Sacred Complexes

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However, every March 21st, during the Kyusho Mieku festival , Kukai can be contemplated, admired. South of Danjo Garan-the Reihokan Museum , built in , hides thousands of treasures of the daily religious life of the city. Night Life 3 articles.

Outdoor activities 2 articles. Daiedo in the temple complex Danjo-Garan. Credit: DR.

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The origins Leave a comment. Post my comment. The most famous temple in Koyasan can boast of having had several lives. Sacred Complexes of Deoghar and Rajgir.

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Concepts used in Indian anthropology: sacred complex, great and little tradition

Books of related interest. Sacred Books of the East: Vol. By: F. By: Rana Pratap. By: B.

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Sacred Australia: Post-Secular Considerations. Rama , the hero of the epic poem, had become the eighth avatar of Vishnu , and his popularity was growing, though it was not yet as prominent as it later became. Krishna was worshipped, though his consort, Radha, did not become popular until after the 12th century. Harihara , a combination of Vishnu and Shiva , and Ardhanarishvara , a synthesis of Shiva and his consort Shakti, also became popular deities.

American Journal of Sociology

Although early temples in south India may have been made of disposable materials as early as the first few centuries of the Common Era, permanent temple structures appear about the 3rd and 4th centuries, as attested in early Tamil literature. From the Gupta period onward, Hindu temples became larger and more prominent, and their architecture developed in distinctive regional styles.

In northern India the best remaining Hindu temples are found in the Orissa region and in the town of Khajuraho in northern Madhya Pradesh. The best example of Orissan temple architecture is the Lingaraja temple of Bhubaneswar, built about The largest temple of the region, however, is the famous Black Pagoda, the Sun Temple Surya Deula of Konarak , built in the midth century. Its tower has long since collapsed, and only the assembly hall remains.

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The most important Khajuraho temples were built during the 11th century. Individual architectural styles also arose in Gujarat and Rajasthan, but their surviving products are less impressive than those of Orissa and Khajuraho. By the end of the 1st millennium ce the south Indian style had reached its apogee in the great Brihadeshwara temple of Thanjavur Tanjore. In the temple the god was worshipped by the rites of puja or archana reverencing a sacred being or object as though the worshipers were serving a great king. In the important temples a large staff of trained officiants waited on the god.

He was awakened in the morning along with his goddess; washed, clothed, and fed; placed in his shrine to give audience to his subjects; praised and entertained throughout the day; and ceremoniously fed, undressed, and put to bed at night. Worshipers sang, burned lamps, waved lights before the divine image, and performed other acts of homage.

The association of dedicated prostitutes with certain Hindu shrines may be traceable to the beginning of the Common Era. It became more widespread in post-Gupta times, especially in south India, and aroused the reprobation of 19th-century Europeans. Through the efforts of Hindu reformers, the office of the devadasi s was discontinued. The role of devadasi is best understood in the context of the analogy between the temple and the royal court, for the Hindu king also had his dancing girls, who bestowed their favours on his courtiers.

Parallels between the temple and the royal palace also were in evidence in the Rathayatra s Chariot Festivals. The deity was paraded in a splendid procession, together with the lesser gods of the minor shrines, in a manner similar to that of the king, who issued from his palace on festival days and paraded around his city, escorted by courtiers, troops, and musicians.

The deity rode on a tremendous and ornate moving shrine ratha , which was often pulled by large bands of devotees. Rathayatras still take place in many cities of India. The great temples were—and still are—wealthy institutions. The patrons who endowed them with land, money, and cattle included royalty as well as men and women from several classes of society. As early as the 5th century, Kulaprabhavati, a Cambodian queen, endowed a Vishnu temple in her realm.

The temples were also supported by the transfer of the taxes levied by kings on specific areas of the nearby countryside, by donations of the pious, and by the fees of worshipers.


The temples were controlled by self-perpetuating committees—whose membership was usually a hereditary privilege—and by a large staff of priests and temple servants under a high priest who wielded tremendous power and influence. In keeping with their wealth, the great walled temple complexes of south India were—and still are—small cities, containing the central and numerous lesser shrines, bathing tanks, administrative offices, homes of the temple employees, workshops, bazaars, and public buildings of many kinds.

As some of the largest employers and greatest landowners in their areas, the temples played an important part in the economy. They also performed valuable social functions, serving as schools, dispensaries, poorhouses, banks, and concert halls. The temple complexes suffered during the Muslim occupation.