Great Hindu Temples

This year the Silpi Paramparai, our traditional temple builders, received Hinduism Today's Hindu of the Year Award, so honored for the remarkable work they do and the impact of their creations on our faith. In this slideshow we recall centuries of work they have done, without acknowledgement, without their name being on their masterpieces. Enjoy these thirty-plus images of renowned and sacred citadels, the homes of God.

Ayudha Puja at the Iraivan Temple Carving Site

November Ayudhya Puja at the Iraivan Temple Carving Site

Ayudha Puja is an important event for all stone works. We have special prayers for the tools, machinery and vehicles. It is also a joyous day for all the silpis because they receive their dakshina (bonus) and a set of new clothing as gifts. Here is a cut stone for the perimeter wall. All markings have been done and are ready to start the new phase. Traditionally, the first stone for a new project is blessed on this day.

Model of a Silpi Sharpening Chisels

Our master sculptress, Holly Young, is busy on the Big Island. Today she sent us photos of the completed life-size wax showing an Iraivan silpi sharpening a mild-steel chisel. These chisels last about 5-7 minutes before the hard granite dulls them beyond use. So hundreds need to be sharpened ever two days. Here Manikandan is about to strike the blow on the red-hot and malleable end of the chisel. Here a brick is shown underneath, but in real life it is a solid piece of metal.

This is the third in the series of nine sculptures that will tell the story of how Iraivan Temple was envisioned, designed and built.

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