In this twenty-second archive story by Kristian Bertel, we visit the Jagdish Temple, which is the biggest temple in Udaipur in Rajasthan. Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
Devotees in major temples may bring in symbolic offerings for the puja. This includes fruits, flowers, sweets and other symbols of the bounty of the natural world. Temples in India are usually surrounded with small shops selling these offerings and when inside the temple, devotees keep both hands folded, known as Namaste mudra. A typical, ancient Hindu temple has a profusion of arts from paintings to sculptures.
Devotees in major temples may bring in symbolic offerings for the puja. This includes fruits, flowers, sweets and other symbols of the bounty of the natural world. Temples in India are usually surrounded with small shops selling these offerings and when inside the temple, devotees keep both hands folded, known as Namaste mudra. A typical, ancient Hindu temple has a profusion of arts from paintings to sculptures.

Jagdish Temple (Udaipur) in India

Jagdish Temple is a large Hindu temple in the middle of Udaipur in Rajasthan. A big tourist attraction and the major monument in Udaipur, the Jagdish Temple is raised on a tall terrace and was completed in 1651 and it attaches a double-storey Mandapa, which is a hall to a double-storey saandhara with a covered ambulatory sanctum. It is in the inner shrine that devotees seek a Darsana of where they offer prayers. Devotees may or may not be able to personally present their offerings at the feet of the deity.

Working conditions in India
The symbolism and structure of a Hindu temple are rooted in Vedic traditions. A temple incorporates all elements of Hindu cosmos presenting the good, the evil and the human, as well as the elements of Hindu sense of cyclic time and the essence of life symbolically presenting dharma, kama, artha, moksa and karma. The spiritual principles symbolically represented in Hindu temples are given in the ancient Sanskrit written words of India like the Vedas and Upanishads, while their structural rules are described in various ancient Sanskrit treatises on architecture which are Brhat Samhita and Vastu Sastras. The layout, the motifs, the plan and the building process recite ancient rituals, geometric symbolisms, and reflect beliefs and values innate within various schools of Hinduism. A Hindu temple is a spiritual destination for many Hindus, as well as landmarks around which ancient arts, community celebrations and economy have flourished. A Hindu temple is a symbolic reconstruction of the universe and universal principles that make everything in it function. The temples reflect Hindu philosophy and its diverse views on cosmos and Truths. Within this diffuse and open structure, spirituality in Hindu philosophy is an individual experience. It defines spiritual practice as one's journey towards moksha, awareness of self, the discovery of higher truths, true nature of reality, and a consciousness that is liberated and content. A Hindu temple reflects these core beliefs. The central core of almost all Hindu temples is not a large communal space, the temple is designed for the individual, a couple or a family a small, private space where he or she experiences darsana. Darsana is itself a symbolic word. In ancient Hindu scripts, Darsana is the name of six methods or alternate viewpoints of understanding Truth. These are Nyaya, Vaisesika, Sankhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Vedanta each of which flowered into their own schools of Hinduism, each of which are considered valid, alternate paths to understanding Truth and realizing Self in the Hindu way of life.

Arts in the Hindu temples
A typical, ancient Hindu temple has a profusion of arts from paintings to sculpture, from symbolic icons to engravings, from thoughtful layout of space to fusion of mathematical principles with Hindu sense of time and cardinality. Ancient Sanskrit written words classify idols and images in number of ways. For instance, one method of classification is the dimensionality of completion. Chitra, which are images that are 3-dimensional and completely formed, Chitrardha which are images that are engraved in half relief, Chitrabhasa which are images that are 2-dimensional such as paintings on walls and cloths. Images and idols inside Hindu temples vary widely in their appearance. Raudra or Ugra images that display destruction, fear and violence, such as Kali image on left. Shanta or Saumya images express joy, knowledge and harmony. Saumya images are most common in Hindu temples. Another way of classification is by the expressive state of the image are Raudra or Ugra, which are images that were meant to terrify, induce fear. These typically have wide, circular eyes, carry weapons, have skulls and bones as adornment. These idols were worshipped by soldiers before going to war or by people in times of distress or errors. Raudra deity temples were not set up inside villages or towns, but invariably outside and in remote areas of a kingdom. Shanta and Saumya that are images that were pacific, peaceful and expressive of love, compassion, kindness and other virtues in Hindu pantheon. These images would carry symbolic icons of peace, knowledge, music, wealth, flowers, sensuality among other things. In ancient India, these temples were predominant inside villages and towns. A Hindu temple may or may not include an idol or images, but larger temples usually do. Personal Hindu temples at home or a hermitage may have a pada for yoga or meditation, but be devoid of anthropomorphic representations of god. Nature or others arts may surround him or her. To a Hindu yogin, states Gopinath Rao, one who has realised Self and the Universal Principle within himself, there is no need for any temple or divine image for worship. However, for those who have yet to reach this height of realization, various symbolic manifestations through images, idols and icons as well as mental modes of worship are offered as one of the spiritual paths in the Hindu way of life. This belief is repeated in ancient Hindu scriptures.

More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of a stone carved figure in Udaipur. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.