Kaaba Is Not A Hindu Temple

Kaaba Is Not A Hindu Temple

Monday, 2 May 2016

Temples did not exist in Vedic age!

Temples did not exist in Vedic age!

Unlike other organized religions, in Hinduism, it is not mandatory for a person to visit a temple. Since all Hindu home usually have a small shrine or ‘puja room’ for daily prayers, Hindus generally go to temples only on auspicious occasions or during religious festivals. Hindu temples also do not play a crucial role in marriages and funerals, but it is often the meeting place for religious discourses as well as ‘bhajans’ and ‘kirtans’ (devotional songs and chants).
History of Temples:
In the Vedic period there were no temples. Temples did not exist during the Vedic period (1500 - 500 BC). The remains of the earliest temple structure were discovered in Surkh Kotal, a place in Afghanistan by a French archaeologist in 1951. It was not dedicated to a god but to the imperial cult of King Kanishka (127 - 151 AD).  
During Vedic period, the main object of worship was fire that stood for God. This holy fire was lit on a platform in the open air under the sky, and oblations were offered to the fire. It is not certain when exactly the Indo-Aryans first started building temples for worship. The scheme of building temples was perhaps a concomitant of the idea of idol worship.
As the race progressed, temples became important because they served as a sacred meeting place for the community to congregate and revitalize their spiritual energies. Large temples were usually built at picturesque places, especially on river banks, on top of hills, and on the sea shore. Smaller temples or open-air shrines can crop up just about anywhere - by the roadside or even under the tree.


From the 1st century CE a new type of worship known as Bhakti or devotional Hinduism spread across the Indian sub-continent, and the old Vedic gods were replaced in importance by deities like ShivaVishnuKrishna,Brahma, and Devi. These gods would become the central figures of Hinduism and their worship required temples where the devoted could offer their thanks and reveal their hopes for a better life.

Buildings were constructed which could house a sacred symbol of a particular god, which could be decorated with sculptural figures of them so recalling episodes from their mythological adventures, and which provided a space for worshippers to leave offerings and perform rituals such as bathing and dancing by professional female dancers (devadasi). 

 The temple was considered the dwelling place of a particular god (devalaya). It was, therefore, a sacred place (tirtha) where heaven and earth meet and, as a god’s home, it must be a suitably splendid palace (prasada).  The needs of the god would, additionally, be supervised by a dedicated body of priests (pujaris) who attended the temple.

Hindus need not attend regular services, but an occasional walk around the temple interior (circumambulation), known aspradaksina and done in a clockwise direction, was considered auspicious. Further, they could say prayers, look at the god’s representation – a specific act of piety known as darsan – and leave offerings of food and flowers (puja). Temples, inevitably, became the very centre of a community and, accordingly, their upkeep was guaranteed by land grants and endowments from the ruling class, as indicated by inscriptions on many temples. 

The Earliest Hindu Temples

The earliest temple structures were not made of stones or bricks, which came much later. In ancient times, public or community temples were possibly made of clay with thatched roofs made of straw or leaves. Cave-temples were prevalent in remote places and mountainous terrains.

According to historian, Nirad C Chaudhuri, the earliest structures that indicate idol worship date back to the 4th or 5th century AD. There was a seminal development in temple architecture between the 6th and the 16th century.
This growth phase of Hindu temples charts its rise and fall alongside the fate of the various dynasties that reigned India during the period majorly contributing and influencing the building of temples, especially in South India. Hindus consider the building of temples an extremely pious act, bringing great religious merit. Hence kings and wealthy men were eager to sponsor the construction of temples, notes Swami Harshananda, and the various steps of building the shrines were performed as religious rites.

Temples of South India (6th - 18th Century AD)

The Pallavas (600 - 900 AD) sponsored the building of the rock-cut chariot-shaped temples of Mahabalipuram, including the famous shore temple, the Kailashnath and Vaikuntha Perumal temples in Kanchipuram in southern India. The Pallavas style further flourished - with the structures growing in stature and sculptures becoming more ornate and intricate - during the rule of the dynasties that followed, particularly the Cholas (900 - 1200 AD), the Pandyas temples (1216 - 1345 AD), the Vijayanagar kings (1350 - 1565 AD) and the Nayaks (1600 - 1750 AD).
The Chalukyas (543 - 753 AD) and the Rastrakutas (753 - 982 AD) also made major contributions to the development of temple architecture in Southern India. The Cave Temples of Badami, the Virupaksha temple at Pattadakal, the Durga Temple at Aihole and the Kailasanatha temple at Ellora are standing examples of the grandeur of this era. Other important architectural marvels of this period are the sculptures of Elephanta Caves and the Kashivishvanatha temple.
During the Chola period the South Indian style of building temples reached its pinnacle, as exhibited by the imposing structures of the Tanjore temples. The Pandyas followed in the footsteps the Cholas and further improved on their Dravidian style as evident in the elaborate temple complexes of Madurai and Srirangam. After the Pandyas, the Vijayanagar kings continued the Dravidian tradition, as evident in the marvelous temples of Hampi. The Nayaks of Madurai, who followed the Vijayanagar kings, hugely contributed to architectural style of their temples, bringing in elaborate hundred or thousand-pillared corridors, and tall and ornate 'gopurams' or monumental structures that formed the gateway to the temples as evident in the temples of Madurai and Rameswaram.

Temples of East, West and Central India (8th - 13th Century AD)

In Eastern India, particularly in Orissa between 750-1250 AD and in Central India between 950-1050 AD many gorgeous temples were built. The temples of Lingaraja in Bhubaneswar, the Jagannath temple in Puri and the Surya temple in Konarak bear the stamp of Orissa's proud ancient heritage. The Khajuraho temples, known for its erotic sculptures, the temples of Modhera and Mt. Abu have their own style belonging to Central India. The terracotta architectural style of Bengal also lent itself to its temples, also notable for its gabled roof and eight-sided pyramid structure called the 'aath-chala'.

Temples of Southeast Asia (7th - 14th century AD)

Southeast Asian countries, many of which were ruled by Indian monarchs saw the construction of many marvelous temples in the region between 7th and 14th century AD that are popular tourist attractions till his day, the most famous amongst them being the Angkor Vat temples built by King Surya Varman II in the 12th century. Some of the major Hindu temples in Southeast Asia that are still extant include the Chen La temples of Cambodia (7th - 8th century), the Shiva temples at Dieng and Gdong Songo in Java (8th - 9th century), the Pranbanan temples of Java (9th - 10th century), the Banteay Srei temple at Angkor (10th century), the Gunung Kawi temples of Tampaksiring in Bali (11th century), and Panataran (Java) (14th century), and the Mother Temple of Besakih in Bali (14th century).


Influenced by early Buddhist structures such as the stupa, the first Hindu temples were built from rock-cut caves and repeated the idea of relief panels and the decorativegavaska window form. Then, with the arrival of Gupta architecture in the 4th to 5th century CE, the first free-standing Hindu temples were constructed with features such as towers and projecting niches.
The first materials used were wood and terracotta, but architects gradually moved on to brick and stone, especially sandstone, granite, schist, and marble. No mortar was used in the older temples and so precise cutting of dressed stones was required. Outstanding examples of influential cave temples include those at Udaigiri in Malwa and date to the 5th century CE. Early free-standing temples survive at Deogarh and include the 6th century CE Dasavatara temple dedicated to Vishnu.

How can Kaaba be a VEDIC Temple, when temples did not exist in Vedic age is the million dollar question ?

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