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***** Location: India, Japan, other regions
***** Season: Non-seasonal Topic
***** Category: Humanity


Aalayam (Aalay)
Ambalam (in Malayalam)
Devaalaya (in Bengali)
Koil or Kovis (in Tamizh/Tamil)
Kshethram (Kshethra) (in Sanskrit)
Mandiram (Mandir) (in Hindi)

Temples are places of worship. They are found in many areas of the world. They are the places where all the religious festivals take place.


Pune is widening its roads. There are many small temples on these roads which have to be relocated. People still come to pray in these temples. In between the dug up roads and the workers, we hear the temple bells ring, and see the devotees pray!

Puneites climb the hills for their morning and evening walk . . . they reach the top only to be greeted by a Hanuman or a Ganesh Temple!
On the lighter side, it seems – in truth - Hanuman and Ganesh breathe unpolluted air more than us!

Chennai of course is known as a Temple city.
All over India from Kanya Kumari, the southern most tip of the Indian peninsula to Mount Kailas in the lofty Himalayas we have our temples, folding the rich and the poor in one single embrace. . .

The beauty of India’s secularism is that you find the Great Shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan playing on his wind-instrument called the shehnai, in Kasi Vishwanath Temple and down south you have the devote Hindus visiting Velankanni Church.

In this diversity lie India’s unity . . . and her strength.

Kala Ramesh


Vailankanni church


Click HERE to see photos of Temples in India

Click HERE to see photos of Holy Shrines in India

Worldwide use


Japanese Buddhist Temples and Haiku

Japanese Shinto Shrines and Haiku

Things found on the way


temple gate in spring -
the breeze getting in faster
than the devotees

temple entrance:
the blind beggar’s pail fills
with blossoms

Kala Ramesh, India, 2006


Sequence by R.K.SINGH

at the cloud's edge
behind the temple

Night's rumblings
prayers add wings to breezes
calm in the temple

at the river-front:
deity's half-closed eyes

From a distance
Kali's temple on the hill--
stone in the liver

Climbing high through
rough pathways and stony cold--
the melting lingam

Searching the deity's
sandals in the shoes' pile --
the temple's entrance

Krishna offering
parijata to Radha:
Narada looks on

Without washing hands
touches the hibiscus for worship:
her frowning glance

The temple's dome
in the flooded Ganga:
empty kalash

Awaits sunrise
at the temple's threshold
a nude worshipper

Reflects the high dome
in the mirror of Ganga--
Shiva's temple

R.K.SINGH, India, 2006


Mandir is where
the Gods live
they believe.

Temple, a vast source of
devotional emotion

Aju Mukhopadhyay, India, 2006


Some haiku, first published in the
Photo Haiku Gallery

mountain temple
blooms on rock in
dense sunlight
( Jul. 15, 2003)

light shadows air ~
melt an old kitchen into
a temple ~ ritual-silences ~
( Feb. 26, 2002)

snow clad universe
still keeps the temple red on
cool placid waters ~

( Jan. 29, 2002)

Narayanan Raghunathan, July 2006


hindu temple . . .
a slumdog boy sweeping
the marigolds

- Shared by Sandip Chauhan -
Haiku Culture Magazine, 2013

Related words

***** Japanese Temple (tera) and Haiku

***** Japanese Shrine (jinja) and Haiku

***** Haiku and Temple Bells in India




1 comment:

Anonymous said...

 © Sketchbook November 2007
Aju Mukhopoadhyay, IN

Indian Temples and Tripura Temple Culture

The Characteristics of Indian Temples

Truly, the Divine is the absolute Truth; formless, colourless, without air, smell or sound. During the Vedic period there was no temple as the Nirakara or shapeless had not assumed an image to be worshipped by the religionists. But the Vedic people had Yagnasala to perform Yagna. That might have given birth to Mandir or temple.

Whenever humans have something to worship representing the God they do it in a place away from the mundane for it is said that though the divine transcends all limitations, humans have limits. Hence to visualize the divine or to establish contact with it, they need a temporal set up though they conceive it as the eternal.

Temple is Devalaya or the palace of God. The earliest remains of the temples in north and central India belonged to the Gupta period between 320-650 CE. The southern rock-cut temples belonged to a period between 500-800 CE. Buddhist shrines, Stupas and rock-cut temples with images of Gods were the earliest inspiration for the development of temple architecture. It has three main divisions; the northern Nagara, southern Dravida and the third Vesara with characteristics of both the styles. There are many subdivisions in it like the orissa temple architecture or the Bengal hut type temples.

The temples of India with their marvelous structures stand rock-solid, sounder than the modern concrete structures. With rain water harvesting technique, it offered the opportunity to become the arrester of lightning in the area. The kalasams at its top stored the seeds of paddy for use during exigencies. With perfect symmetry in everything, Indian temples have stood the test of time.

A temple is symbol of many things, a complicated artistic-ritualistic production. While it represents the body of God at the macrocosmic plane, it represents the body of man at the microcosmic plane. Parts of a temple are conceived as parts of a human body called by similar terms, such as pada (foot), jangha (shank), griva (neck), nasika (nose), sirsa (head), etc.

A temple represents the subtle body with seven psychic centres or charkas, according to Tantra. The first three centres (Muladhar, Swadhisthan and Manipur), as represented by the temple is under the ground level. The Garbhagriha represents the Anahata charka in the heart region. The Sikhara area of a temple represents the fifth and sixth (Visuddha and Ajna charkas) centres at the root of the throat and between the eye brows. The top most part of the temple, Kalasa, points to the Sahasrar, the seventh and the last centre, just at and above the top of the head.

Temples of Tripura