Birla Mandir

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Birla Mandir, New Delhi
Birla Mandir, Kolkata
Sun Temple, Gwalior, inspired by the Konark Sun Temple
Birla Mandir in Hyderabad
Birla Temple at Arera Hills, Bhopal
Shri Vishwanath Mandir also known as Birla Mandir in the Banaras Hindu University campus, Varanasi

The Birla Mandirs (Birla Temples) refer to different Hindu temples or Mandirs built by the Birla family in different cities across India. All these temples are magnificently built, some in white marble or 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 first one was built in 1939 in Delhi collectively by Jugal Kishore Birla and his brothers and their father. Later temples were built by and managed by different branches of the family. For both of the temples in Varanasi, the Birlas joined other donors to support the cost.

History and design[edit]

The Birla temples in Delhi and Bhopal were constructed to fulfill a cultural void in these cities. As these cities were ruled for centuries by Muslim dynasties, these cities did not have any notable temples since the Islamic ruler did not permit the construction of grand Hindu temples with shikharas. Delhi, even though it was the capital of India, did not have any outstanding Hindu temples left. During the Mughal period, temples with a shikhara were prohibited until the late Mughal period. The first temple to be built by the Birla family is the Laxminarayan Temple in Delhi, which was opened in 1939. Located at a prominent site,[1] The temple was designed to be lofty and spacious, suitable for congregational worship or discourses. Although built using modern technology, it very loosely conformed to the Nagara style. The Birlas also built the adjoining Buddhist temple and donated it to the Mahabodhi Society.[citation needed]

The Birla temples in Delhi, Banaras and Bhopal use modern construction materials and techniques. Later temples are built of marble or sandstone and are constructed usually in the classical style of Māru-Gurjara architecture (from the Chandela or Chaulukya dynasty) of the 10-12th century, with some elements of local, regional styles, such as the gopuram of the Birla Mandir, Hyderabad, otherwise in the northern Māru-Gurjara style. 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 of philosophers and scientists.[2] The Gwalior Sun temple is a replica (much reduced in size) of the famous Konark Sun Temple,[3] 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.[4]

Birla Mandirs across India[edit]

Birla Temples in India
Image Temple Year Location Deity
Birla Mandir 1931-1966 BHU, Varanasi Shiva (Shri Vishwanath)
Laxminarayan Temple[5] 1939 Delhi Lakshmi Narayan
Buddhist Temple (Delhi Center) 1939 Delhi Dharmachakra Pravartana Buddha
Birla Mandir 1941 - 1961 Kanpur Lakshmi Narayan
Birla Mandir[6] 1955 Kurukshetra Krishna
Birla Mandir (Sharda Peeth)[7] 1956-1960 BITS Pilani Saraswati
Birla Mandir[8][9][10] 1957 Kurnool Laskhmi Narayan
Birla Mandir[11] 1960 Bhopal Lakshmi Narayan
Tulsi Birla Manas Mandir 1964 Varanasi Ram
Birla Mandir 1965 Shahad Vithoba
Renukeshaw Mahadev Temple 1972 Renukoot Shiva
Birla Mandir[12] 1966-1976 Hyderabad Venkateswara
Birla Mandir[13][14] 1976-1996 Kolkata Radha Krishna
Birla Mandir[15] 1984-1988 Gwalior Surya
Birla Mandir 1988 Jaipur Lakshmi Narayan
Birla Mandir Patna Lakshmi Narayan
Birla Mandir Akola Rama
Birla Mandir Nagda Vishnu
Birla Mandir[16] Alibaug Ganesha
Birla Mandir[17] Brajarajnagar Laxmi Narayanan
Birla Mandir Veraval Lakshmi Narayan
Birla Radha Krishna Mandir 2023 BITS Pilani Goa Radha Krishna

See also[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 a yearning for independence. The backdrop of the Freedom Struggle in India, Herbert L. Matthews, New York Times Magazine, September 27, 1942
  2. ^ Community and Public Culture: The Marwaris in Calcutta 1897-1997, Anne Hardgrove, Philanthropy and Mapping the Kul: Industrialists and Temple Building
  3. ^ Pilgrimage Centres of India, Brajesh Kumar, A.H.W. Sameer series, Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd., 2003 p. 103
  4. ^ Community and Public Culture: The Marwaris in Calcutta 1897-1997, Anne Hardgrove, Philanthropy and Mapping the Kul: Industrialists and Temple Building
  5. ^ "Making history with brick and mortar". Hindustan Times. September 15, 2011. Archived from the original on December 5, 2012.
  6. ^ "Birla Mandir, Kurukushetra". Archived from the original on 2018-05-24. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  7. ^ Temple Net. "Birla Mandir". Retrieved 2009-10-27.
  8. ^ Sajnani, Dr. Manohar (2001). Encyclopedia of Tourism Resources In India (Volume II). Vol. II. Kalpaz Publications, Delhi. p. 23. ISBN 81-7835-018-1.
  9. ^ Bhatt, S.C.; Bhargava, Gopal K ., eds. (2006). LAND AND PEOPLE of Indian State and Union Territories (In 36 Volumes), Andhra Pradesh, Volume - 2. Vol. 2. Kalpaz Publications, Delhi. p. 490. ISBN 81-7835-358-X.
  10. ^ "Sri Lakshmi Satya Narayana Swamy Devasthanam, Kurnool".
  11. ^ "Birla Mandir, Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Bhopal".
  12. ^ "Lord Venkateshwara Temple(Birla Mandir), Hyderabad".
  13. ^ Birla Mandir in Kolkata – Lakshmi Narayan Temple – Birla Temple in Kolkata – Kolkata Archived June 15, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Kolkata: City Guide, Goodearth Publications, 2011 - Calcutta, p. 103
  15. ^ Gwalior Sun Temple:
  16. ^ "Birla Ganesh Mandir". Archived from the original on 2018-09-18. Retrieved 2018-02-27.
  17. ^ "Birla Temple, near Lamtibahal, Brajrajnagar".