Temple architecture

Poornima poornima at w-o-i.com
Wed Sep 10 11:52:57 UTC 1997

From: 	Trishul (Travis Smith)[SMTP:t_shul at uclink4.berkeley.edu]
Sent: 	Wednesday, September 10, 1997 8:14 AM
To: 	Members of the list
Subject: 	Re: Temple architecture

Shiva is the only God in the Hindu Pantheon, who can face all  directions in Temple Architecture. With the exception of Shiva, all Gods do not face the South - as it is the direction of the God of Death - Yama. Shiva, on the other hand faces this direction as Dakshinamurti - The Great Teacher - who dispels ignorance and spreads knowledge all over the world.


Das Devaraj writes

>Had a question about which direction Shiva faces in a temple.
>I was thinking that it could be any direction except North
>(because of the name Daksinamurthi, would not want to face
>the other way).
>Anyway, somebody recently mentioned that in Chithamburam temple,
>Shiva faces North (don't know this to be a fact).  Just now idly
>thumped through a general book on temple architectures.  The
>plans showed dieties facing all directions except North.  Another
>reason not to face North (my guess), is that it will force
>devotees to face South while praying.
>Does anybody know whether Shiva can face North?  Or any reference
>which discusses this specific issue?

If your referring to the Shiva _lingam_, its of course difficult to tell
where the "face" is, except in stylised representations.

In Bengal (esp. the Dakshineswar Kali Temple, made famous by Sri
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa), all of the (12) Shiva temples, as well as the
lingam in the shrine are positioned so that the _yoni_ "points" towards the
north. And the current head pujari at the temple is quite insistent that
this is the correct way for all Shiva lingams to be situated. I couldn't
tell you whether this custom holds true in other places...

Hope this helps,


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