A crust of gods
The temples of India stand as nexi among several crafts. As shelters, they house worshipers and their priests. As art, they are crusted with sculptures of gods, animals and humans. And as theology, they represent the cosmos, a mandala, even the deity itself.
TempleNet — created, interestingly, by a musician — comes close to a canonical list of these astonishing structures, along with stunning photos, although most are too small.
The site lists temples all around India, classifying them by region and their major deities, including Ganesha and Skanda. And it explains important architectural differences between north and south, as well as border states like Karnataka.
Along the way, we get some “hmmmm” details. One is that architectural styles were influenced more by different regions than religions, such as Jain or Hindu.
There’s also a thought-provoking piece on the Indian sense of time — from kaashta, or 18 eyeblinks, to the purported 309.6 trillion year life cycle of the creator Bhrahma.
Like other enormous sites, TempleNet has a few flaws. Some links are broken. The quality of information is uneven. And the articles often assume prior knowledge. The latter problem is partly fixed by a glossary, but not all the terms are defined.
One glaring problem: Finding an explanation of the overall concept of a temple. There is, in fact, an article about that, but it’s buried in the archives. A search engine would help find it, but that’s one of the broken links.
Don’t leave TempleNet without clicking the “special music feature” link. It leads to a page of “Indo-Celtic” music, blending instruments from east and west. The idea sounds weird, but the nine samples are nice.