Inviting Him Home

A Gopuram or Gopura, is a structure set in stone and usually brightly painted placed either at the entrance of any temple, or over the deity’s shrine  mostly in temples in Southern India or from south Indian origins. Temples in south India are called Koils, and the gopuram structures can be traced back to the times of Tamil kings Pallavas and the Pandya rulers. Since the temple usually has four walls, the pyramid-shaped gopuras feature four gopura-vimanas, for each side. Many gopuras are painted in bright colors, as a way to invite (or lure) God to rest at the temple. This small and recently pained temple gopuram is on the way to my house and the temple houses a Goddess of reputed faith (I will fill in the name later). Even if the temple is shut, my grand mother and mother usually say that gopura darshan is equal to worshiping of God himself!

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Touch2Touch says:

    This is FASCINATING stuff, Kamakshi.
    And the idea that color is alluring to God/s just as it is to us, a whole different way of looking at temple adornment.


    1. Kamakshi says:

      Thanks Judith…i guess the phenomenon is not new to Indians alone, I read somewhere the Basilicas were once painted in vibrant hues but since the competition got too intense, they decided to stop the practice and go white instead!


  2. Touch2Touch says:

    In the temples of ancient Greece — like the Parthenon, etc — the marble statues were originally painted and gilded! But the decorations wore off over the centuries, leaving the stark white we now have, which most Westerners think is ALWAYS the way they were and is the way they’re SUPPOSED to be.

    My friends who have been to India have always spoken about their first impression, the riot of color blazing at them. Since they all delight in color, they have delighted from the first moment in India.


    1. Kamakshi says:

      Thanks for sharing Judith, i didn’t know that!


  3. ceceliafutch says:

    This is wonderful.


    1. Kamakshi says:

      Thanks Cecelia!


  4. 2e0mca says:

    I’d love an explanation of the title – Inviting Him Home – though I’m guessing it refers to the Deity. As mentioned above by Judith, most Western churches were very colourful in the past. In the UK all the ornamentation was banished from churches in the time of Henry VIII’s rule as a result of his arguement with the Pope when he wanted a divorce – the churches and monasteries were dissolved to provide a nice source of income! The decoration of the windows of churches has slowly re-surfaced over the later centuries and in particular in Victorian times. Some older art from the Medieval period is occasionally discovered beneath the whitewash – there are some nice examples in St.Albans Abbey which date from the 11th century AD.

    interesting subject matter as usual 🙂


    1. Kamakshi says:

      Wow Thanks Martin! Yes i did mean inviting god home..i love how one simple post, of a part of the world i pass by at least once a week, can help me learn so much about the world at large!


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