Galwar Bagh (Galtaji) - Monkey Temple
Ramgopalji Temple, Galtaji, Jaipur, India (via Instagram: bobyrock)

Galtaji is an ancient Hindu pilgrimage site in the town of Khania-Balaji, about 10km away from Jaipur, in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The site consists of several temples and sacred kunds (water tanks) in which pilgrims bathe. It is believed that a Saint named Galav lived here, practiced meditation, and did penance.

Akshardham, New Delhi, built 2001-2005. By most measurements the largest Hindu Temple in the world.

It is dedicated to Swaminarayan (1781-1830), the founder of the Swaminarayan sect of Vaishnavism, who is considered an incarnation of Purushottama (the supreme deity) by his followers. The name Akshardham refers to the divine abode of Swaminarayan, where the soul goes to attain moksha (liberation).


Illustrations by Robert de Jager in Michael W. Meister, “Prāsāda as Palace: Kūṭina Origins of the Nāgara Temple” [ Artibus Asiae, Vol. 49, No. ¾ (1988 - 1989) ]

Top: Rajim, Rajivalocana temple, axonometric drawing.

Bottom: Alampur, axonometric drawing of hypothetical structure based on the Svarga-Brahma and Visva-Brahma temples (ornament is removed from upper storeys).


Aīrāvatīśwara Temple

Located near the sacred town of Kuṁbakoṇam in the Tamil heartland is the Aīrāvatīśwara (ऐरावतीश्वर) Temple. Built in the 12th Century CE by the Cola monarch Rājarājā II, it is a sparkling example of Dravidan style architecture as perfected under the Cola kings. While smaller than the Brihadīśwara Temple in Thanjāvur, the Aīrāvatīśwara Temple contains more finessed sculptural details. The main maṇḍapa is in the form of a chariot with large wheels and drawn by stone horses – a theme that is seen in other temples as well – notably the Sūrya Mandira at Konark.

The Aīrāvatīśwara Temple is dedicated to Lord Śiva – Mahādeva as the saviour of Aīrāvata – the resplendent white elephant who was the vāhana of Indra the king of paradise – relieving the supplicant from a complexion blemished by a curse.


Historical Monuments at Makli, Thatta, Pakistan.

Makli is an enormous cemetery possessing half a million tombs and graves in an area of about 10 km2. Massed at the edge of the 6.5 km-long plateau of Makli Hill, the necropolis of Makli – which was associated with the nearby city of Thatta, once a capital and centre of Islamic culture – testifies in an outstanding manner to the civilization of the Sindh from the 14th to the 18th centuries.

The vast necropolis of Makli is among the largest in the world. Kings, queens, governors, saints, scholars, and philosophers are buried here in brick or stone monuments, some of which are lavishly decorated with glazed tiles. Among the outstanding monuments constructed in stone are the tombs of Jam Nizamuddin II, who reigned from 1461 to 1509, and of lsa Khan Tarkhan the Younger and of his father, Jan Baba, both of whose mausolea were constructed before 1644. The most colourful is that of Diwan Shurfa Khan (died in 1638). The unique assemblage of massive structures presents an impressive order of monumental buildings in different architectural styles. These structures are notable for their fusion of diverse influences into a local style. These influences include, among others, Hindu architecture of the Gujrat style and Mughal imperial architecture. Distant Persian and Asian examples of architectural terra-cotta were also brought to Makli and adapted. An original concept of stone decoration was created at Makli, perhaps determined by the imitation of painted and glazed tile models. The historical monuments at the necropolis of Makli stand as eloquent testimonies to the social and political history of the Sindh.