Revisiting the Vāstupuruṣamaṇḍala in Hindu Temples, and Its Meanings

  • Kim, Young Jae (Architectural History and Theory University of Pennsylvania)
  • Received : 2014.01.13
  • Accepted : 2014.06.10
  • Published : 2014.06.30


The objective of this article, positively recognizing existing researches, is to revisit some aspects regarding the Vāstupuruṣamaṇḍala with a square grid work which is a fundamental planning guideline to control the construction of a Hindu temple and a mathematical doctrine to lead ritual programs. Hence, this paper suggests some reservations as to certain details such as temple constructions. In order to lay hold on its meaning, this paper touches upon the specific matters about the Vāstupuruṣamaṇḍala in the building construction of Hindu temples, which set out to shed light on four concerns; first, it explores the formation process of the Vāstupuruṣamaṇḍala in concert with the evolution of Hindu temples over time; second, it considers differences and similarities in comparison with other texts intimately articulated with the construction of temples, and then understands the relationship between their local languages and applications to the Vāstupuruṣamaṇḍala; third, it examines the symbolic and sanctified process of the temple's construction on the Vāstupuruṣamaṇḍala grids with two- or three-dimensional computer graphics (by means of the Auto Cad and Rhino tools), invisibly situating the divinities within it and illuminating the roles of ornamentation in the structural terms of temples; fourth, it presents that there are another rules on the building construction based upon architect-priest's craftsmanship skilled as a stonemason or a carpenter in the manual processes of the temples' construction for proper measurements and truncations of stone and wood closely linked together structural stability of completed temples. In conclusion, proceeding from what has been said above, this thesis shows that the Vāstupuruṣamaṇḍala grid includes both practical and spiritual meanings to construct a Hindu temple.


Vastupurusamandala;Grid Diagram;Ritual Instrument;Structural Stability;Hindu Temple;Nagara;Dravida;Vesara


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