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Day 1 – Q 1. You and your friends decided to take a cultural trip across India. In your incredible journey, you visited three important cities – Varanasi, Ujjain, and Rameshwaram. In all these cities, temples were the main attraction for your group. Please describe the differences you would have noticed in the design and architecture of the temples belonging to these cities?

  • IASbaba
  • January 31, 2022
  • 0
Art & Culture, GS 1, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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1. You and your friends decided to take a cultural trip across India. In your incredible journey, you visited three important cities – Varanasi, Ujjain, and Rameshwaram. In all these cities, temples were the main attraction for your group. Please describe the differences you would have noticed in the design and architecture of the temples belonging to these cities?  (10 Marks)

आपने और आपके दोस्तों ने पूरे भारत में एक सांस्कृतिक यात्रा करने का फैसला किया है। अपनी अविश्वसनीय यात्रा में, आपने तीन महत्वपूर्ण शहरोंवाराणसी, उज्जैन और रामेश्वरम का दौरा किया। इन सभी शहरों में मंदिर आपके समूह के मुख्य आकर्षण थे। कृपया उन अंतरों का वर्णन करें जिन्हें आपने इन शहरों के मंदिरों के डिजाइन और वास्तुकला में देखा होगा?

Approach-

Candidates need to address the difference between temples Varanasi, Ujjain and Rameswaram. With keeping in mind geographical historical background styles and different schools of temple architecture candidates can highlight the difference between temples. 

Introduction

The temples in India developed in every region of the country, often the geographical, climatic, ethnic, racial, historical and linguistic aspects of the region had a greater part to play in shaping the style of the temples in India which can be noticed in Varanasi, Ujjain and Rameswaram. 

Body

Varanasi:

  • Built by multiple patrons near and far rather than a singular local dynasty, Banaras’s temples present a compelling case study for exploring the mobility of objects, patrons, and artisans, and the negotiations between local and transregional forms. Whereas in Ujjain and Rameswaram mostly local dynasty has build temples. 
  • The ghats line the Ganges River as immense staircases that build from the edge of the river to the sky is totally different from Ujjain and Rameswaram. From the top, there are idyllic views of the sunrise and sunset. Cremations take place at the top of the ghat as well which is an unique in India. 
  • The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the most famous religious tourist attraction of the city. In addition, the Bharat Mata Temple, Durga Temple, Tulsi Manas Temple, and the Archaeological Museum. 
  • Some patrons brought their distinctive regional styles and building methods, seen in the wood and brick “Nepali temple” (1842), sponsored by the Nepalese royal family and modeled after the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu. 
  • The most important attraction of Varanasi – Ganga aarti can be witnessed on the Dashashwamedh Ghat daily at dusk. It is considered as the most spectacular ghat filled with tourists, monks, Men, Women, and children celebrating the water. This type of arti and reverence cannot be noticed in other part of India. 
  • In Varanasi most amazing aspect of this temple is that it has been destructed and re-constructed many times in history which is different from Ujjain and Rameswaram. 

Ujjain:

  • Ujjain has been the Prime Meridian for Hindu geographers since the 4th century BC. Ujjain has been an excellent center for study and research based on River Kshipraa. 
  • Ujjain has many religious and ancient monuments. However many of these shrines are still in use and are modified since time to time. This has reduced the ancient appeal from the shrines as compared to Varanasi and Rameswaram. 
  • Built in Bhumija, Chalukya and Maratha styles of architecture, the temple is an architectural marvel. Of note are its marble walkways that were restored in the latter half of the 19th century by the Scindias.
  • Ujjain has notable monuments of the region are Sandipani Ashram, Mahakal Temple, Avanti Parshwanath, Kaal Bhairav, Nava Graha Mandir. Mostly based on nagara style of architecture. 

Rameswaram:

  • One of the four pilgrimage places, Char Dham of India, it modestly invites followers of Lord Shiva from everywhere to pay visit at least once in their lifetime. 
  • Rameshwaram Island being associated with the legendry temple built in marvelous Dravidian style of architecture.
  • Many gopurum structures can be noticed. There are two gopurams, one located in the East and one located in the West. The one in the East is 78 feet high with five tiers. The one in the West is 126 feet high and has nine tiers and is known as rajagopuram.
  • The material used for reconstruction of the temple was mainly granite. Granite stones according to historical records were shipped to this island that date far back to 1414 CE.
  • The town has been changed many hands; main amongst them were Cholas, Jaffna Kingdom, Allaudin Khilji (Malik Kafur), Pandya Dynasty, Vijayanagara Empire, followed by some other rulers who ruled the town for a very short while before British East India Company directly took over it and made it a part of Madras Presidency.
  • The bridge to Lanka named ‘Rama Set u’, also known as Adam’s Bridge is of religious as well as ecological importance. 

Conclusion-

Temples depict the deities in human form in such a way that the divine is brought from abstraction to accessibility, and even intimacy. It takes devotee on journey towards knowledge and realisation of formless eternal. 

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