Alayam: The Hindu Temple (An Epitome of Hindu Culture)

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Item Code: NAC227
Author: G. Venkataramana Reddy
Publisher: Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore
Language: English
Edition: 2013
ISBN: 9788178235424
Pages: 128 (Illustrated Throughout In B/W)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 11.2 Inch X 8.5 Inch
Weight 490 gm
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Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
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More than 1M+ customers worldwide
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100% Made in India
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23 years in business
Book Description
Back of the Book

According to Vedic Philosophy, the physical body of every being is itself an Alayam (Temple) and the Atman (soul) dwelling therein is the subtle body which is in fact the manifestation of the Supreme Being (Paramatman) and thus every being is in fact a mobile temple.


Publisher’s Note

ALAYAM means a temple. While temples have been built in India and elsewhere for millennia, not many people know about the grand science and philosophy behind their construction. At the back of the concrete structure and design of a temple stands a subtle and lofty ideal—affirming the presence of the Ultimate Truth—in a symbolic and tangible manner.

This book attempts to present the principles and practices of temple construction in a systematic and clear manner. It aims at providing a comprehensive idea of how a Hindu temple is truly a house of God, enshrining His presence, facilitating a devotee to worship and adore Him and invoking a sense of holiness in his life. A temple indeed plays an important role in the cultural and spiritual life of all believers in God.

Today when many new temples are being constructed in India and abroad, there is need to understand the concept and details of construction involved in making of a Hindu temple. This book is a humble effort in that direction. Sri G. Venkataramana Reddy, the author and illustrator of this book. is a qualified architect and town planner. He was former director of Town planning in Andhra Pradesh Government and served as advisor to the Chief Minister on Housing Development and major architectural projects for nearly 7 years after his retirement. He was actively involved in designing and overseeing the construction of temples in many centres of the Ramakrishna Order viz. Hyderabad, Raj ahmundry, Visakhapatnarn, Madurai, Chennai, Narainpur, Nagpur and Allahabad from the year 1976 onwards. He is presently engaged in designing the Ramakrishna temples at Kadapa and Jaipur. We are sure that this book. Richly illustrated and meticulously documented by such an experienced person arid an ardent devotee of Sri Ramakrishna, will be received with enthusiasm by all devotees and scholars alike.


About the Author

Sri G. Venkataramana Reddy who is 83 years old was born in the village Alandur located in the southern outskirts of Chennai city. As a young boy he began learning the art of drawing from his father Gurunatha Reddy who was serving as a senior official in the office of Consulting Architect of the Government of Madras Presidency. After completing the school education from Ramakrishna Mission High School at Tyagarayanagar, Chennai. he joined Madras School of Art. On completion of his studies in Art, he joined Bombay School of Architecture in the year 1945. After studying architecture for five years, he passed the final examination of the Royal Institute of British Architects, London. He is a fully qualified artist. Architect, town planner and structural engineer. After gaining sufficient experience, he joined as Town Planning Expert in the Town Planning Department of the Government of Madras State in the year 1952. He became the Joint Director of the Town Planning Department of the separated Andhra State in the year 1953. He served as the Director of Town Planning of Government of Andhra Pradesh for over fifteen years. After completing a term of three years as the Vice-Chairman, Development Authority of Vijayawada Urban Region, he joined as an Additional Secretary in the Secretariat of Andhra Pradesh and retired from the Government Service in the year 1983. Immediately after retirement he served for nearly 7 years as the advisor to Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh in the subjects Housing, Urban Development and major architectural projects. He represented India in the International Conferences on Housing the poor, Urban development, planning and development. of major cities held in England, U.S.S.R. Thailand, Bangkok and Japan. He travelled extensively in many countries in Europe, England, Russia, south-east Asia, U.S.A and Japan.

During his service in various State Governments, he handled the designs of several major architectural projects, viz, large housing schemes especially for the poor, university complexes. theatres. Cinemas, stadiums, hospitals, educational buildings etc. He actively participated in the renovations of several major temples viz. Ramayana at Bhadraehalain, Jotirlinga temple at Srisailam, Varaha Narasimha temple at Simhachalam. Narasimha temple at Ahobilam etc. For over two decades, he was the advisor to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. He not only prepared the master plans for Tirumala but also designed major building projects. viz, queue complexes for regulating orderly flow of pilgrims for Darsan of the Lord Venkateswara, large museum complex, Veda college at Tirumala, the choultry complexes etc. He also designed over forty Hindu temples for the Telugu community living in several villages of the Mauritius Island Nation in the Indian Ocean.

From the year 1976 onwards, he began designing the Universal Temples of Sri Ramakrishna for several Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission Centres in India. The ones which are completed are at Hyderabad, Rajahmundry. Visakhapatnam, Madurai, Chennai. Narainpur (Chattisgarh), Nagpur, Allahabad. Now he is engaged in designing the Ramakrishna Temples at Kadapa (Andhra Pradesh) and Jaipur (Rajasthan).




  Publisher’s Note iii
Chapter I: Alayam – Its Definition and Significance 1
  Image Worship 2
  Alayam in the Community Life of the Hindus 2
  Origin of Worship 7
  Origin of Philosophical Symbolism in Temple 10
Chapter II: Alayam- Its Origin and Evolution 15
  Beginning of Religion Among the Primitive Tribes 15
  Temples in Ancient Civilizations of the World 16
  Rise of Different Philosophical Systems 19
  Origin of Buddhist Architecture 20
  Influence of Buddhist Art and Architecture on Hindu Temple 22
  Buddhism and Jainism in Ancient South India 22
  Rock-cut Temples in India 24
Chapter III: Alayam – It’s Early History in India 30
  Classical Age in Indian History 30
  Type of Temple Built in South India During the Early Historical Period (Before the 7th Century A.D.) 31
  Temple Building in North and Central India Before the 5th Century A.D. and After 34
  Temple Building in South India After the 15th Century A.D. 35
  Role of Archeologists in Tracing the Architectural History of the Ancient Temple of India 36
  Adi Sankaracharya and the Advent of Renaissance in Hinduism 36
Chapter IV: The Sastras on Alayams 38
  Origins of Agamas  
  The Contents of Agamas 38
  Charya Padam 38
  Kriya Padam 39
  Yoga Padam 39
  Jnana Padam 39
  Alayam According to Agamas 40
  Different Kinds of Icons to be Enshrined in Temples 40
  The Significance of Siva Linga 46
  The Worship of Aswattha Tree 49
  The Worship of the Lighted Lamp 52
Chapter V: Alayams – The Significance of Their Location in Human Settlements 53
  Process of Development of Human Settlements 56
Chapter VI: Alayam – The Embodiment of Philosophic Symbolism 62
  Philosophic Symbolism in Lotus (Padmam) 69
  Philosophic Symbolism in Relation to the System of Worship in Alayams 70
Chapter VII: Alayams – Evolution of their Architectural Styles in North India 72
  Bhumija Style of Temple Architecture 79
  Kalinga Style of Temple Architecture 79
Chapter VIII: Alayams – Evolution of their Architectural Styles in South India 84
  Beginning of Dravida Style of Temple Architecture 86
  Monolith Stone Temples (Rathas) at Mamallapuram 88
  Dravida Style of Temple Architecture Towards Matrity 93
  Temple Architectural Style in Kerala 93
  Dravida Style Temples in Deccan 94
  Vesara Style of Temple Architecture 101
Chapter IX: Alayams – Their Existence After the 14th Century A.D. 102
  Building of Temples in South Indian During and After the 14th Century A.D. 102
  Hindu Temples in North India During the Muslim Rule and After 109
Chapter X: Alayams – In Relation to the Religio-Reformative Movement in the 19th and 20th Centuries 113
  Brahmo Samaj 115
  Prarthana Samaj 115
  Arya Samaj 116
  Reformist Movement of Saint Ramalingar of Vadalur, Tamilnadu 117
  Role of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission in the Reformative Movement 119
  Social and Religious Reformative Movements of Sri Narayana Guru of Kerala 122
  Conclusion 125
  About the Author 128


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