As obvious as it can be, India is a country of rich culture and diversity which has developed over the years. It has been observed that
this variety exists not only in food , lifestyles , clothes , traditions , and religions, but also in the architecture of holy places and temples. Ranging from its northernmost tip to the southernmost tip, India is suffused with places of worship. Many theories have
developed regarding the existence of temples, which includes giving a concrete place to God and paving a way to attain good karma. An Indian structural temple could be Hindu, Jain, Buddhist or Sikh.
The object of worship differs and could be one of the deities of the Hindu pantheon in a Hindu temple, a Jain trithankara (teacher – saint) in a Jain temple, a stupa or a figure of the Buddha in a Buddhist temple (monastery) and Guru Granth sahib, the Sacred book of Sikhs, in Sikh temple known as Gurudwara.
The Hindu temples provide an insight into the development of temple architecture in India. Temple architecture can be roughly divided in to three main types. The Northern style known as the Nagara, the Southern style, the Dravida, and the third, the Chalukyan school of Karnataka which combines the features of both styles and spread to all parts of the country.
There is very little difference in the development of Hindu and Jain temples. The Jain temple, in keeping with the need for privacy and seclusion during rituals, has enclosed rooms in places of open pillared of the Hindu temple. In the Dilvara temples at Mount Abu (Rajasthan), sculptures, intricate and delicate cover every inch of the marble. Yet the effect is not of satiation but of harmonious exuberance, of great grace and charm.
From the 12th century, Muslim invaders from the north – west stayed on to form kingdoms. This resulted in a whole new phase in the building of monuments whose architectural style was Indo – Islamic. The best examples of Indo – Islamic architecture can be seen in Delhi. The Suri style seen in Delhi and at Sasaram in Bihar, was a precursor of the Mughal style.
Religion is an integral part of the total Indian tradition. Four of the World’s major faiths have met on Indian soil i.e. Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. The first two of these were born in India. There are more religions
practiced in India than any other country. Nearly all the religions of the world have followers in this country.
Even religions which came from outside have assimilated the subtle, indefinable shades of mood, attitude and lifestyle that are distinctively Indian and a survey of Indian religions provides fascinating glimpses of the colorful variegated pattern of Indian life and culture. Whereas it was Indian religion and culture that attracted the east all the way up to Japan and Korea, the wealth of India, its spices, ivory and precious stones have always attracted the west.
Religion has always had a tremendous hold on the Indian mind. Even today, in spite of the impact of science, technology and materialistic ideologies, religion is a powerful source in Indian life