Hindu temple

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Hindu temple

A Hindu temple is a symbolic house, seat and body of god. It is a structure designed to bring human beings and gods together, using symbolism to express the ideas and beliefs of Hinduism.


  • About the temples of India, Alberuni says that his own people “are unable to describe them, much less to construct anything like them”.
    • Alberuni, quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 8
  • In the choice of the Places [for temples], and manner of building, they follow rather their instinct or pretended inspiration, than any general rule....
    • Philipp Baldaeus, quoted from Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.
  • As a result of his (Aurangzeb's) fanaticism, thousands of the temples which had represented or housed the art of India through a millennium were laid in ruins. We can never know, from looking at India today, what grandeur and beauty she once possessed.
    • Will Durant Our Oriental Heritage. Ch. XVI : From Alexander to Aurangzeb, § VIII. THE DECLINE OF THE MOGULS
  • Generally speaking, a temple is a 'Place of Worship'. It is also called the 'House of God'. However, for a Hindu, it is both and yet still more. It is the whole cosmos in the miniature form.
    • S. P. Gupta, Elements of Indian Art (2002)
  • [Temples]... which are able to compete in magnificence with the most superb of Ancient Rome.
    • G.P. Maffei, historian of Jesuit missions (1588), quoted from Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.
  • Although King Aurangzeb destroyed numerous temples, there does not thereby fail to be many left at different places... All of them (temples at Hardwar and Ayodhya) are thronged with worshippers, even those that are destroyed are still venerated by the Hindus and visited by the offering of alms.
    • Niccolao Manucci, vol,. III. Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3. also in quoted in Goel, S.R. Hindu Temples – What Happened to Them, Volume I (1990) 2nd edition, p.209.
  • No new temple was allowed to be built nor any old one to be repaired, so that the total disappearance of all places of Hindu worship was to be merely a question of time. But even this delay, this slow operation of Time, was intolerable to many of the more fiery spirits of Islam, who tried to hasten the abolition of “‘infidelity’” by anticipating the destructive hand of Time and forcibly pulling down temples.
    • Jadunath Sarkar , History of Aurangzib, Vol III.
  • Hindus temples have been under unprecedented attack for a thousand years. They suffered desecration, destruction, confiscation of their property and iniquitous taxation under the Muslim rulers. Under the British, the more physical methods ceased but fiscal methods were adopted for undermining "heathenism". A large part of the land and properties of the temples were taken away under all kinds of pretexts. After independence, the temples have fared no better. Their properties have not been restored to them and they continue to exist in deepening poverty. In the South where there are still many noble structures left, the temples are under the control of a Government which takes pride in being "secular", and whose secularity is thoroughly anti-Hindu in orientation.
    • Swarup, Ram (2000). On Hinduism: Reviews and reflections. Chapter 2.
  • A religious minority is a law unto itself. The institutions run by it enjoy protection both from their staff as well as from the Government. Their properties are safe and their management secure from Government intervention, very unlike institutions run by Hindus which enjoy no such protection and which are subject to all kinds of interference from a Government which takes pride in being ‘secular’, and which has developed aversion of secularity informed by anti-Hindu animus. The Indian Express reports ( 28/29 January, ’86 ) that the famous temple of Lord Venkateswara at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh has been ordered to pay rupees twenty crores as tax on the “sales” of prasadam since 1975! The Aurangzebi spirit is very much alive. Favoured treatment and discriminatory taxes have been used by Governments in the past to promote particular culture-groups and destroy others.
    • Ram Swarup. Ramakrishna Mission. (1986). Ramakrishna Mission: In search of a new identity.
  • Muslims had destroyed and looted the temples. The British did not do that but they took over a good deal of the temple lands as a 'revenue measure'; they did not use the word 'confiscation' and, in fact, converted some of these lands into 'monetary remuneration'. As a result, according to the Government of India's own comprehensive study beginning in 1962 and lasting for over ten years, the ten thousand five hundred and odd temples of Tamilnadu have a total annual income of only rupees twenty-seven million, from all their moveable and immoveable properties. Over 5,000 temples have only an annual income of Rs.500/- each! There is almost no money for the pujas, and the priests also hardly get anything. The only people who get proper remunerations are the Government functionaries employed to overseer the working of the temples. The 14,000 priests in Madhya Pradesh got five naya paisa per month at the time of Independence; now they get six naya paisa according to the Madhya Pradesh Pujaris Mahasangh!
    • Ram Swarup. Hindu View of Christianity and Islam (1992)
  • [The temple at Nagarkot]... most richly set forth, both scaled and paved with plate of pure gold.
    • Edward Terry, quoted from Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.
  • Ganga Devi wife of Kumar Kampana (died 1374 CE) of Vijayanagar writes as follows in her Madhuravijayam regarding the state of things in the Madura region when it was under Muslim rule:
    "The temples in the land have fallen into neglect, as worship in them has been stopped... The sweet odour of the sacrificial smoke and chant of the Vedas have deserted the villages which are now filled with the foul smell of roasted flesh and the fierce noise of the ruffianly Turushkas... The wicked mlechchas pollute the religion of the Hindus every day."
    • Gangadevi, Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 4
  • [Thanks to Babur's destruction mania,] temples as strong as a thunderbolt were set on fire.
  • Instead, the BJP ought first of all to take up an issue which really matters for Hindu communal life abolishing the legal and constitutional discriminations against the Hindu majority, most urgently those in education and temple management. The constitutional bedrock of these discriminations is Article 30, which accords to the minorities the right to set up and administer their own schools and colleges, preserving their communal identity (through the course contents and by selectively recruiting teachers and students), all while receiving state subsidies. That right is not guaranteed to the majority, but should be.... An analogous problem exists for the Hindu temples. Mosques and churches are exclusively managed by the respective communities, but Hindu temples are routinely taken over by the secular authorities. This results in misappropriation of the temple's income and its redirection to non‑Hindu purposes. It is also a major factor in the grinding poverty afflicting most Hindu temple priests and their families... Recently, the authorities moved court (unsuccessfully) to get the Shirdi Sai Baba temple in Hyderabad registered as a Hindu temple, all for wresting control of the institution and its funds. The BJP does not deserve to get a single Hindu vote if it doesn't address to this injustice.
    • Elst, K. BJP Retreat from Ayodhya. The Observer Of Business And Politics (New Delhi, December, 1996.)
  • Hindu temples are systematically understaffed and underpaid. Bad blood is created between staff and clientele by forcing the priests to get the money elsewhere, viz from the devotees, in undignified ways. .. the Government controls the Hindu temples but not the mosques, churches and gurudwaras. This law allows Sate Governments and politicians to take over thousands of Hindu Temples, maintain control over them and their properties, and sell off their endowment land. They can sell the temple assets and use the money in any way they see fit... It is alleged, for instance, that ... about 43,000 temples in Andhra Pradesh have come under government control and only 18 per cent of the revenue of these temples has been returned for temple purposes....
    • Elst, Koenraad (2012). The argumentative Hindu. New Delhi : Aditya Prakashan.
  • The management of Hindu temples is almost entirely controlled by the State governments (implying: their funds directed to non-Hindu projects, their priests terribly underpaid, in some cases their upkeep grossly neglected), while churches and mosques are entirely controlled by the respective religious communities.
    • Elst, K. (2010). The saffron swastika: The notion of "Hindu fascism". p 755
  • State control of Hindu temples and their property is by far the largest, financially most damaging scam of independent India. ...What business is it of the State to levy an administrative charge from anywhere between 5 percent to 21 percent on Hindu temples in the name of audit? What business is it of the State to dictate how many times a pooja is to be conducted and who is to conduct it, and who is qualified to be the priest and what is going to be the procedure for worship? What business is it of the State to control tens of thousands of acres of temple land and then set rent for it? The loss to Hindu temples on account of this alone is estimated over decades to be in lacs of crores... . Because of this loss in revenue generation, Hindu temples are not able to spend money on what they would really like to spend money on—opening up ved pathshalas, schools, colleges, gaushalas, fellowships and scholarships, orphanages, Hindu cultural and religious centres—all things and causes other religions and their places of worship spend their money on unencumbered.... Only in India can you step aside and watch as the State appoints non-Hindus— Muslims like Firhad Hakim, Christians like Vangalapudi Anita—on boards that control Hindu temples; only here will we remain silent as temple idols are stolen, temple property auctioned, a whole temple driven ecosystem and way of life dismantled-Assault on temples has turned into an assault on Hinduism itself. Imagine a Hindu priest or a politician controlling and dictating how St Frances Church or the Jama Masjid should be run. If that happens, perhaps judiciary would indeed conduct a midnight hearing, crying death of secularism.
    • (2023.) Hindus in Hindu Rashtra : Eighth-Class Citizens and Victims of State-Sanctioned Apartheid. by Anand Ranganathan
  • Why does the present government gloat on constructing temple corridors like the one in Kashi at the cost of 339 crores when it could have relinquished control over Hindu temples and allowed the latter to fund hundreds of such corridors over the length and breadth of this country? As far as I am concerned, a Hindu temple should be publicly listed as a company. After all, it supplies a product that people buy—peace of mind and reassurance— and unlike other companies that need to constantly refine or come up with better products, a temple’s product has not changed in a millennium, and never will. Indians should be able to buy stake in it and make the temple richer. The richer it becomes through public trading, the more it will do for the society—schools, hospitals, roads, orphanages, housing, the list goes on. The more it does for the society, the more it will garner donations. With temples being publicly listed, the ready excuse of the government that, who will control the temple after we relinquish control, becomes untenable. Let the government tax the temple’s wealth— no issues with that. At least, the wealth generated by the temple will belong to the temple. At least, then, the Hindus will not be so blatantly discriminated in their own country.
    • (2023.) Hindus in Hindu Rashtra : Eighth-Class Citizens and Victims of State-Sanctioned Apartheid. by Anand Ranganathan

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