Temples have become a key aspect in Hindu religion. The temple is the focus for all aspects of everyday life in the Hindu community - religious, cultural, educational and social. Hindus believe that their lives are merely stages in the progression to ultimate enlightenment. The temple is a place where God may be approached and where divine knowledge can be discovered. All aspects of the Hindu temple focus on the goal of enlightenment and liberation - the principles of design and construction, the forms of its architecture and decoration, and the rituals performed. The temple is designed to dissolve the boundaries between man and the divine. The principal shrine should face the rising sun and so should have its entrance to the east. Movement towards the sanctuary, along the east-west axis and through a series of increasingly sacred spaces is of great importance and is reflected in the architecture. Not ever temple is the same, each one focuses on their own individual themes.
Most Hindus worship over alters in their homes and at temples. Family altars are used for daily prayers. Temples are sought out for important matters or big events and occasions. Hindu temples are "artificial mountains" built as objects of worship built to enshrine the image of a chosen deity. The Upanishads described them as a place “at the heart of this phenomenal world, within all its changing forms, dwells the unchanging Lord.” Temples are generally not places where worshipers come to listen to sermons. Instead they are places where people come to engage in individual worship with deities and socialize with other people that they meet there. In the old days only kings, Brahmin priests and important nobles were allowed inside temples. Even today non-Hindus are generally not allowed to enter Hindu temple. Hindu temples typically consist of a prayer hall called a mandapa and a sanctuary, inner sanctum, or central shrine called a garbhargriha . The sanctuary contains an icon of the Hindu...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document