Temples have always played a crucial role in Hindu civilization, kingdoms and empires came and went but most temples stood standing. A pillar of hope and faith. But if you look at Gopurams(Temple Entrance) they are bigger than the main itself. If you consider the example of Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala which houses a 35 m tall gold Gopuram which stands way taller than the main temple. There is a reason for this.
Gopurams are a very important component of a Temple architecture but by no means surpasses the significance of the main temple building housing the Deity. So why were they built taller than the main temple? Let’s Explore
Symbolically, the entrance of a temple or Gopura represents the feet of the presiding Deity. All devotees everyone bow downs to touch the floor at the entrance of the temple, the entrance floor representing the Deity’s feet, before stepping into the temple, towards the sanctum. Leaving the world of contraction behind.
Initially, temples were built on the outskirts of the village or city but with shifting time Temple became the landmark of the land. A land was recognized by its Palaces or temples. As palaces were a major target during an invasion or assault, temples became the primary landmark for travelers and passengers.
During those days the temples graciously welcomes travelers and provided them shelter and protection to travelers during their long journeys. They eased the traveler’s burden, it was a place of peace, and travelers used to rest. Before they commence on their journey they would pay their respect to the deity and begin.
In order to make the location easily recognizable for the travelers, taller Gopurams were built, making them visible from large distances. This paved the way for colossal Gopurams. The taller they were the further away they were visible.
As a kingdom became increasingly more prosperous, so do the threat of invasion from neighboring countries and their invading armies, the temple cities were haste to expedient to erect a series of protective walls to defend and safeguard their temples, cities, and palaces. The Gopuras constructed on the gateways leading from one enclosure to the next, initially, served as watchtowers for defense.
With moving times, the temples getting a lot of attraction, they became the focal point for the city, as the age of temple city arrived. During these times the cities we heavily expanded upon, so were the temples, they were gold plated, structures remodeled and temple grounds expanded. Temple also represented their hosting King and his Kingdom’s wealth. To showcase their wealth further they would expand the grounds of the Temple and build bigger, more majestic Gopurams.
Between the 12th and 16th centuries, Hindu temples increasingly became the center of the city, becoming the Hub of Urban life. Gopurams received heavy emphasis, they were heavily decorated, showcasing the culture, design, and skills of the time. As they served as Gateways became a prominent feature of the Temple’s exterior appearance and overshadowed the main Sanctuary, as they became obscured from view under the colossal size of the Gopuram. It also dominated the inner sanctum in the amount of ornamentation.
Renovating, preserving, and gold plating. Smart Creation using the NTGD – Nanotechnology for Gold deposition to gold plate the base metal to evenly cover the surface with gold. The same technology is used in NASA and ISRO for gold plating their devices to imbue the properties of gold to the devices and make them more durable. Depositing pure gold increases the receptivity of vibrations with the least resistance, this is why it is widely used in NASA and their space programs
We at Smart Creation have done Gold Plating work on over 5000 temples across India, worked on over 10,000 Kalasams, more than 100,000 idols and restored 100,000 idols.