How the temple became the center of economy

Vedic gods resided in the sky. They were unbound by geography. Temple deities are strongly tied to geography. Jagannath is strongly connected to Odisha, Tirupati to Andhra Pradesh, Nathdwara to Rajasthan. The temple, as we know it today, is closely linked to the land granted to village deities by kings through Brahmins – a practice that became widespread 1,500 years ago. Through the temple, the wealth generated from the fields was distributed among weavers, garland makers, dancers and musicians, who contributed to many of the temple’s rites, rituals and festivals. It created an economy.

Therefore, before entering the temple, it is necessary to identify the markets around it, as these indicate the prosperity of the temple. The shops offer sweets and cloth and lamps which pilgrims will offer to the deity. The shops also provide food, accommodation and souvenirs to the travelers. It is around the temple that we discover local arts and crafts, local cuisine.

Temples are usually built on a platform – at a height to protect it from floods. A flight of stairs leads us to the chair. Old temples like Khajuraho, Old Bhubaneshwar and Mamallapuram did not have walls around them. But when invasions and assaults became common, huge walls were built around the temples. The enclosure contains water tanks and orchards, which were once the original sacred places before being taken over by man-made structures.

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