Some Incredible Facts About Ancient Hindu Temples

Some Incredible Facts About Ancient Hindu Temples

My American friend, Ved Bell, who is a follower of Mata Amrutanandamayi, asked me why is it that some Hindu temples didn’t allow him to go in. He has married to a Nepali Hindu woman. They follow Hinduism. Now that lot of African blacks, Caucasians, Chinese and people from other races follow Sanatan Dharma, our temples need to rethink about few conservative rules.

But, there are some amazing facts about our temples:-

Most of the temples have huge, fort like gigantic boundary wall around it, whereas most of the palaces in India (built before 1000AD) never had a huge fort around it! In fact royal palaces in other countries had huge protective forts and wall around it. In India it was the other way around – that was a confusing mystery for me till recently.

I had an opportunity to see few old documents of land in Kerala.

It was ASTONISHING – I found most of the old records (done in brass plate) say the land belongs to “pandaram vaha” (in Malayalam Pandaram=Bhandaram=Hundi.) That is, the entire land belonged to the deity in the nearby temple.

The King was just a Dasa (slave) of the deity. In Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kerala State, the King was known as “Padmanabha Dasa” (=slave of Lord Padmanabha). And the temple was built for Sri Padmanabha (Lord Vishnu). Tamil brothers and sisters, are you familiar with the terminology, “Adiyen, Ramanuja Dasan” (Me, slave of Ramanuja)?

According to Indian civil law, even now, all deities are treated as perpetual minors. And the king (now trust) is just a karyakar = servant, not owner. In all other countries like the West and Middle East, Kings and royal family really “owned” the country. Barring some exceptions, in India, the land belonged to the deity. People of the country can build house or do farming.

So do not compare the ancient Indian system of governance (in which temple played major role) with that of West and Middle East where Kings were autocrats. And, please, please, don’t go by Indian history texts written by diehard fan of invaders, that they taught you in schools and colleges.

When Arabians and Europeans came to India, the then Hindu kings thought that they were “Aditi” (Guests) hence considered as “Deva” (God). So kings provided them free land and money to build Churches and Mosques along with freedom to worship. Go check old documents – the land for Churches and Mosques was donated by Hindu Kings. (I have never heard otherwise happening anywhere in the world! Will Saudi Arabia or Vatican give a small piece of land to build a Hindu temple?)

Another aspect: Ancient temples (Devalaya) were not a place for prayers. Temples never had a prayer hall like that in Churches or Mosque (Prarthanalaya). Of course, there were mandapa = pillared outdoor hall for performing arts and public rituals in temples. When you go to an old temple, the sanctum sanctorum itself is very small and dark. Hardly two or three people can stand in front of it.

That means temples had some other purpose. Fact: – temples were powerhouses of energy. Every ritual, prayer, ceremonies were only secondary to be in a temple but the main thing is to be in the field of consecrated energy. I don’t know how did they do it, but I have read somewhere that even individual karmic energy can be stored and retrieved in temple. But we lost all those ancient wisdom on energy contact and we are left only with rituals or we have become overly ritualistic, without understanding the real significance of temples.

Another fact is that temples were store house of enormous treasures too. This explains gigantic fort around the temple. Recently Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple of Thiruvananthapuram was in the news as it became one of the richest Hindu Temple in India. It is believed that the total assets of Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple have now exceeded the assets of the Tirupati Balaji Temple in Andhra Pradesh. The wealth accumulated in the temples was used purely for dharma deeds.

The priest, mostly a poor Brahmin, in the temple would get one or two meals a day, that’s all. There were chaultries (inns) and rest houses associated with those temples that provided food and shelter for the poor and needy. All the karma was done based on the concept “Sarvam Sri Krishnarpanam Astu” (Everything I offer to Krishna or the divine). Everybody followed the dharmic way of life – the symbolic centre of this system was the temple.

That was our ancient economic system – our dharma was based on sharing and caring. Our ancestors built huge store house of energy, wisdom (libraries and universities) and physical wealth associated with the temple premises. They worked hard and stored everything as treasure for coming generations. And temples were highest seat of marvelous architecture, sculptures, arts and science. And that’s when the ancient world called: ”Glory that was India.”

The Dark Age began with the arrival of the brutal, religious fanatic, barbaric invaders who attacked, looted and destroyed the temple economy. According to independent historians, more than hundred thousand Hindu temples (the likes of Somanatha temple) were destroyed by those demonic invaders and killed nearly 75 million Hindus (preferred death to giving up their dharma) during the process. The entire temple-system was thus perished. They burned away our universities and libraries.

While our ancestors gave importance to education, arts, music, health, environment and nature, the barbaric invaders did not build even one school or hospital. All they did was to build palaces and gardens for their enjoyment, tombs to perpetuate their memory and forts for their security. Lot of beautiful temples were destroyed and converted to tombs – one example could be the Taj Mahal!

Naturally, those ordinary peace-loving Hindus around the temple-system became very scared and insecure; hence they tried protecting the remaining temples. They believed that nonHindus may destroy it. But, alas, the cunning, pimp-ish Hindu politicians failed the remaining temple-system.

An ardent follower of Sanatan Dharma like me would not blame any other religions for this downfall. It is our own politicians, who arrogantly taken over the right to manage richest temples in India. For the most part, the temples and its wealth are transferred arbitrarily by the government for “secular”, non-Hindu purposes. The most damaging sideeffect of this is lack of resources for maintenance and upkeep of temples, leading to irreparable damage to many medieval and ancient structures. I have personally seen and experienced this.

Hindus are now feeling insecure and scared, not because of Muslims or any other religions, but because of our own “Hindu Secular Politicians” (all political parties included) who are worst and crooked than the brutal and barbaric invaders.

~ Udaylal Pai, Freelance Journalist, Writer and Researcher


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  • Excellent Article. The present government should stop taxing the temple and it’s committee should be free of secularists( Non Hindus). The money should be used for Vedic purposes and helping poor Hindus.

  • Dear Mr.Udaylal Pai,

    I think,your view of Non-believers not allowed inside a temple is not correct.

    The reason i’m saying this is, i heard in a discourse of Mr.Suki Sivam, where he explained that there is a science in stating Non-believers or Non-Hindus should not enter our temples. The people entering the temples should have the belief that we are entering the premises of GOD. So, this belief is like a chain as every hindu entering the temple will have the same belief. But when Non-Believers/Non-Hindus enter the temple to see the GOD just as only a Idol / like exhibition and will not have this belief that it is GOD who is in the Temple. hence, the chain of Belief created by us gets broken. If belief is broken everything is broken.

    Hope i have translated correctly what he said in Tamizh.

    Sivaramakrishnan Pahlachander

    • Mr. pahlachander. Then how do you explain the singer Jesudas, who is probably the greatest devotee of krishna, not being allowed into guruvayoor. ? Jesudas’s bhakti probably transcends the total Bhakti of all the priests inside.

  • Temples were indeed power houses. It is a custom to keep a lot of precious gems and gold under the main deity and consecrate them. A stone with an amphibian in hibernation would also be place there. After the kumbabhisekh (which happens every 12 years), the deity channels cosmic energy from the gopuram(tower on top of the deity) on which certain metal pots are kept. They trap the cosmic powers and pass it on to the deity in the sanctum sanctorium. Then it is further transmitted to eight plus two directions, including to the chamber beneath the main deity so that they are energized. If there calamities like deluge or pralayam( where life could become extinct), the amphibian comes to life and life and evolution begins again. So, temple not only serves as a place for renewal of our spiritual energies but also serves for the continuation of life..

    Hinduism believes in we come alone and go alone. This is reflected in the temple’s architecture. Just a few can stand in front of the sanctum and the circumambulation around the deity as space is limited can be done by single or a few persons only.

    After kumbhabhisek, the deity which was removed from sanctum, it’s energies are transferred to a pot , cleaned and again the energies are transferred back to the deity and again placed in the original position with lamp at an angle to the deity. If the deity is not placed properly at the required angle, it would appear to cry when the lights from the lamps fall on it from either side. It is inauspicious to go to these temples. Better to wait for the next Kumbhabhisekh for the deity to be placed properly.

  • VIndian temples are energy sources. When we enter in to the temple we should feel like to meet the supreme power who will give us the energy. We should spend some time in the temple without any worries. Hinduism is not any religion but it’s a dharma. We should follow it. We should never blame any person for the destruction of Hindu dharma. Any dharma can never be distructed by any. It will be there forever. But we may not have it.

  • I wish I could find anything more about temple as powerhouse energy. We used to have lots of temples in our country and some of them had been destroyed during political turmoil in 1965-1966. I’ll really appreciate if anyone write an article about this, as it could be my reference to clear our history.

  • I disagree with the comments by Sivaramakrishnan Pahlachander. Many a friend of mine, who are Hindus, were turned away from the Padmanabhan Swami Temple in Thiruvananthapuram simply because they had an American accent when they spoke Tamil. Their skin was white. But they were born in South India from Indian parents! Because they stayed for a long period of time in America, they did not have an Indian accent. They were strong believers in Hinduism and they attend Hindu temples in America. How can you say by looking at a person that he is a nonbeliever? Is it written on his face? A muslim or a christian can fool the temple entry guards by wearing kumkum or vibhooti and clad in dhoti or saree. The guards at the Padmanabhan temple in my own experience are very rude to all the devotees. There is no civility in their talk. They think they own the temple..

    • Dear sir, please dont carry your spoilt child rights activism into our temples. You say the folks are rude and discriminate. What I read is you had a negative approach towards those who toil to uphold our faith without any material expectations. Whether they are fallible or not, had you real faith, you would have convinced them. It shows in the attitude.

      Our temples are not museums with statues, but places of renewal & collective energy. if you dont believe, dont go there and spoil the experience for the others. There is no dearth of places you can visit in India. Thank you

    • For sure the guards are government employes and not any god belivers and doubt if they have any devotion or respect to thedaity in the temple.

  • Every educated hindu becomes secular
    Every educated muslim become a true or fanatic muslim
    Hinduism is killed only by hindu educated people
    I have not seen a true hindu…..who Dont respect mosques……who only respect temples and i have not seen a muslim who goes to temples…..i am talking about 99% muslims not 1%…..
    Have u seen secularism in macca mosque……which was a temple before 610 AD….

  • Can someone please let me know the name and place of the temple, the gopuram of which is depicted as the picture of this article?

  • It is difficult to know who the believer is and who is not nowadays even if you are a Hindu and with american accent/upbringing. Its the same when it comes to Vatican and Mecca Madina which donot allow ardent followers of Hinduism after a certain premises limit, not because they are Hindus but because its for pure religious followers & believers.
    If you search in internet you will find lot of ridicule on Hindu rituals practices and dieties. I have seen people calling Mother Goddess Kali as hot, sexy, raw love and what not.
    This is the cultural difference between Monotheist and Polytheist believers. We worship all gods/goddesses and show devotion.
    Temple is not museum. It is only for true believers and followers.

  • very enlightening article .i know at one point in history India was the envy of the world,it was very advanced in all aspects .thnx for this article .

  • This website is the best. Through it we come to know of our great Hindu religion. Its time for us to expand & protect Hindu religion.
    STOP being Secular and take pride in being a Hindu and try to promote, protect & propagate Hinduism. Hinduism is the best religion in the world.

  • There are wooden boards at the four main entrance of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram,Kerala,which proclaims that Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple.Also I saw the same at Rameshwaram(beyond a point not allowed) and Tirupati.This may look like an irony since mankind is one before God Almighty.To the non-Hindus the rituals and customs at the temple might not be in tune with their own religious beliefs and as a result there are chances of being unfaithful,dishonest and the emergence of negative energy.Hence to avoid the dilemma of the faithful,the bar is in place.

    • Hindu kings in ancient times took knowledge n wisdom frm our epics like ramayana n mahabharat n frm the teachings of mahavir n gautam buddha and understood tht war is evil and cause for al the miseries around the world.. So rather thn invading and conquerin neighbouring countries n wasting precious lives.. They channeled their energy n resource in other fields such as art music litearature architecture science astronomy mathematics ayurveda astrology spirituality to name a few.. We hindus succumbed to invaders nt coz we were weak ( hindus were d best at warfare tactics ne.. chakravyuh frm mahabharat) bt we were forgivin ( prithviraj chauhan let mohamed ghazni free aftr he begged fr chauhans forgiveness).. Bt a century ago britishers nn nw seculars r ruining everything tht is an identity of sanatan dharm…

      • There are different kind of temples. Some are known as jyothirlingams where God appeared in form or deity came from other worlds. There power is huge and need to shower always. Others made by saints with huge power. In order to keep the flow, rituals are necessary and there purity is a must. People only after bath clean attire etc are necessary. There are other type of temples. Temporary worship place turned temples. It is of like a place of mass. No need to enforce strict ritualistic. This religion cannot be compared. Multiple Gods, different rituals, different mode of worship. But one thing is sure that a poor and rich, illiterate and knowledge, believer and non believer will get solace by going to temples and following the custom there. Mark and birth will not make a man Hindu. Developed religion cannot be quieted its wisdom and happiness of its followers which cannot be questioned by any other individual.