Anatomy of a temple.

Indian temples are traditionally built in the image of the human body. The ritual for building a temple begins with digging in the earth, and planting a pot of seed. The temple is said to rise from the implanted seed, like a human. The different parts of a temple are named after body parts. The two sides are called the hands or wings, the hasta; a pillar is called a foot, pada. The top of the temple is the head, the sikhara. The shrine, the innermost and the darkest sanctum of the temple, is a garbhagrha, the ‘womb-house’. The temple thus carries out in brick and stone the primordial blueprint of the human body.


A.K. Ramanujan.  Speaking of Siva — Introduction.


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