Every temple in India, has a local sacred lore attached to it. The lore (or myth) is a story that tells us how the temple came about. It also tells us why the place is considered sacred. In many instances, the lore includes information about:
- Its sacred body of water (usually a tank; but it could also be a river or sea)
- Its sacred tree(s) (usually, these trees have medicinal qualities; they are significant for the local ecology)
The very fact we are looking at sacred places makes this a study of sacred geography.
Share your findings, answers, comments, etc. in the comments box below.
If you are a student, share the full name and location of your institution, and
the grade/class/standard in which you are studying.
Equally importantly, ask your own geography questions in the comments box.
Some text is in blue, bold, italics in this section —
this is to help you identify some of the geography concepts here.
(Even if you have problems with seeing color, you can still identify these points)
Explore and find others.
Open the link to Unit 6 (Dikshitar on the Map) in a new tab. You will need to switch between this tab and the map tab back and forth a little. In addition to geography skills, this will also help you develop your computer navigation skills.
On the map, look at these themes in the following order:
- First, look at the Shiva shrines theme. Hover your mouse over several of these just to see what kind of information you can see.
- Next, look at the Pancha.bhuta.linga theme. This time, click on each of the locations one at a time and observe the kind of information you can see.
- Get a visual idea of the distribution of the places on the map.
- Then return to the table below and explore each of the “Sacred water” locations on a Google map. You can open each directly here or you can open it in a new tab. When you open the map, explore the places shown on it. You may zoom in or zoom out and move the map around to look at various geographic elements. These are site features — the contents of a place. You can divide them broadly into two categories here. For each of these find examples in the maps and note them in your comments. Take these two categories and see how places are connected with other places — these are called situation features; for example, Place A may be Downstream of Place B on a particular river; Place A may be connected to Place B by a road; Place X may be close to the coast; etc.
- Natural features.
- Cultural features (features created by human activity).
- If you have learned about set theory and Venn diagrams, how would you represent the two themes in this exploration using set theory and Venn diagrams?
The pañcha.bhūta.linga (Five Elemental Linga) shrines:
- Sumanta Mondal, Debjit Ghosh, and K. Ramakrishna (2016) A Complete Profile on Blind-your-eye Mangrove Excoecaria Agallocha (Euphorbiaceae): Ethnobotany, Phytochemistry, and Pharmacological Aspects. [Accessed: 12 June 2022]
- Vinoth Kumar A, Aruna R. (2018) A Study on Sthalavrikshas in Temples of Madurai District, Tamil Nadu . Int J Environ Sci Nat Res. 2018; 13(3): 555863. DOI: 10.19080/IJESNR.2018.13.555863. [Accessed: 12 June 2022]
- Abodes of Shiva. [Accessed: 12 June 2022]
Featured image: Ekāmréśvara temple, Kānchīpuram. (Source) [Accessed: 12 June 2022]