than most of the southern design, Kandarya Mahadeva appears to be much larger than it is because of its high platform and cluster of spires. The steps lead visitors into a large sanctuary containing a Shiva Lingam. The Shiva Lingam is a stone that represents the infinite nature of Shiva and is utilized for prayer and worship within the temple.  
(Image from hartjeff12, Flickr. Source of factual information Art Beyond the West second edition by Kampen O'Riley)

Rajarajeshvara Temple

The Rajarajeshvara Temple or Brihadesvara temple as know by many, is a Hindu temple located at Thanjavur (Tanjore) India which was created for the Hindu deity Shiva around 1000 CE. This magnificient structure was created during the Chola dynasty which at that time was under the rule of Rajaraja I, who ruled c. 985-1014 and was known as the "king of kings." The political conditions of this rule are evident throughout the fortifications surrounding the temple including a moat that encompasses the temple as well as Rajaraja's capital city Thanjavur.

During the Chola dynasty the Rajarajeshvara temple was known to house many scultures of bronz and copper which were to be used during ritual processions. One of this temples many memorable features is the steep thirteen-leveled pyramidal vimana which is topped with a gold-pleated finial. Local legend says that a massive 4.5 mile long ramp was created to roll the top piece into place. This temple is said to represent one of the high points of the southern Indian style with its temple construction.

Image courtesy of Ryan (ryPix) from
Source of factual information found from Art Beyond the West Second Edition by Micheal Kampen O'Riley