Hindu Temples - A Timeless Art Form
Temples are called aalayam or kovil in Tamil. The word aalayam comes from anma which means 'soul' and layam which means 'a place where one's anma can find sanctuary'. Similarly ko means 'God' and vil or il means 'place'; thus, kovil means 'God's abode'.
To a Hindu, a temple is more than a place of workship. It is a place specially choosen as the residence of the Supreme Being as the ruler of the universe. The Hindus has chosen three places to workship the Supreme Being: in his heart, in his home, and within a consecrated temple.
The Temple structure itself is conceived of as the universe, and it's principles of construction, form and decoration , as well as the rituals that take place within it's walls, are all aimed at achieving the sublime.
Architecturally, Hindu temples are an ancient art form born of a great religious tradition. Their design has changed little over the centuries.
The structure of the temple: -
The hindu temple is constructed to resemble the form of a human body lying on its back with the head of the temple positioned towards the west and the feet towards the east. This composition underlies the symbolic functions of a Hindu temple.