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Hindu temples are known by different names in different parts of the world, depending upon the language. The word mandir or Mandira is used in many languages, including Hindi, and is derived from a Sanskrit word, Mandira, for ‘house’ (of a deity by implication). Temples are known as “Kovil” or “devasthanam” in Tamil, Devasthana or Gudi in Kannada, as Gudi, Devalayam, or Kovela in Telugu and Mondir (মন্দির) in Bengali, as Kshetram or Ambalam in Malayalam,
Temple construction in India started nearly 2000 years ago. The oldest temples that were built of brick and wood no longer exist. Stone later became the preferred material. Temples marked the transition of Hinduism from the Vedic religion of ritual sacrifices to a religion of Bhakti or love and devotion to a personal deity. Temple construction and mode of worship are governed by ancient Sanskrit scriptures called agamas, of which there are several, which deal with individual deities. There are substantial differences in architecture, customs, rituals, and traditions between temples in different parts of India. South India is very different from the north. Hundreds, if not thousands, of ancient temples were destroyed during Islamic rule in India (especially in North India) between 1200 CE and 1700 CE. South India, therefore, has more large temples still standing.

During the ritual consecration of a temple, the presence of the universal all-encompassing Brahman is invoked into the main stone deity of the temple, through ritual, thereby making the deity and the temple sacred and divine.

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rajasthan

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