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Course Detail

Course Name Introduction to Temples and Rituals
Course Code 23SS802
Credits 4


Unit 1

Definition of the temple – significance and the meaning of the temple – spiritual, cultural, religious, symbolic artistic, dimensions of temples

Unit 2

Sanskrit scriptures narrating the making of the temple – scriptures on temple architecture – Mayamatam – Manasara – Samaranganasutradhara – Brihatsamhita – Shilpa Prkash – understanding the āgama tradition

Unit 3

The emergence of temple architecture in India – Nagara style of temples – Vesara style of temples – Dravid style of temples – region wise sub types of temples

Unit 4

Making the rituals – ritual practices – types of rituals – determination of rituals – charecteristics of rituals

Unit 5

Temple rituals – Worship of temple icons – āgama-based rituals in the temple – contemporary rituals – continuity of rituals

Unit 6

Tangible and Intangible culture – temple icons – Festivals and Celebrations – Pilgrimages associated with the temple – arts and crafts associated with the temple

Unit 7

Application of the theories – Any four case studies from different religious sects such as Shaiva, Vaishnava, Shakta, Ganapatya, Saura, etc


This course aims to introduce the fundamentals of ‘Rituals and Temples in India’ with its connection to interdisciplinary disciplines such as archaeology, heritage, architecture, history, art history, religion, literature and narratives. The course will help study the tangible and intangible heritage associated with temples in India.

After the completion of the course, the student will be able to –

  • CO1 – Knowing the concept of the temple in Hindu tradition
  • CO2 – Understanding the fundamentals rituals
  • CO3 – Understanding the association of the temple and allied rituals
  • CO4 – Appreciate the role of the intangible and intangible heritage associated with the temple
  • CO5 – Analyse the case studies of temple rituals

Select References

  • Gupta, S.P. 1980. Roots of Indian Art. New Delhi: B.R. Publishing Corporation.
  • Catherine Bell. 1992. Ritual Theory, Ritual Practices. Oxford University Press
  • Huntington, Susana. L. with John Huntington 1985. The Art and Architecture of India.New York: Weatherhill.
  • Acharya, P.K.1927. Indian Architecture According to Manasara – Shilpashatra. London: Oxford University Press.
  • Bandyopadhyay, Bimal.1981. Metal Sculptures of Eastern India. Delhi: Sundeep Prakashan.
  • Brown, Percy 1940. Indian Architecture (Buddhist and Hindu Periods). Bombay: D.B. Taraporevala Sons and Co.
  • Chandra, Pramod (ed) 1975. Studies in Indian Temple Architecture. New Delhi: American Institute of Indian Studies.
  • Dehejia,Vidya 1986. Yogini Cult and Temples A Tantric Tradition. New Delhi: National Museum.
  • Dehejia,Vidya 1990. The Art of Imperial Cholas. Columbia: Columbia University Press.
  • Deva, Krishna 1995. Temples of India (2 vols.) New Delhi: Aryan Books International.
  • Dhaky, M. A. (ed.) 1996. Encyclopedia of Indian Temple Architecture. Vol. I, Part 3, South India: Upper Dravidadesa Later Phase AD 973-1326. Delhi: American Institute of Indian Studies and Oxford University Press.
  • Dhaky, M.A. (ed.) 1998. Encyclopedia of Indian Temple Architecture. Vol. II, Part 3, North India: Beginnings of Medieval Idiom C AD 900-1000. Delhi: American Institute of Indian Studies and IGNCA.
  • Kramrisch, Stella 2002 (Reprint) The Hindu Temples (2 vols.) New Delhi: Motilal Banarasidas.
  • Mathur,Asha Rani. 1988. The Great Traditions: Indian Bronze Masterpieces. New Delhi: Festivals of India.
  • Pichard, Pierre 1995. Thanjavur Brhadisvara, An Architectural Study. Delhi: IGNCA and Ecole Francaise de l’ Extreme Orient.
  • Soundara Rajan, K.V. 1972. Indian Temple Styles:The Personality of Hindu Architecture. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.
  • Rajan, K.V. 1980. Art of South India: Tamil Nadu and Kerala. New Delhi: Sundeep Prakashan
  • Srinivasan, K.R. 1972. Temples of South India. New Delhi: National Book Trust.
  • Tartakov, Gary Michael.1997. The Durga temple at Aihole: Historiographical Study. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • Gavin Flood (ed.), The Oxford History of Hinduism: Hindu Practice, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020,
  • Axel Michaels, ‘Ritual in Hinduism’, in Hinduism, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017,
  • Gayacharan Tripathi, ‘Temple Rituals: North India’, in Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, and Vasudha Narayanan (eds.), Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, 2018.
  • Anna Slaczka, ‘Temple Rituals: South India’, in Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online Galvin Flood, ‘Preface’ to Himanshu Prabha Ray (ed.), Archaeology and Text: The Temple in South Asia, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2010, p. xiv.
  • Michael D. Willis, The Archaeology of Hindu Ritual: Temples and the Establishment of the Gods, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009, p. 111.
  • Anna Aleksandra Ślączka, Temple Consecration Rituals in Ancient India: Text and Archaeology, vol. 26, Leiden: Brill, 2007.
  • Richard Davis, ‘Chola Bronzes in Procession’, in Vidya Dehejia, Richard H. Davis, Irā Nākacāmi, R. Nagaswamy, and Karen Pechilis Prentiss (eds.), The Sensuous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes from South India, New York: American Federation of Arts; Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002, pp. 47–63.
  • Susan Verma Mishra and Himanshu Prabha Ray, The Archaeology of Sacred Spaces: The Temple in Western India, 2nd Century bce–8th Century ce, London and New York: Routledge, 2017, p. 14.
  • Leslie C. Orr, Donors, Devotees, and Daughters of God: Temple Women in Medieval Tamilnadu, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Mythilie Arulaiah, ‘Stages of Dance during Chola Period’, Languages of India, 14(4), April 2014
  • Natalia Lidova, Drama and Ritual of Early Hinduism, Performing Arts Series, vol. IV, New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1994. A.M. Gaston, Bharata Natyam: From Temple to Theatre, New Delhi: Manohar, 1996.
  • Corinna Wessels-Mevissen, ‘Festival Vehicles and Motif Lamps: Reflections on Visual Elements in South Indian Temple Ritual’, in Reflexivity, Media and Visuality, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2010, pp. 567–597.
  • T.A. Gopinath Rao, Elements of Hindu Iconography, Madras: The Law Printing House, 1914.
  • J.N. Banerjea, Development of Hindu Iconography, 2nd ed., Calcutta: Calcutta University, 1956.
  • Karl Khandalavala, Gorakshankar, and Nihar Ranjan Ray, Eastern Indian Bronzes, New Delhi: Lalit Kala Akademi, 1986.
  • Joanna Waghorne, ‘Dressing the Body of God: South Indian Bronze Sculpture in Its Temple Setting’, Asian Art, 5(3), 1992, pp. 9–33.
  • Richard H. Davis, Lives of Indian Images, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997.
  • Vidya Dehejia, The Sensuous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes from South India.
  • U. Husken, ‘Gods and Goddesses in the Ritual Landscape of Seventeenth and Eighteenth-century Kāncipuram’, in E. Nelson and J. Wrights (eds.), Layered Landscapes: Early Modern Religious Space across Faiths and Cultures, New York and London: Routledge, 2017, pp. 63–81.
  • Diana L. Eck, India: A Sacred Geography, New York: Harmony, 2012.

Evaluation Pattern

Weightage Component
Internal 50 Written Assignments/Periodical Tests/Presentations
External 50 End semester Exam
Total 100  

Activities/Content with direct bearing on Employability/ Entrepreneurship/ Skill development (based on NAAC Criteria) – Activities and content based – Skill development – classroom based and field-oriented activities for understanding the fundamentals of temple rituals

Year of Introduction – 2023

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