To Our Past, Present, and Future…

We as humans are made up of so many different elements. Elements that are instrumental in one’s upbringing and understanding of where we come from. When all of us have such a different eye view for everything, what is that one thing which ties us together? It’s our history and culture.

Our Indian History has many tangible embodiments that make us wonder about their mighty structures, but temples are the only ones that form a common connection between culture, faith, and history.

I grew up going to temples, they form an integral part in forming a strong bond with my parents and falling in love with architecture and history. Sundays were all about the fresh aroma of coconut oil, jasmine flowers, and hearing silent hymns across the temple. Temples for me just don’t talk about faith, they talk about withstanding with time and understanding patience and tolerance at the same time.

When you go to a temple you find immediate respect in yourself for the mighty structure in front of you. Fascinates you, isn’t it? You look at everything around you in awe, you try to take every step carefully on the stone floors and let the coldness of the floor soothe your feet. You caress the pillars to understand how in the world could they withstand the challenges of changing times.

There are few temples in our country, which have changed my purview about temples. When you look at them, the definition of visiting a temple might change just beyond praying. Following are the ones:

Brihadeeswara Temple, Tanjavur: Built during the time of the Chola Dynasty by Rajaraja — I have an interesting history behind it and is paid homage to Lord Shiva. Located in one of the most beautiful cities of Tamil Nadu, the carvings and structures were built way beyond its time. The statue of ‘Nandi’ was carved out of a single stone, and the ‘Vimana’ of the temple will leave you awestruck with its beauty and standing. The temple completed its 1000 years in the year 2010, and the architecture of the temple is worth witnessing even more than 1000 times in a lifetime.

Vaitheeswaran Koil: This 2000-year-old temple is not known to many, but once acquainted with the beautiful structure, you will understand the underlying magnificence behind this hidden historical treasure. Located in the interiors of Tamil Nadu, this temple again is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is known as ‘Vaithyanatha Swamy’ as in the doctor lord. There is a pond at this temple called ‘Jatayu Kundam’, which is one of the main attractions of the temple. This temple comes with a lot of stories hidden in its stones to ponder about and forms a very important chapter in our Mythology.

Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai: Located in the heart of Chennai, Kapaleeshwarar Temple is again the abode of Lord Shiva. This temple has Dravidian architecture and stands beautifully right in the middle of the city. The ambiance in and around the temple is something that can get your spirits up in no time. The aroma of jasmine from the flower market and the brewing of authentic filter coffee from the nearby stalls can get you coming back for more. The ambiance of Kapaleeshwarar Temple can be felt better during the early morning when you can sense the surroundings draped in the fragrance of sandal and incense.

Jageshwar Temple, Uttarakhand: This temple has been established during the time of Adi Sankaracharya. Located in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand near Almora, this temple is situated right in the middle of the never-ending belt of Himalayan deodar trees. This temple comes as a beautiful surprise, especially when you are not expecting to come across a historical structure. Jageshwar Temple is known to be a cluster of 200 structural temples built from cut stone and is built in the north Indian Nagara style of architecture. The temple has many deities including Lord Vishnu, Shiva, and Shakti goddesses.

Adi Kumbeshwara Swami Temple, Kumbakonam: Another architectural delight from the Chola dynasty, this temple also gives the name of the town that it is situated in. This temple is again dedicated to Lord Shiva and dates to the 9th century. Located near Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, the intricate artwork on the Gopuram and inside of the temple premises pays respect to lord shiva and 9th-century masonry. Kumbeshwara temple has been mentioned in 7th-century Tamil poetry and has been glorified in more than 9 poems. This temple completely sings the beautiful tunes of colours, art, and culture of the Chola dynasty.

How beautiful it is to see the evolvement in our spectrum of seeing things? When the dynasties had built the temples to pray, they soon became a common ground for all of us in collective. It’s so beautiful to see everyone under one roof praying and smiling at each other. It’s so beautiful when everyone’s paths meet in one direction.

Written by

Manasa Netrakanti

I have experience in photographing beauty, fashion, e-commerce, and product photography for various brands.