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Thread: Hindu Cave Temples

  1. #1
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    Hindu Cave Temples

    Namaste

    I read today a 2006 dated study that more than 1,200 cave temples have been discovered in India.

    Just think about that. Wikipedia has a nice list of Hindu cave temples, the famous one's including those in Maharashtra and parts of South India that are tourist destinations of world interest, but it is only a short list.

    Hindu cave temples (some are a mix of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist all at the same location) have always fascinated me. Most are very old and historic, but the tradition lives on and there are even modern one's excavated and turned into nice temples even now in other nations, an example would be in Malaysia built in the early 20th Century (actually founded in 1890) known as the Batu Caves near Kuala Lumpur where there is also a 140 foot high (42.7 m - promoted as the tallest in the world) statue of Murugan and a 50 foot high (15 m) Hanuman outside.

    Something just feels "right" about such temples. They may not align iota to the various texts on proper temple construction, but yet they are very compelling and aluring in nature.

    Besides these cave temples, there are also "rock cut temples" - creating a structure by carving it out of solid natural rock - in someways even more amazing which are sometimes free standing but literally cut from rock outcroppings or a combination of free standing and cave inner sanctums. Many of these are literally jaw dropping in majesty, art and often in sheer size, they are world historic monuments.

    Here is just one example from Karnataka, India of rock-cut architecture. The Badami cave temples in the Bagalkot district of North Karnataka and the nearby stone temples of Pattadkal and Aihole.



    18 arm Shiva



    So the question is, would it be true to say caves have long been regarded as places of sanctity within Hinduism?

    Om Namah Sivaya

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    Re: Hindu Cave Temples

    For some reason, maharishis and tapaswis of the past always did their penance in caves, though a few like young Dhruva or Bhageeratha also did penance in the forest or in open air surrounded by panchagni, etc. Many of Sri Narasimha murthy's shrines are built having engraved out of rock, in a cave-like formation. Sri Raghavendra Swami also did penance inside a cave for 13 years before he had the vision of Shri Hanuman. Caves not only offer protection from the panchabhutas (although rishis don't care for it), but they seem to have a certain vibrational characteristic about them which makes the spiritual sadhana even more effective.
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: Hindu Cave Temples

    Namaste Viraja

    Thanks for sharing these insights. I was excited to read your comment about Saint Sri Raghavendra Swamy did penance for 12 years in the cave inside the temple, wherein Lord Hanuman appeared to him as Panchamukhi, I never heard of this and found information (see link below) about this cave temple:

    http://aalayamkanden.blogspot.com/20...adhal.html?m=1

    That would be a temple I would like to visit one day! It must be true what you said, " vibrational characteristic about them which makes the spiritual sadhana even more effective".

    Thanks for sharing, I bet there are many, many such cave temples others know of but may not be common knowledge.

    Om Namah Sivaya

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    Re: Hindu Cave Temples

    Ofcourse having known you as a Shaiva, SF ji, what could be holier to you than one of the 7 spiritual wonders of India, the Amarnath cave temple!



    ps: I visited the cave temple for Panchamukhi Hanuman at Raichur, Karnataka, near the Anegundhi navabrindavana (the cave mentioned in my earlier post) - a great place that carries great spiritual vibrations!
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: Hindu Cave Temples

    Namaste Viraja

    I visited the cave temple for Panchamukhi Hanuman at Rachur, Karnataka, near the Anegundhi navabrindavana (the cave mentioned in my earlier post) - a great place that carries great spiritual vibrations!
    You are truly blessed to have the opportunity to visit such temples in India! You have lots of such gems you share, and folks like me truly do relish them! Jai Narayana, Jai Hanuman, Jai Ram!

    Om Namah Sivaya

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    Re: Hindu Cave Temples

    Vannakkam: The chanting inside cave temples must really resonate. Unfortunately, I've never had the opportunity, although many (of the large South Indian chola temples) certainly feel like caves, way back in there somewhere.

    Aum Namasivaya

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