Cave temples of India; unique ancient shrines

Traditions are still observed in India that confuse the civilized world.

Ancient India, for good reason, is considered one of the most advanced ancient civilizations. The indicators of the economic development of the states of Hindustan in ancient times were very good, and many features of the social structure existed almost unchanged until the 19th century. But the main thing is that Ancient India is famous for its large-scale achievements in the field of science and art, many of which have not lost their importance to this day.

Features of ancient Indian religion

Little is known about the beliefs of the ancient Harappan civilization - the discovered figurines and objects of a clearly ritual purpose only allow us to know that these people had a sufficiently developed cult. Much more is known about the religious beliefs of the so-called Vedic period, which lasted from the middle of the 2nd to the middle of the 1st millennium BC. ... This information is contained in the religious collections of hymns of that time - the so-called Vedas. The Vedas were formed in antiquity, and were written down a little later. They still have an important spiritual significance in India.

There was no supreme god in the Vedic tradition. The Indians worshiped many gods, who embodied mainly elemental forces. Each god, among other things, had several hypostases - avatars. Each avatar in certain circumstances could be considered as an independent deity, so there were a lot of gods. In the course of improving the social structure and the formation of class society and statehood, the gods began to resemble natural forces less, and a hierarchy arose among them. Brahma was worshiped as the supreme creator deity, and Vishnu and Shiva (creation and destruction) became the most popular deities.

Further development of the Vedic religious tradition led to the emergence of Hinduism - this trend also formed in Ancient India. Now this creed is professed by up to 80% of the population of India; there are his adherents in other countries. The total number of Hindus in the world is estimated at one billion.

In the middle of the 1st millennium BC. ... Buddhism arose in India. He is considered one of the world's religions, but classical Buddhism is not such, for Buddha is not a god, but a person who has attained perfection. Buddhism recognizes the idea of ​​the equality of people and their self-improvement. Hinduism partially assimilated Buddhism, recognizing Buddha as the avatar of Vishnu.

Ancient Indian Philosophy

The worldview of the ancient Indians was not confined to religion; philosophy also developed significantly there. Thanks to the traditionalism of Indian society, many of the oldest works have survived to this day.

Indian philosophers tend to reflect on the essence and spiritual responsibilities of man. At the same time, not everyone considered religiosity necessary for this. There are excerpts from the philosophical works of ancient Indian authors who deny the generally accepted Hindu hierarchy of gods. There is also reason to believe that in India in ancient times, independently of Democritus, an atomistic theory appeared.

Writing and Literature

From what has been said it is clear that in Ancient India there was a developed writing system and a sufficient number of literate people. Writing already existed among the peoples of the Harappan civilization, as evidenced by numerous finds. However, this letter has not yet been read.

In the Vedic period, Sanskrit appeared - an alphabetic writing, much more convenient than Egyptian hieroglyphs or Sumerian cuneiform. Sanskrit is not one of the "dead" languages, as it is still sometimes used for religious and ritual purposes. Thanks to this, the works of ancient Indian literature have not only been read and translated into modern language, but are also popular.

Today we will tell you about the most famous and ancient temples of India: Khajuraho, Kailash, Hoysal, Shiva, Ekambareshvara. India is a unique country with a huge number of sights and architectural monuments of historical importance.

The population of this country is distinguished by high piety and respect for religious rules and canons. This explains the widespread cult of ritual construction in the country.

Kailasa Temple (Kailasanatha)

It was built right in the rock. Its construction began in the 2nd century BC and lasted for about 200 years.

Huge lion figures, images of elephants are carved right out of the rock.

They form a magnificent vault built as a dedication to the god Shiva. His statue adorns the entrance of Kailash.

Hoysala Temples

In this state, located in the south of India, many religious buildings have been preserved. They differ from all other religious buildings in the country with their special architectural solutions. The Hoysal temples have a special platform resembling a star with zigzag patterns and paintings.

The pattern is repeated on the walls and the dome, gradually fading away. An empty space without carvings and paintings is almost impossible to find. The buildings have a porch, near which there are sculptures of elephants or other guards.

The majestic temple of Shiva in Baijnakht

The building is located on a hill near the Kangra Valley. It has a rectangular shape and is clearly oriented towards the east. The building houses graceful sculptures of goddesses designed to cleanse the minds of Shiva's visitors before worshiping him.

Photo of Shiva's scar

On the outside, the walls of the building have special niches, in each of which there are sculptures of this god. Nearby there is a picture, which depicts the marriage of the god with his wife - Parvati, blessed by Vishnu himself.

Hello, dear readers - seekers of knowledge and truth!

India is a unique country that is quite distant from us both geographically and culturally. We have already written about it, but the cave temples of India, which we want to talk about today, will help to understand its history, religion and art in the form of architecture and sculpture even better.

The article will tell you where to look for them among the sacred Indian places, what are their inherent features and briefly tell about the most amazing of them. It will be interesting and exciting.

Features of Temple Caves

The faith of those people who decided to carve a shrine right in a rocky cave, the work on which takes more than a dozen years, must be incredible. There are many such examples of boundless faith in India. They are lavishly decorated with statues, frescoes, paintings.

Masterpieces began to appear as early as the 2nd century BC. Then it was difficult to deliver materials for construction on purpose, so people got the idea to gouge monasteries in caves on the mountain slopes. Depending on the season, such structures were saved from the heat and hid from the rain.

Later, in 4-6 centuries AD, whole cities began to form in these places. The number of inhabitants could be in the hundreds, and the buildings "grew" upward.

The state of Maharashtra is especially famous for its caves. Several cave complexes are located near the city of Aurangabad. It was once the capital of the Mughal Empire and an important trade artery.

First of all, we are talking about Ellora and Ajanta. Several religions were professed here in turn: Buddhist, Hindu, and then Jain. However, they could well coexist peacefully at the same time.

A masterpiece of wall art

These words mean the caves of Ajanta. They are located a hundred kilometers from the former Mughal capital, on the banks of the Waghur River. Construction began in Ancient India, in the 2nd century BC, and continued until the 5th century AD.

The construction technology consisted in the fact that pieces of ground rocks were extracted from the basalt, thereby creating a relief facade. The resulting 29 caves were located on a horseshoe-shaped cliff.

Almost all underground buildings and monasteries were divided into 2 types:

India is one of the most mysterious countries. This is a land of contrasts. It has preserved customs that amaze and sometimes make you horrified.

Religious Traditions

Hinduism is the most widespread religion in India. By worshiping a large number of gods, local residents thus protect themselves and their families from various misfortunes and natural disasters.

Each deity is responsible for certain milestones in life. Whether it is health, thirst for wealth, or revenge on the offender, Hindus go to the temple and make a sacrifice asking for the coveted. Holidays here are bright, noisy and unforgettable.

Thaipusam Festival

One of the ways to protect themselves from evil spirits, fans of the goddess Parvati consider punctures on the body. Making modifications with various sharp objects, the celebrants are reminded of the day when the goddess gave her son Murugan a spear to protect him from demons. With his help, the young god defeated the enemy, giving people a calm and happy life.

If initially, in order to honor his victory, fans made small punctures of the tongue, today it is a complete modification of the body. Punctures are made everywhere: on the tongue, on the chest, arms and legs. It is considered the most honorable to ride the kawadis cart with offerings to the foot of the temple.

The sight is frightening and rather bloody. After all, up to a hundred needles, hooks or knitting needles can pierce the skin of one person.

Dropping babies

Everyone wants to live happily ever after, and when you add a bit of health to this, you can handle all the problems. For five hundred years, an eerie ritual has been performed in the state of Karnataka. Children under one year old, and more often 9-11 months old, are thrown from the tallest building in towns or villages.

Hindus believe that having passed such a ritual, a child gains a remarkable supply of health and good luck. By the way, for the entire period of existence of this strange ritual, not one of the children suffered. Below they are caught using a specially stretched canvas.

The Widow's Climb to the Fire

Yes, it smelled slightly of the Middle Ages, or even the Inquisition. On the territory of India, this ceremony is prohibited. For its holding, all participants are punished according to the law. But from that no less sad is the fact that daredevils still appear who are ready to carry it out.

Spiritual tours to India are tours consisting of visits to the holy pilgrimage sites of India, where tourists can not only learn more about the rituals and customs of various religions, but also take part in religious activities and rituals. Going on a spiritual tour of India, you get the opportunity to visit sacred ashrams, ancient temples and shrines.

Duration: 8 days/7 nights

Destinations: Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry - Chidambaram - Tangjor - Madurai - Chennai

Duration: 06 nights/07 days

Destinations: Delhi/Varanasi - Delhi - Jaipur - Agra - Delhi/Departure

Duration: 10 days/9 nights

Destinations: Delhi - Agra - Jaipur - Jodhpur - Udaipur - Delhi - Departure

Duration: 09 days/08 nights

Destinations: Delhi - Jaipur - FatephurSikri - Agra - Jansi - Khajuraho - Jansi - Delhi - Varanasi - Delhi

Duration: 12 days/11 nights

Directions: Bangalore - Puttaparthi - Tiruvannamalai - Pondicherry - Chidambaram - Mahabalipuram - Kanchipuram - Chen

Duration: 4 days/3 nights

Directions: Kolkata - Mayapur - Kolkata

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