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Temples of Western India
Temples of Western India
Description
About The Book

The Temple of the saint poet Meera at Chittorgarh in Rajasthan is deserted. A lone devotee sings in a corner while the grandeur all around waits in silence for a chance visitor.

All the devotees are where Meera’s heart was. At the famous Krishna temple of Nathdwara in Rajasthan, Dakor, Mul Dwarka, Dwarka and Bet Dwaraka in Gujarat.

In the towering of the famed Dawrka temple lies symbolized the spirit of all the unique temples of Western India. History, legend, architecture, spirituality all merge there. There is a shrine of a different kind at Mahatma Gandhi’s birthplace in the quaint town of Probandar.

The visitors to india from abroad stare in wonder at the Amber Fort in Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan.

That wonders state is naturally where people rush to drink of India’s culture.

Can there near Udaipur or the thousand-pillared Jain shrine at Ranakpur.

In Western India each state is different. In Maharashtra, most of the temples are small, but devotees throng them to worship the indulgent Lord Ganesha.

Gujarat perhaps represents the balance between “bhakti” and artistic excellence. And then there is Goa……

This is a very tourist-friendly handbook, packed with information on famous and not so well known temple of Western India, perhaps the first of its kind.

 

About The Author

Ambujam Anantharaman chanced upon writing on temples during her long career as a journalist and so began a love affair that lasts to this day. She made her debut as an author with The Temples of South India, focusing on all aspects that would interest a scholar and a lay person alike. History, legend, architecture, social relevance of temples, tourist information, all this made the book critically acclaimed as well as popular.

Born and brought up in Chennai’s oldest settlement, Mylapore, where temples and traditions are part of day to day life, Ambujam’s passion was fuelled by numerous temple visits with her grandfather. This fascination led to a column on the subject for a populat website and became her maiden work after a lot of hard work.

He training and experience as a journalist has always held her in good stead. Unlike southern India, Western India is a territory that has not been scrutinized closely by temple authors, or for that matter, extensively written about. This led to a fascinating journey from state to state and village to village. It is still incomplete.

Ambujam is a gold medallist from University of Madras in English Literature and is a Jack Howard Fellow in Science Reporting from the California Institute of Technology, USA. In a career spanning over two and a half decades, she has worked with the Press Trust of India (PTI), The Hindu, Women’s Features Service and became News Editor of the United News of India (UNI). She has authored children’s books.

She is married to a railway officer and has daughter and a son. She spends most of her time now with her boxer dog Rusty in her Chennai home.

 

Foreword

“Temple of Western India” is Ambujam Anantharaman’s second book after “Temple of South India”.

The author has researched each temple in detail and covered the myths and the historical facts associated with each. She has covered the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra and has encapsulated a lot of information in an easy reading style. Some of the temples are of great antiquity, but are no longer under worship, such as the Caves of Elephanta. Some are impressive new structures, like Akshardham. But most are temples, which attract the devout common man. She has also covered the art and architecture of the temples, like the exquisite sculptures of the Sun Temple of Modhera and the delicate decorations on the marble temples of Mount Abu.

The temples has, traditionally, been the centre of the village and the source of life and sustenance for the people living there. The temple played-and continues to play- an important role in the religious, social and economic life of the village. Villages grew around the temple, and temple tanks, like that of Modhera, played an important role in the harvesting and conservation of water. Shops sprouted around temples and a thriving economy developed in response to the pilgrims’ needs.

“Yatras,” or sacred pilgrimages, are an essential part of Hinduism and every Hindu tries to visit as many sacred sites in a lifetime. The word “tirtha” means a sacred site of pilgrimage or a ford, a shallow part of body of water that enables the believer to cross over from this world towards moksha. Within the temple is the “garba griha,” the womb of the universe representing the emanation of all creation. Looking at the deity takes the worshipper nearer the Supreme Being.

The construction of a temple entailed knowledge of the deity enshrined within, the myths associated with the deity and the canons of art and architecture. Thus ideals of creation, the universe and art combined to create these wonderful buildings of stone that could stand the test of time. The “vimanas” or spires of Western Indian temples are generally constructed in the North Indian or “nagara” style, providing a stark contrast to the Dravida “vimanas” of South Indian temples.

What differentiates the deity of the temple from and block of stone? Firstly the chosen material had to be perfect, without any faults. The vibrations of a million prayers and the strength of total devotion were then transposed to the deity, giving Him the power to grant favours to His worshippers. Thus the temple often evolved from small wayside shrines to large complexes created out of faith and devotion. The sculptures and paintings on the walls of the temple generally depict the victory of good over evil, a timely reminder to the onlooker that he has a choice and should make the right one.

There are fast facts about each temple such as how to reach the place by ait, rail, road, the seasons, languages spoken, local accommodation and nearby places of interest.

Like its predecessor, “Temples of Western India” is a marvellous compendium for the traveller and a pilgrim who is trying to reach the little known pilgrim centres of this country. Ambujam Anantharaman has written this book with “bhakti” or devotion, a quality essential to teach the pilgrim and for the pilgrim. She has done yeoman service in writing this second book and I look forward to more in the series.

 

Introduction

Temples of Western India was a fascinating exploration for me. It was not only that I had not visited these parts before, but that I had to often of off the tourist circuit to find in the dullness all around a beautiful diamond sparkling in the sunlight. Take for example the Ambika Temple at Jagat in Rajasthan, the Modera Sun Temple in Gujarat or Tryambakeswar in Maharashtra.

Many of these temples are known only to the local and even people who ought to have knowledge of them like officials often falter in spotting the exact location.

What is the main difference between temples of South India and those of the western region of India? It is of course one of scale. Where can we find a magnificent Chidambaram in Western India? The closest that comes to this grandeur is a munificence of architecture.

This does not mean that the architecture is in any way primitive or coarse in other temples. Every stone is worth gazing at for it has been chiselled so carefully with much attention to detail. Take for examples the modern temple of Somnath in Gujarat where the ancient has been replicated. Or Modera, which is a striking example of perfect building style.

In tune with much smaller scale, we don’t find gopuras within gopuras-towers within towers or prakaras within prakaras-courtyards within courtyards. Imagine Srirangam Temple in Tamil Nadu for a contrast!

True, like in all regions, there are temples more known for their devotional flavour. What better illustration than the Ashta, Vinayak circuit in Maharashtra? Others would be, for examples, Srinathji in Rajasthan and Maha Kali in Pavgadh, Gujarat. And then there are the twin temples of Mangeushi and Shanthi Durga in Goa, which naturally stand out in that land of churches.

When talking of worship, what comes immediately to mind is the beating of the drums during “harathi” in these temples, where the sound is all encompassing, compared to the more melodious ringing of bells in South India.

Architecturally, these temples are broadly categorized as being in the Nagara mode. There is hardly any use of granite and it is sandstone that has been primarily used. Marble is found in plenty in the Jain temples and in the palaces of Rajasthan.

Talking of Jain temples, a separate section on these has been added for Rajasthan and Gujarat, where there are splendid illustrations of Jain architecture.

The temple apart from the main ones seem to suffer from lack of patronage. Just like in South India, they have been built by the royals, but I did not hear of any royal family keeping up their links with a family temple like Chamundeswari in Mysore, Karnataka, for instance. I might be wrong in this.

Similarly, any other errors are my own. There are also some notable omissions, like the Kolhapur Mahalaxmi Temple. Maharaashtra is a very large state, and the remaining temples could perhaps be included in a second edition.

As for legends the fount is the same-the Epics and the Puranas! How fascinating to see the same skein running all across this vast land!

As like Temples of South India, the note I would like to stroke in submitting this book is devotion.

Foreword

Temples of Western India" is Ambujam Anantharaman's second book after "Temples of South India". The author has researched each temple in detail and covered the myths and the historical facts associated with each. She has covered the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra and has encapsulated a lot of information in an easy reading style. Some of the temples are of great antiquity, but are no longer under worship, such as the Caves of Elephanta. Some are impressive new structures, like Akshardham. But most are temples, which attract the devout common man. She has also covered the art and architecture of the temples, like the exquisite sculptures of the Sun Temple of Modhera and the delicate decorations on the marble temples of Mount Abu.

The temple has, traditionally, been the centre of the village and the source of life and sustenance for the people living there. The temple played - and continues to play - an important role in the religious, social and economic life of the village. Villages grew around the temple, and temple tanks, like that of Modhera, played an important role in the harvesting and conservation of water. Shops sprouted around temples and a thriving economy developed in response to the pilgrims' needs.

"Yatras," or sacred pilgrimages, are an essential part of Hinduism and every Hindu tries to visit as many sacred sites in a lifetime. The word "tirtha" means a sacred site of pilgrimage or a ford, a shallow part of a body of water that enables the believer to cross over from this world towards moksha. Within the temple is the "garba griha," the womb of the universe representing the emanation of all creation. Looking at the deity takes the worshipper nearer the Supreme Being.

The construction of a temple entailed knowledge of the deity enshrined within, the myths associated with the deity and the canons of art and architecture. Thus ideals of creation, the universe and art combined to create these wonderful buildings of stone that could stand the test of time. The "vimanas" or spires of Western Indian temples are generally constructed in the North Indian or "nagara" style, providing a stark contrast to the Dravida "vimanas" of South Indian temples.

What differentiates the deity of the temple from any block of stone? Firstly, the chosen material had to be perfect, without any faults. The vibrations of a million prayers and the strength of total devotion were then transposed to the deity, giving Him the power to grant favours to His worshippers. Thus the temple often evolved from small wayside shrines to large complexes created out of faith and devotion. The sculptures and paintings on the walls of the temple generally depict the victory of good over evil, a timely reminder to the onlooker that he has a choice and should make the right one.

There are fast facts about each temple such as how to reach the place by air, rail, road, the seasons, languages spoken, local accommodation and nearby places of interest.

Like its predecessor, "Temples of Western India" is a marvelous compendium for the traveler and a pilgrim who is trying to reach the little known pilgrimage centres of this country. Ambujam Anantharaman has written this book with "bhakti" or devotion, a quality essential to reach the pilgrim and for the pilgrim. She has done yeoman service in writing this second book and I look forward to more in the series.

Introduction

Temples of Western India was a fascinating exploration for me. It was not only that I had not visited these parts before, but that I had to often go off the tourist circuit to find in the dullness all around a beautiful diamond sparkling in the sunlight. Take for example the Ambika Temple at Jagat in Rajasthan, the Modera Sun Temple in Gujarat or Tryambakeswar in Maharashtra.

Many of these temples are known only to the locals and even people who ought to have knowledge of them like officials often falter in spotting the exact location.

What is the main difference between temples of South India and those of the western region of India? It is of course one of scale. Where can we find a magnificent Chidambaram in Western India? The closest that comes to this grandeur is the famous shrine of Dwaraka in Gujarat, where there is a munificence of architecture.

This does not mean that the architecture is in any way primitive or coarse in other temples. Every stone is worth gazing at for it has been chiseled so carefully with much attention to detail. Take for example the modern temple of Somnath in Gujarat where the ancient has been replicated, or Modera, which is a striking example of perfect building style.

In tune with the much smaller scale, we don't find gopuras within gopuras - towers within towers or prakaras within prakaras - courtyards within courtyards. Imagine Srirangam Temple in Tamil Nadu for a contrast!

True, like in all regions, there are temples more known for their devotional flavour. What better illustration than the Ashta Vinayak circuit in Maharashtra? Others would be, for example, Srinathji in Rajasthan and Maha Kali in Pavgadh, Gujarat. And then there are the twin temples of Mangeushi and Shanthi Durga in Goa, which naturally stand out in that land of churches.

When talking of worship, what comes immediately to mind is the beating of the drums during "harathi" in these temples, where the sound is all encompassing, compared to the more melodious ringing of bells in South India.

Architecturally, these temples are broadly categorized as being in the Nagara mode. There is hardly any use of granite and it is sandstone that has been primarily used. Marble is found in plenty in the J ain temples and in the palaces of Rajasthan.

Talking of J ain temples, a separate section on these has been added (in brief) for Rajasthan and Gujarat, where there are splendid illustrations of Iain architecture.

The temples apart from the main ones seem to suffer from lack of patronage. Just like in South India, they have been built by the royals, but I did not hear of any royal family keeping up their links with a family temple like Chamundeswari in Mysore, Karnataka, for instance. I might be wrong in this.

Similarly, any other errors are my own. There are also some notable omissions, like the Kolhapur Mahalaxmi Temple. Maharashtra is a very large state, and the remaining temples could perhaps be included in a second edition.

As for legend the fount is the same - the Epics and the Puranas! How fascinating to see the same skein running all across this vast land!

As like Temples of South India, the note I would like to strike in submitting this book is devotion.

Contents

Forewordv
Introductionix
Acknowledgmentsxiii
TEMPLES OF MAHARASHTA
Ashta Vinayak Shrines1
Bhimashankar12
Elephanta Caves.17
EIIora22
Mahalaxmi27
Mumbadevi31
The Guardian of the Western Expanse33
Siddhivinayak Temple37
Divinity in a Stone41
The Peace of Shirdi45
Tryambakeshwar51
Vittala of Pandarpur56
The fascinating legends of Walkeshwar65
TEMPLES OF GUJARAT
Swaminarayan Mandir69
Bahucharaji74
Crossing the ocean of life, "samsara sagara"77
Dwarka the Puri of myriad fames81

Sample Pages









Temples of Western India

Item Code:
NAE950
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2011
Publisher:
ISBN:
9789380032139
Language:
English
Size:
9.0 inch X 6.0 inch
Pages:
216 (24 Color Illustrations)
Other Details:
Weight of the Book : 250 gms
Price:
$22.00   Shipping Free
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About The Book

The Temple of the saint poet Meera at Chittorgarh in Rajasthan is deserted. A lone devotee sings in a corner while the grandeur all around waits in silence for a chance visitor.

All the devotees are where Meera’s heart was. At the famous Krishna temple of Nathdwara in Rajasthan, Dakor, Mul Dwarka, Dwarka and Bet Dwaraka in Gujarat.

In the towering of the famed Dawrka temple lies symbolized the spirit of all the unique temples of Western India. History, legend, architecture, spirituality all merge there. There is a shrine of a different kind at Mahatma Gandhi’s birthplace in the quaint town of Probandar.

The visitors to india from abroad stare in wonder at the Amber Fort in Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan.

That wonders state is naturally where people rush to drink of India’s culture.

Can there near Udaipur or the thousand-pillared Jain shrine at Ranakpur.

In Western India each state is different. In Maharashtra, most of the temples are small, but devotees throng them to worship the indulgent Lord Ganesha.

Gujarat perhaps represents the balance between “bhakti” and artistic excellence. And then there is Goa……

This is a very tourist-friendly handbook, packed with information on famous and not so well known temple of Western India, perhaps the first of its kind.

 

About The Author

Ambujam Anantharaman chanced upon writing on temples during her long career as a journalist and so began a love affair that lasts to this day. She made her debut as an author with The Temples of South India, focusing on all aspects that would interest a scholar and a lay person alike. History, legend, architecture, social relevance of temples, tourist information, all this made the book critically acclaimed as well as popular.

Born and brought up in Chennai’s oldest settlement, Mylapore, where temples and traditions are part of day to day life, Ambujam’s passion was fuelled by numerous temple visits with her grandfather. This fascination led to a column on the subject for a populat website and became her maiden work after a lot of hard work.

He training and experience as a journalist has always held her in good stead. Unlike southern India, Western India is a territory that has not been scrutinized closely by temple authors, or for that matter, extensively written about. This led to a fascinating journey from state to state and village to village. It is still incomplete.

Ambujam is a gold medallist from University of Madras in English Literature and is a Jack Howard Fellow in Science Reporting from the California Institute of Technology, USA. In a career spanning over two and a half decades, she has worked with the Press Trust of India (PTI), The Hindu, Women’s Features Service and became News Editor of the United News of India (UNI). She has authored children’s books.

She is married to a railway officer and has daughter and a son. She spends most of her time now with her boxer dog Rusty in her Chennai home.

 

Foreword

“Temple of Western India” is Ambujam Anantharaman’s second book after “Temple of South India”.

The author has researched each temple in detail and covered the myths and the historical facts associated with each. She has covered the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra and has encapsulated a lot of information in an easy reading style. Some of the temples are of great antiquity, but are no longer under worship, such as the Caves of Elephanta. Some are impressive new structures, like Akshardham. But most are temples, which attract the devout common man. She has also covered the art and architecture of the temples, like the exquisite sculptures of the Sun Temple of Modhera and the delicate decorations on the marble temples of Mount Abu.

The temples has, traditionally, been the centre of the village and the source of life and sustenance for the people living there. The temple played-and continues to play- an important role in the religious, social and economic life of the village. Villages grew around the temple, and temple tanks, like that of Modhera, played an important role in the harvesting and conservation of water. Shops sprouted around temples and a thriving economy developed in response to the pilgrims’ needs.

“Yatras,” or sacred pilgrimages, are an essential part of Hinduism and every Hindu tries to visit as many sacred sites in a lifetime. The word “tirtha” means a sacred site of pilgrimage or a ford, a shallow part of body of water that enables the believer to cross over from this world towards moksha. Within the temple is the “garba griha,” the womb of the universe representing the emanation of all creation. Looking at the deity takes the worshipper nearer the Supreme Being.

The construction of a temple entailed knowledge of the deity enshrined within, the myths associated with the deity and the canons of art and architecture. Thus ideals of creation, the universe and art combined to create these wonderful buildings of stone that could stand the test of time. The “vimanas” or spires of Western Indian temples are generally constructed in the North Indian or “nagara” style, providing a stark contrast to the Dravida “vimanas” of South Indian temples.

What differentiates the deity of the temple from and block of stone? Firstly the chosen material had to be perfect, without any faults. The vibrations of a million prayers and the strength of total devotion were then transposed to the deity, giving Him the power to grant favours to His worshippers. Thus the temple often evolved from small wayside shrines to large complexes created out of faith and devotion. The sculptures and paintings on the walls of the temple generally depict the victory of good over evil, a timely reminder to the onlooker that he has a choice and should make the right one.

There are fast facts about each temple such as how to reach the place by ait, rail, road, the seasons, languages spoken, local accommodation and nearby places of interest.

Like its predecessor, “Temples of Western India” is a marvellous compendium for the traveller and a pilgrim who is trying to reach the little known pilgrim centres of this country. Ambujam Anantharaman has written this book with “bhakti” or devotion, a quality essential to teach the pilgrim and for the pilgrim. She has done yeoman service in writing this second book and I look forward to more in the series.

 

Introduction

Temples of Western India was a fascinating exploration for me. It was not only that I had not visited these parts before, but that I had to often of off the tourist circuit to find in the dullness all around a beautiful diamond sparkling in the sunlight. Take for example the Ambika Temple at Jagat in Rajasthan, the Modera Sun Temple in Gujarat or Tryambakeswar in Maharashtra.

Many of these temples are known only to the local and even people who ought to have knowledge of them like officials often falter in spotting the exact location.

What is the main difference between temples of South India and those of the western region of India? It is of course one of scale. Where can we find a magnificent Chidambaram in Western India? The closest that comes to this grandeur is a munificence of architecture.

This does not mean that the architecture is in any way primitive or coarse in other temples. Every stone is worth gazing at for it has been chiselled so carefully with much attention to detail. Take for examples the modern temple of Somnath in Gujarat where the ancient has been replicated. Or Modera, which is a striking example of perfect building style.

In tune with much smaller scale, we don’t find gopuras within gopuras-towers within towers or prakaras within prakaras-courtyards within courtyards. Imagine Srirangam Temple in Tamil Nadu for a contrast!

True, like in all regions, there are temples more known for their devotional flavour. What better illustration than the Ashta, Vinayak circuit in Maharashtra? Others would be, for examples, Srinathji in Rajasthan and Maha Kali in Pavgadh, Gujarat. And then there are the twin temples of Mangeushi and Shanthi Durga in Goa, which naturally stand out in that land of churches.

When talking of worship, what comes immediately to mind is the beating of the drums during “harathi” in these temples, where the sound is all encompassing, compared to the more melodious ringing of bells in South India.

Architecturally, these temples are broadly categorized as being in the Nagara mode. There is hardly any use of granite and it is sandstone that has been primarily used. Marble is found in plenty in the Jain temples and in the palaces of Rajasthan.

Talking of Jain temples, a separate section on these has been added for Rajasthan and Gujarat, where there are splendid illustrations of Jain architecture.

The temple apart from the main ones seem to suffer from lack of patronage. Just like in South India, they have been built by the royals, but I did not hear of any royal family keeping up their links with a family temple like Chamundeswari in Mysore, Karnataka, for instance. I might be wrong in this.

Similarly, any other errors are my own. There are also some notable omissions, like the Kolhapur Mahalaxmi Temple. Maharaashtra is a very large state, and the remaining temples could perhaps be included in a second edition.

As for legends the fount is the same-the Epics and the Puranas! How fascinating to see the same skein running all across this vast land!

As like Temples of South India, the note I would like to stroke in submitting this book is devotion.

Foreword

Temples of Western India" is Ambujam Anantharaman's second book after "Temples of South India". The author has researched each temple in detail and covered the myths and the historical facts associated with each. She has covered the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra and has encapsulated a lot of information in an easy reading style. Some of the temples are of great antiquity, but are no longer under worship, such as the Caves of Elephanta. Some are impressive new structures, like Akshardham. But most are temples, which attract the devout common man. She has also covered the art and architecture of the temples, like the exquisite sculptures of the Sun Temple of Modhera and the delicate decorations on the marble temples of Mount Abu.

The temple has, traditionally, been the centre of the village and the source of life and sustenance for the people living there. The temple played - and continues to play - an important role in the religious, social and economic life of the village. Villages grew around the temple, and temple tanks, like that of Modhera, played an important role in the harvesting and conservation of water. Shops sprouted around temples and a thriving economy developed in response to the pilgrims' needs.

"Yatras," or sacred pilgrimages, are an essential part of Hinduism and every Hindu tries to visit as many sacred sites in a lifetime. The word "tirtha" means a sacred site of pilgrimage or a ford, a shallow part of a body of water that enables the believer to cross over from this world towards moksha. Within the temple is the "garba griha," the womb of the universe representing the emanation of all creation. Looking at the deity takes the worshipper nearer the Supreme Being.

The construction of a temple entailed knowledge of the deity enshrined within, the myths associated with the deity and the canons of art and architecture. Thus ideals of creation, the universe and art combined to create these wonderful buildings of stone that could stand the test of time. The "vimanas" or spires of Western Indian temples are generally constructed in the North Indian or "nagara" style, providing a stark contrast to the Dravida "vimanas" of South Indian temples.

What differentiates the deity of the temple from any block of stone? Firstly, the chosen material had to be perfect, without any faults. The vibrations of a million prayers and the strength of total devotion were then transposed to the deity, giving Him the power to grant favours to His worshippers. Thus the temple often evolved from small wayside shrines to large complexes created out of faith and devotion. The sculptures and paintings on the walls of the temple generally depict the victory of good over evil, a timely reminder to the onlooker that he has a choice and should make the right one.

There are fast facts about each temple such as how to reach the place by air, rail, road, the seasons, languages spoken, local accommodation and nearby places of interest.

Like its predecessor, "Temples of Western India" is a marvelous compendium for the traveler and a pilgrim who is trying to reach the little known pilgrimage centres of this country. Ambujam Anantharaman has written this book with "bhakti" or devotion, a quality essential to reach the pilgrim and for the pilgrim. She has done yeoman service in writing this second book and I look forward to more in the series.

Introduction

Temples of Western India was a fascinating exploration for me. It was not only that I had not visited these parts before, but that I had to often go off the tourist circuit to find in the dullness all around a beautiful diamond sparkling in the sunlight. Take for example the Ambika Temple at Jagat in Rajasthan, the Modera Sun Temple in Gujarat or Tryambakeswar in Maharashtra.

Many of these temples are known only to the locals and even people who ought to have knowledge of them like officials often falter in spotting the exact location.

What is the main difference between temples of South India and those of the western region of India? It is of course one of scale. Where can we find a magnificent Chidambaram in Western India? The closest that comes to this grandeur is the famous shrine of Dwaraka in Gujarat, where there is a munificence of architecture.

This does not mean that the architecture is in any way primitive or coarse in other temples. Every stone is worth gazing at for it has been chiseled so carefully with much attention to detail. Take for example the modern temple of Somnath in Gujarat where the ancient has been replicated, or Modera, which is a striking example of perfect building style.

In tune with the much smaller scale, we don't find gopuras within gopuras - towers within towers or prakaras within prakaras - courtyards within courtyards. Imagine Srirangam Temple in Tamil Nadu for a contrast!

True, like in all regions, there are temples more known for their devotional flavour. What better illustration than the Ashta Vinayak circuit in Maharashtra? Others would be, for example, Srinathji in Rajasthan and Maha Kali in Pavgadh, Gujarat. And then there are the twin temples of Mangeushi and Shanthi Durga in Goa, which naturally stand out in that land of churches.

When talking of worship, what comes immediately to mind is the beating of the drums during "harathi" in these temples, where the sound is all encompassing, compared to the more melodious ringing of bells in South India.

Architecturally, these temples are broadly categorized as being in the Nagara mode. There is hardly any use of granite and it is sandstone that has been primarily used. Marble is found in plenty in the J ain temples and in the palaces of Rajasthan.

Talking of J ain temples, a separate section on these has been added (in brief) for Rajasthan and Gujarat, where there are splendid illustrations of Iain architecture.

The temples apart from the main ones seem to suffer from lack of patronage. Just like in South India, they have been built by the royals, but I did not hear of any royal family keeping up their links with a family temple like Chamundeswari in Mysore, Karnataka, for instance. I might be wrong in this.

Similarly, any other errors are my own. There are also some notable omissions, like the Kolhapur Mahalaxmi Temple. Maharashtra is a very large state, and the remaining temples could perhaps be included in a second edition.

As for legend the fount is the same - the Epics and the Puranas! How fascinating to see the same skein running all across this vast land!

As like Temples of South India, the note I would like to strike in submitting this book is devotion.

Contents

Forewordv
Introductionix
Acknowledgmentsxiii
TEMPLES OF MAHARASHTA
Ashta Vinayak Shrines1
Bhimashankar12
Elephanta Caves.17
EIIora22
Mahalaxmi27
Mumbadevi31
The Guardian of the Western Expanse33
Siddhivinayak Temple37
Divinity in a Stone41
The Peace of Shirdi45
Tryambakeshwar51
Vittala of Pandarpur56
The fascinating legends of Walkeshwar65
TEMPLES OF GUJARAT
Swaminarayan Mandir69
Bahucharaji74
Crossing the ocean of life, "samsara sagara"77
Dwarka the Puri of myriad fames81

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