Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Abha R. Pal
In the classification of architecture, the temple falls into the devotional class, that is, a building constructed as a place of worship. The ancient Indians, Egyptians, Sumerians, Greeks, and Romans all built beautiful temples, which are marked by their own individual characteristics. Temples in some form must have originated as soon as image worship came into vogue, for a temple is the “house of God.” In ancient Indian literature, temples are referred to as Devalaya or Devakala , meaning the house of gods. The earliest temples, therefore, were modeled after residential buildings. The Brahmanical conception of a temple, however, is somewhat abstruse. It envisages the temple as the visible outer body of the invisible deity, a visible image of which is installed in it as a symbol of the invisible spirit that pervades all nature, that is, God himself, thus enhancing the status of the temple from the seat of ...