The Significance of the Thousand Pillar Temple

The Thousand Pillar Temple or Rudreshwara Swamy Temple is a historic Hindu temple located in the town of Hanamakonda, Telangana State, India. It is dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Surya.

According to one very old book in Sanskrit at BORI (Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute), Poona: Mandiram Puratanam, the significance of 1000 pillar is that 333 pillars for three deities: Shiva, Vishnu and Surya and one pillar for the Brahma (the creator) who doesn’t figure in this temple.

But this explanation or significance was rejected by Professor Sukhtankar who’s world-renowned for his treatise on Mahabharat. Even Belvalkar didn’t accept this theory. Nonetheless, it’s still popular among a certain group of ‘scholars’ and devotees.

This temple has its own importance and those who visit South and have a religious bent of mind, never fail to go and see this magnificent shrine.

A visitor’s impressions of thousand pillar temple:

According to ASI (Archaeological Survey of India), this temple is visited by devotees as well as architects. The architectural significance of this temple is truly noteworthy. There are richly carved pillars, perforated screens, exquisite icons; rock cut elephants and the monolithic dolerite Nandi as components of the temple. Maxwell Fry, who helped French architect Lee Carbuzio in structuring Chandigarh, visited 1000 pillar temple in South in 1959.

It’s believed that the idea of structural support and suspension stability was taken from here. But there’s no official proof to support this claim which first appeared in the Quest in 1972.

The significance of the thousand pillar temple Warrangal:

The 1000 pillar is a concept prevalent in the ancient temple architecture of India. Sahsram stambham vritika poornam (One thousand pillars complete the divine significance of a temple/shrine).

A pillar is a symbol of strength. Thousand pillars consolidate that strength. In Vishnu Sahsranaam, one gets to read that the heaven stands on sahsram stambham (on one thousand pillars).

That heavenly metaphor may have been used here by the artisans of the temple, guided by men of great religious wisdom and prescience.

From Tantrik or occult perspective of ancient Hinduism, stambh is emblematic of ‘erect phallus’ (Stambhan: Erection in Sanskrit). The ancient India was not at all prudish like the modern India. Kama and Moksha (salvation) lived cheek-by-jowl without any prudery or feeling of embarrassment. Khajuraho’s temples with their erotic carvings underscore this fact so eloquently. No wonder, if this may have been an underlying reason behind the construction of this temple.


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