Hindu temple

Elements in a Hindu temple architecture.
The 9x9 (81) grid "Parama Sayika" layout plan (above) found in large ceremonial Hindu Temples. It is one of many grids used to build Hindu temples. In this structure of symmetry, each concentric layer has significance. The outermost layer, Paisachika padas, signifies aspects of Asuras and evil; while the inner Devika padas layer signifies aspects of Devas and good. In between the good and evil is the concentric layer of Manusha padas, signifying human life. All these layers surround Brahma padas, which signifies creative energy and the site for a temple's primary murti for darsana. Finally at the very center of the Brahma padas is the Garbhagriha (Purusa Space), signifying the Universal Principle present in everything and everyone.
Hindu temple sites cover a wide range. The most common sites are those near water bodies, embedded in nature, such as the Bhutanatha temple complex at Badami, which is next to a waterfall.
Ancient India produced many Sanskrit manuals for Hindu temple design and construction, covering arrangement of spaces (above) to every aspect of its completion. Yet, the Silpins were given wide latitude to experiment and express their creativity.
Chaturbhuj Temple at Orchha, is noted for having one of the tallest Vimana among Hindu temples standing at 344 feet.
The Golden Temple at Vellore is gilded with 1500 kg of pure gold.
Illustration of Chitrardha style of art work in a Hindu temple.
Jagannath Temple at Puri, one of Char Dham: the four main spiritual centers of Hinduism.
Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata
Bird's Eye view of one of the four Char Dhams, The Jagannath Temple at Puri, Odisha built using the Kalinga Architecture.
Saptakoteshwar Temple, Goa.
Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur, Kerala.
An aerial view of the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, from the top of the southern gopuram, looking north. The temple was built by the Pandyan Empire.
Pashupatinath Temple from the other bank of Bagmati river, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Art relief at the Hindu temple Banteay Srei in Cambodia.
The Besakih temple complex, largest Hindu temple in Bali, Indonesia.
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, Bali, Indonesia.
The Prambanan temple complex in Yogyakarta, the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia and the second largest Hindu temple in Southeast Asia.
Partially ruined Mỹ Sơn Hindu temple complex, Vietnam.
Sri Mariamman Temple, Bangkok
The 5th-century Ladkhan Shiva Temple, in the Aihole Hindu-Jain-Buddhist temple site, in Karnataka.
Plan of 5th-century temples in Eran, Madhya Pradesh.
The early 6th-century Dashavatara Temple in the Deogarh complex has a simple, one-cell plan.
1880 sketch of the 9-square floorplan of the same temple (not to scale or complete). For better drawings:<ref>Madho Sarup Vats (1952), The Gupta Temple at Deogarh, Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of India, Vol. LXX, pages 49-51 Plates 1-3</ref>
Layout of Cave 3 temple of the 6th-century Chalukyan-style Badami cave temples
Plan of the 6th-century main-cave temple at Elephanta.
The Elephanta main cave is thought to follow this mandala design.<ref>{{cite book|author1=Carmel Berkson|author2=Wendy Doniger|author3=George Michell|title=Elephanta: The Cave of Shiva|url=https://books.google.com/books?id=_RYqq7um0hcC|year=1999|publisher=Princeton University Press (Motilal Banarsidass, Reprint)|isbn=978-81-208-1284-0|pages=17–21}}</ref>
A 7th century Chalukyan-style temple ceiling, also in Aihole.
Rani ki vav is an 11th-century stepwell, built by the Chaulukya dynasty, located in Patan. The stepwell remains well-preserved, but is partly silted over.
The Somnath temple in Gujarat was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt. Here it is shown in 1869, after having been ruined by order of Aurangzeb in 1665. These ruins were demolished and the temple rebuilt in the 1950s.
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple was destroyed by the army of Qutb al-Din Aibak in 1194 CE. Since then, it has been demolished twice (in the 1400s, and 1669 CE) and rebuilt four times (in the 1200s, twice in the 1500s under Akbar, and in the 1800s). Shown is the current 1800s temple, with the white domes and minaret of the co-located 1600s Gyanvapi Mosque in the background. The tonne of gold for the temple roof was donated by Ranjit Singh in 1835.<ref>{{cite book|url=https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.217371|title=The Sacred City of the Hindus: An Account of Benares in Ancient and Modern Times|author=Matthew Atmore Sherring|publisher=Trübner & co.|year=1868|page=51 }}</ref><ref name="Madhuri_2007">{{cite book|author=Madhuri Desai|title=Resurrecting Banaras: Urban Space, Architecture and Religious Boundaries|url=https://books.google.com/books?id=KdD3MYnYey8C&pg=PA30|year=2007|isbn=978-0-549-52839-5 }}</ref>
An 1832 reconstruction of the 1500s temple Akbar funded. James Prinsep based the reconstruction on the foundations of the Gyanvapi Mosque. Many Hindu temples were rebuilt as mosques between 12th and 18th century CE.
Ruins of the Martand Sun Temple after being destroyed on the orders of the Sultan of Kashmir, Sikandar the Iconoclast, in the early 15th century, with demolition lasting a year.
In the 14th century, the armies of Delhi Sultanate, led by Malik Kafur, plundered the Meenakshi Temple and looted it of its valuables; it was rebuilt and expanded in the 16th century.
Kakatiya Kala Thoranam (the Warangal Gate) built in the 12th century by the Kakatiya dynasty; the Warangal Fort temple complex was destroyed in the 1300s by the Delhi Sultanate.<ref name=re2000>Richard Eaton (2000), Temple Desecration and Indo-Muslim States, Journal of Islamic Studies, 11(3), pp 283-319</ref>
Artistic rendition of the Kirtistambh, a surviving portion of the 10-11th century Rudra Mahalaya Temple. The temple was partly destroyed by the Sultan of Delhi, Alauddin Khalji, in 1296 CE, with part converted into a mosque and further parts destroyed by Ahmed Shah I in the fifteenth century.
Exterior wall reliefs at Hoysaleswara Temple. The temple was twice sacked and plundered by the Delhi Sultanate in the early 14th century, and abandoned in the mid 14th century.<ref name="Bradnock2000p959">{{cite book|author1=Robert Bradnock|author2=Roma Bradnock|title=India Handbook|url=https://books.google.com/books?id=2hCFDsTbmhoC|year=2000|publisher=McGraw-Hill|isbn=978-0-658-01151-1|page=959}}</ref>
The 12th-century Mahadev Temple is the only Kadamba-period temple building to survive the Goa Inquisition.
The Ganesh temple of Hindu Temple Society of North America is the oldest Hindu temple in the Western hemisphere, in Flushing, Queens, New York City.
Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville, New Jersey, U.S., is the largest Hindu temple in the Western hemisphere.<ref name="World'sLargestHinduTempleNJ">{{cite web|url=https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/worlds-largest-hindu-temple-being-built-new-jersey-n166616|title=World's Largest Hindu Temple Being Built in New Jersey|author=Frances Kai-Hwa Wang|publisher=NBC News|access-date=April 23, 2019}}</ref>
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London, United Kingdom.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto, Canada.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Los Angeles, United States.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Houston, United States.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Atlanta, United States.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chicago, United States.

Symbolic house, seat and body of divinity for Hindus.

- Hindu temple

500 related topics



Indian religion and dharma, or way of life.

A Balinese Hindu family after puja at Bratan temple in Bali, Indonesia
Om, a stylized letter of Devanagari script, used as a religious symbol in Hinduism
Swami Vivekananda was a key figure in introducing Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and the United States, raising interfaith awareness and making Hinduism a world religion.
Ganesha is one of the best-known and most worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon.
The Hare Krishna group at the Esplanadi Park in Helsinki, Finland
The festival of lights, Diwali, is celebrated by Hindus all over the world.
Hindus in Ghana celebrating Ganesh Chaturti
Holi celebrated at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Utah, United States.
Kedar Ghat, a bathing place for pilgrims on the Ganges at Varanasi
Priests performing Kalyanam (marriage) of the holy deities at Bhadrachalam Temple, in Telangana. It is one of the temples in India, where Kalyanam is done everyday throughout the year.
A statue of Shiva in yogic meditation.
Basic Hindu symbols: Shatkona, Padma, and Swastika.
Kauai Hindu monastery in Kauai Island in Hawaii is the only Hindu Monastery in the North American continent.
A sadhu in Madurai, India.
The Hindu Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram was built by Narasimhavarman II.

Hinduism is a diverse system of thought marked by a range of philosophies and shared concepts, rituals, cosmological systems, pilgrimage sites, and shared textual sources that discuss theology, metaphysics, mythology, Vedic yajna, yoga, agamic rituals, and temple building, among other topics.

Vastu shastra

Vastu shastra ( - literally "science of architecture" ) are texts on the traditional Indian system of architecture.

Some town plans recommended in the 700 CE Manasara vastu text.
Ancient India produced many Sanskrit texts of architecture, called Vastu Sastra. Many of these are about Hindu temple layout (above), design and construction, along with chapters on design principles for houses, villages, towns. The architect and artists (Silpins) were given wide latitude to experiment and express their creativity.
The 8x8 (64) grid Manduka Vastu Purusha Mandala layout for Hindu Temples. It is one of 32 Vastu Purusha Mandala grid patterns described in Vastu sastras. In this grid structure of symmetry, each concentric layer has significance.
Vastu Shastra-inspired plan adapted and evolved by modern architect Charles Correa in the design of Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur, Rajasthan.

Ancient Vastu Shastra principles include those for the design of Mandir (Hindu temples), and the principles for the design and layout of houses, towns, cities, gardens, roads, water works, shops and other public areas.


General term for an image, statue or idol of a deity or mortal in Hindu culture.

A murti of Parvati Ganesha in Maheshwar temple, Madhya Pradesh
Goddess Durga and a pantheon of other gods and goddesses (Ganesh, Lakshmi, Sarasvati, Kartik) being worshipped during Durga Puja, North Kolkata
Men carving stone idols or murti. Mahabalipuram. 2010
A murti of mother goddess Matrika, from Rajasthan 6th century CE.
A collection of modern-day murti featuring the elephant-headed God, Lord Ganesha.
8th-century ivory murti parts from Kashmir. Numerous Hindu and Buddhist temples and sculpture in Kashmir were built and destroyed, during Indian subcontinent's Islamic rule period. During this period, some murti of Hindu deities were preserved in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries.
6th-century murti carvings, Badami caves, Karnataka.

Saumya images are most common in Hindu temples.


Devotees offering prayers at the Garbhagriha in Chennakeshava Temple, Belur, which houses the icon of the god Vishnu.
Garbhagriha at Pattadakal with the Lingam icon of the god Shiva.

A garbhagriha or sannidhanam is the sanctum sanctorum, the innermost sanctuary of a Hindu and Jain temples where resides the murti (idol or icon) of the primary deity of the temple.

Puja (Hinduism)

Worship ritual performed by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains to offer devotional homage and prayer to one or more deities, to host and honour a guest, or to spiritually celebrate an event.

Puja for Kali. Royal Palace, Mandi, India. 2010
Bhoga (food) to be offered to God for Puja
Hindu pooja thali
Puja offerings to Ganesha in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Balinese family offers puja at a Hindu Temple, Bali, Indonesia.

Temple (Mandir) pūjā is more elaborate than the domestic versions and typically done several times a day.


Shikhara (IAST: ), a Sanskrit word translating literally to "mountain peak", refers to the rising tower in the Hindu temple architecture of North India, and also often used in Jain temples.

Latina in Khajuraho
Homogeneous Shikhara (but with rathas) of the Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneswar

When the temple acquired its shikhara tower, today considered more characteristic of Hindu temples, is uncertain.

Palm-leaf manuscript

Palm-leaf manuscripts are manuscripts made out of dried palm leaves.

A palm leaf manuscript in Nandinagari script.
Palm leaf manuscripts of 16th century in Odia script.
16th-century Hindu Bhagavata Purana on palm leaf manuscript
A palm leaf Hindu text manuscript from Bali, Indonesia, showing how the manuscripts were tied into a book.
A medical manuscript in Sinhala, c. 1700
A Jain palm leaf manuscript from Rajasthan.
16th-century Christian prayers in Tamil, on palm leaf manuscripts
Balinese palm-leaf manuscript of Kakawin Arjunawiwāha.
thumb|Palm leaf manuscript
thumb|Palm leaf manuscript
thumb|Palm leaf manuscript

Hindu temples often served as centers where ancient manuscripts were routinely used for learning and where the texts were copied when they wore out.

Dravidian architecture

Architectural idiom in Hindu temple architecture that emerged in the southern part of the Indian subcontinent or South India and in Sri Lanka, reaching its final form by the sixteenth century.

Vijayanagara style architecture characterized by Yali pillars at Vitthala Temple, Hampi
The Annamalaiyar Temple in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu
Typical layout of Dravidian architecture
An aerial view of the Meenakshi Temple, Tamil Nadu, from the top of the southern gopuram, looking north.
Stone vel on a brick platform at the entrance to the Murugan Temple, Saluvankuppam, Tamil Nadu, 300 BCE-300 CE
The rock-cut Shore Temple of the temples in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, 700-728
Virupaksha Temple, Pattadakal, Karnataka built in 740
The rock-cut Kailash Temple at Ellora
Doddabasappa Temple, Dambal, Gadag district, Karnataka
Srivilliputhur Andal temple
Detail of the main vimanam (tower) of the Thanjavur Temple-Tamil Nadu
A Dravidian architecture style pillar in Airavatesvara temple, Darasuram, Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu.
The Brihadeeswarar Temple (11th century), Tanjore has a vimana tower that is 216 ft (66 m) high, a classical example of Dravidian architecture. and The sikhara, a cupolic dome (25 tons), is octagonal and rests on a single block of granite, weighing 80 tons.
Symmetrical architecture on Jagati, Somanathapura, Karnataka
Virupaksha Temple at Hampi, Karnataka
Chera dynasty Style temple Layout
Vadakkunnathan Temple
Thirunelli Temple front view
Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple
Kandiyoor Sree Mahadeva Temple
Nallur Kandaswamy temple front entrance
Raja Gopuram of Nainativu Nagapooshani Amman Temple.
Yamuna Eri, a 15th-century pond in Nallur.
Corridor of Naguleswaram Temple
Mantri Manai, the remains of the minister's quarters of Jaffna Kingdom. It is built in a Euro-Dravidian style.<ref name="Rajadhani">{{Cite web |url=https://www.jaffnaroyalfamily.org/royalpalace.html |title=The Nallur Rajadhani}}</ref>

It is seen in Hindu temples, and the most distinctive difference from north Indian styles is the use of a shorter and more pyramidal tower over the garbhagriha or sanctuary called a vimana, where the north has taller towers, usually bending inwards as they rise, called shikharas.


Gopuram of Sri Mahamariamman Temple, a South Indian Koyil in Bangkok.
Detail of a gopuram at Chennai
Sri Kailasanathar Temple gopuram in Tharamangalam, Tamil Nadu, India
Nataraja Temple gopuram artwork in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu
Thiruvannamalai Annamalaiyar Temple Gopurams
Annamalaiyar Temple, Thiruvannamalai
Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam
Vadakkunnathan, Thrissur
Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram
Kuala Lumpur
Athi Koneswaram
Besakih, Bali
On left is a gopuram, to the right above the sanctum is vimana

A gopuram or gopura (गोपुरम्,, Tamil: கோபுரம், Malayalam: ഗോപുരം, Kannada: ಗೋಪುರ, Telugu: గోపురం) is a monumental entrance tower, usually ornate, at the entrance of a Hindu temple, in the South Indian architecture of the Southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, and Telangana, and Sri Lanka.

Vimana (architectural feature)

A seven-storey vimana
The vimana of the Jagannath Temple at Puri in the Kalinga style of architecture
Golden shrine of Tirumala Venkateswara Temple
Vimanam and gopuram
Sirkazhi Temple vimanam
Tirunallur vimanam
Vimana, Mariamman temple, Bokkapuram village, Tamil Nadu, Mar '21

Vimana is the structure over the garbhagriha or inner sanctum in the Hindu temples of South India and Odisha in East India.