Gods and Temples in South India

Gods and Temples in South India

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Author: Winand M. Callewaert
Publisher: Manohar Publishers & Distributors
No. of pages: 245
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Other Specifications

Category: Essay
Subject: Ancient India, Hindu Religion
Language: English
ISBN: 9788173046568
Published on: 2005
Book Format: Paperback

Description

Millions of foreign and Indian tourists and pilgrims visit the thousands of shrines that testify to Indias great cultural and religious heritage. For many of them the local priest or their own childhood reading of the Indrajal comics are the only aids to understand and interiorise the message of the stones. For them and for others this book has been written as an introduction to the mythological and religious background of the gods worshipped in temples and carved in beautiful statues. It also gives a detailed description of the numerous episodes depicted on the walls and inside the shrines. A journey through south India is definitely an aesthetic experience. It becomes a religious experience if the visitor can enter into the mind of the sculptors and devotees who gave the best of their lives to construct and decorate the temples. Their efforts were inspired mainly by devotion, even if some of them belonged to travelling guilds who were responsible for the great similarity in the immense variety of sculptures. With this in mind, the visitor knows he walks on sacred ground, centuries old, when he enters a temple or climbs the Shravana Belgola hill to have darshan of Shree Gomateshvara. At the same time she or he may like to know why Ganeshji has the head of an elephant or why Snake-gods are so abundantly present on the walls of temples, along with erotic scenes and images of Shiva in so many different forms. And what stories of the mythological past are told to explain why Shiva is also worshipped in the form of a Lingam? Finally, God in ancient India was not only worshipped as a man, but also as a woman. All that appears if one looks attentively at the living stones. A fascinating reading for all those interested in the history of and cultural tourism in India.

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