Birla Mandir

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Konark inspired Sun Temple, Gwalior

Birla Mandir (Birla Temple) refers to different Hindu temples or Mandirs built by the Birla family, in different cities. All these temples are magnificently built, some of them in white marble or in sandstone. The temples are generally located in a prominent location, carefully designed to accommodate a large number of visitors. The worship and discourses are well organized.

The Birla temples in Delhi and Bhopal were intended to fill a void. Delhi, even though it was the capital of India, did not have any notable temples. During the Mughal period, temples with shikharas were prohibited until the late Mughal period. The Delhi temple, located at a prominent spot [1] was designed to be lofty and spacious, suitable for congregational worship or discourses. Although built using modern technology, it confirmed with the Nagar style.[2] The Delhi, Banaras and the Bhopal temple use a modern style.

The later temples are built of marble or sandstone and are constructed in the classical (Chandella or Solanki) style of 10-12th century. The Saraswati temple, in the BITS Pilani campus is one of the very few Sarasvati temples built in modern times (see Sharda Temple, Maihar). It is said to be a replica of the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple temple of Khajuraho; however it is built of white marble and adorned with not only images of gods, but also philosophers and scientists.[3] The Gwalior Sun temple is a replica of the famous Sun Temple of Konark,[4] as it would have appeared before the collapse of the main tower. Anne Hardgrove states:

A national chain of the "Birla temples," temples of grandiose scale and design, have become major landmarks and part of the cityscapes of Indian urban life in the late twentieth century. The Birla temples exist in conjunction with other large industrial and philanthropic ventures of the wealthy Birla family, including major institutions of technology, medicine, and education. ... Birla temples have redefined religion to conform to modern ideals of philanthropy and humanitarianism, combining the worship of a deity with a public institution that contributes to civil society. The architectural forms of the two newest Birla temples (Jaipur and Kolkata) incorporate innovative, dual-purpose structures into the temple design that alter temple practices to reflect the concerns of modern public culture in a religious site.[5]

Birla Mandirs across India[edit]

Birla Temple at Arera Hills, Bhopal.
Shri Vishwanath Mandir also known as Birla Mandir in the Banaras Hindu University campus, Varanasi.
Birla Temples in India
Temple Location Deity
Laxminarayan Temple (1939) [6] Delhi Lakshmi Narayan
Birla Mandir 1976 Hyderabad Venkateswara
Birla Mandir Kanpur Lakshmi Narayan
Birla Mandir 1976-1996 Kolkata Radha Krishna[7][8]
Birla Mandir Kurukshetra 1952 Krishna
Birla Mandir 1965 Shahad Vithoba
Birla Mandir (Sharda Peeth) 1956-60 BITS Pilani Saraswati[9]
Birla Mandir Bhopal Lakshmi Narayan
Birla Mandir 1988 Jaipur Lakshmi Narayan
Birla Mandir Patna Lakshmi Narayan
Birla Mandir Akola Rama
Birla Mandir 1931-1966 Varanasi Shiva
Birla Mandir Renukoot Shiva
Birla Mandir Nagda Vishnu
Birla Mandir Brajrajnagar Shiva
Birla Mandir Gwalior Surya
Birla Mandir Alibaug Ganesha
Tulsi Birla Manas Mandir 1964 Varanasi Ram

[10]

Continuous Construction[edit]

Construction is continuously going on at some location. The family believes that if they stop the construction of temples, it will bring bad fate. This is the reason why some of the temples are not 100% finished, and construction is on-going, albeit at a slow pace. Birla Mandir - Veraval - Laxminarayan temple

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Backdrop of the Struggle in India; American's impressions of a teeming land. Amid romance, reality, fabulous wealth and dire poverty there is yearning for independence. Backdrop of Struggle in India, Herbert L. Matthews, New York Times Magazine, September 27, 1942
  2. ^ Monuments of India, Renu Saran, Diamond Pocket Books Pvt Ltd, Aug 19, 2014
  3. ^ Community and Public Culture: The Marwaris in Calcutta 1897-1997, Anne Hardgrove, Philanthropy and Mapping the Kul: Industrialists and Temple Building
  4. ^ Pilgrimage Centres of India, Brajesh Kumar, A.H.W. Sameer series, Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd., 2003 p. 103
  5. ^ Community and Public Culture: The Marwaris in Calcutta 1897-1997, Anne Hardgrove, Philanthropy and Mapping the Kul: Industrialists and Temple Building
  6. ^ "Making history with brick and mortar". Hindustan Times. September 15, 2011. 
  7. ^ Birla Mandir in Kolkata - Lakshmi Narayan Temple - Birla Temple in Kolkata - Kolkata
  8. ^ Kolkata: City Guide, Goodearth Publications, 2011 - Calcutta, p. 103
  9. ^ Temple Net. "Birla Mandir". Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
  10. ^ http://www.mysambalpur.in/brajarajnagar/