In this nineteenth archive story by Kristian Bertel, we will have a look inside the Sundar Narayan Mandir situated in Nashik, Maharashtra, India. Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
A Hindu temple or mandir is a structure designed to bring human beings and gods together, using symbolism to express the ideas and beliefs of Hinduism. 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.
A Hindu temple or mandir is a structure designed to bring human beings and gods together, using symbolism to express the ideas and beliefs of Hinduism. 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.

Sundar Narayan Mandir (Nashik) in India

The spiritual principles symbolically represented in Hindu temples are given in the ancient Sanskrit texts of India for instance Vedas and Upanishads, while their structural rules are described in various ancient Sanskrit treatises on architecture, Brhat Samhita, 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.

India, a spiritual destination
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 temple is a place for Tirtha pilgrimage and it is a sacred site whose ambience and design attempts to symbolically condense the ideal tenets of Hindu way of life. All the cosmic elements that create and sustain life are present in a Hindu temple, from fire to water, from images of nature to deities, from the feminine to the masculine, from the fleeting sounds and incense smells to the eternal nothingness yet universality at the core of the temple. In Hindu tradition, there is no dividing line between the secular and the sacred. In the same spirit, Hindu temples are not just sacred spaces, they are also secular spaces. Their meaning and purpose have extended beyond spiritual life to social rituals and daily life, offering thus a social meaning. Some temples have served as a venue to mark festivals, to celebrate arts through dance and music, to get married or commemorate marriages, commemorate the birth of a child, other significant life events, or mark the death of a loved one. In political and economic life, Hindu temples have served as a venue for the succession within dynasties and landmarks around which economic activity thrived. Hindu temples come in many styles, are situated in diverse locations, deploy different construction methods and are adapted to different deities and regional beliefs, yet almost all of them share certain core ideas, symbolism and themes. Almost all Hindu temples take two forms, a house or a palace. A house-themed temple is a simple shelter which serves as a deity's home. The temple is a place where the devotee visits, just like he or she would visit a friend or relative. In Bhakti school of Hinduism, temples are venues for puja, which is a hospitality ritual, where the deity is the honored, and where devotee calls upon, attends to and connects with the deity. In other schools of Hinduism, the person may simply perform jap, or meditation, or yoga, or introspection in his or her temple. A palace-themed temples are more elaborate, often monumental architecture.

Sundar Narayan Mandir is a temple on the corner of Ahillyabai Holkar bridge that was built in 1756 by Chandrachud. The sanctum sanctorum houses the idol of Lord Vishnu and it is built in so that the very first rays of the sun falls on the deity of Lord Vishnu. Vishnu is one of the most significant deities in Hinduism. He is the Supreme god Svayam Bhagavan of Vaishnavism is one of the principal denominations of Hinduism. He is also known as Narayana and Hari. As one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta tradition, he is conceived as "the Preserver or the Protector". In Hindu sacred texts, Vishnu is usually described as having the dark complexion of water-filled clouds and having four arms. He is depicted as a pale blue being, as are his incarnations Rama and Krishna. He holds a padma which is a lotus flower in his lower left hand, the Kaumodaki gada, which is mace in his lower right hand, the Panchajanya shankha, a conch in his upper left hand and the discus weapon considered to be the most powerful weapon according to Hindu Religion Sudarshana Chakra in his upper right hand. Vishnu's many names and followers are collected in the Vishnusahasranama, also known as the "Vishnu's thousand names", one well-known version of which is found in the Mahabharata. The character Bhishma recites the names before Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, praising Vishnu as the supreme god. These sahasranama are regarded as the essence of all Vedas by followers of Vaishnavism, who believe sincere chanting of Vishnusahasranama results in spiritual well-being and greater awareness of God. The world is a form or a body of Lord Vishnu. The world constitutes of earth, twentyone heavens and twentyone hells. This world is like a small fragment in the infinite space called Mahat-tatva. This world is Lord Vishnu. So the world being God one should not destroy this world and try to find the hidden God in this world through faith.

Vishnu Sahasranama
The Vishnu Sahasranama, a tatpurusha compound, is a list of 1,000 names known as the Sahasranama of Vishnu, one of the main forms of God in Hinduism and the personal supreme God for Vaishnavas, the followers of Vishnu. It is also one of the most sacred and commonly chanted stotras in Hinduism. The Vishnu Sahasranama as found in the Anushasana Parva of the Mahabharata is the most popular version of the 1,000 names of Vishnu. Other versions exists in the Padma Purana, Skanda Purana and Garuda Purana. Each name eulogizes one of His countless great attributes. The Vishnu Sahasranama has been the subject of numerous commentaries. Adi Shankara wrote a definitive commentary on the sahasranama in the 8th century which has been particularly influential for many schools of Hinduism even today. Parasara Bhattar, a follower of Ramanuja, wrote a commentary in the 12th century, detailing the names of Vishnu from a Vishishtadvaita perspective. Madhvacharya asserted that each name in the sahasranama has a minimum of 100 meanings. Some of the Vishnu's other names are: Vishwam, Vishnu, Vashatkara, Bhuta Bhavya Bhavatprabhu, Bhutakrut, Bhutabhrut, Bhava, Bhutatma, Bhutabhavanah, Putatma, Paramatma, Muktanam Parama Gatih, Avyaya, Purusha, Keshava, Shrinidhi, Jayant, Aadityay, Bhavnaay, Veday. Vishnu is one of the most significant deities in Hinduism. He is the Supreme god Svayam Bhagavan of Vaishnavism, one of the principal denominations of Hinduism. He is also known as Narayana and Hari. As one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta tradition, he is conceived as "the Preserver or the Protector". In Hindu sacred texts, Vishnu is usually described as having the dark complexion of water-filled clouds and having four arms. He is depicted as a pale blue being, as are his incarnations Rama and Krishna. He holds a padma, a lotus flower in his lower left hand, the Kaumodaki gada, a mace in his lower right hand, the Panchajanya shankha, a conch in his upper left hand and the discus weapon considered to be the most powerful weapon according to Hindu Religion Sudarshana Chakra in his upper right hand.

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 Hindu temple in Nashik. 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.