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Lost Temples of India

If you switch on The History Channel, you are overwhelmed with documentaties on Egypt. Every pyramid, every pharoah and every single grain of sand has a documentary. “Ancient Secrets of Egypt”, “Really Ancient Secrets of Egypt”, “The secret of the pyramids”, “The Pharoah’s slave’s wife’s second cousin’s story”, so goes the list. But if you ask which Indian emperor has moved more stone than the pyramid in Giza to construct a temple, everyone would blink.

It was refreshing to see the documentary called The Lost Temples of India ( via lazygeek) on the Big Temple at Tanjore, constructed by Raja Raja Chola. The documentary talks about how Raja Raja selected elephants for battle, how he moved 40 tonne granite stones to build the temple and the techniques used for cutting granite. They even find the remains of the ramp which could have been used for sliding up the stones.

Besides the Tanjore temple, the documentary also talks about the Vijayanagara empire, Sri Rangam and the temples of Khajuraho.

3 Responses to Lost Temples of India

  1. Praveen June 23, 2006 at 9:21 am #


    That was an interesting video. It has thrown light on the huge effort that must have gone into building the granite temple in Thanjavur.

    The video concludes well by pointing to the victorian mindset and the fascination for the non-blasphemous/white Taj Mahal.

    PS: The thing about the idea of taking bath more than once in a year was funny.

  2. P@L June 26, 2006 at 9:15 am #

    I saw this documentary last year in a local channel. One thing that really surprised me then was that the temples were discovered only in the 19th century and that too by the Brits. How can such huge structures be lost to the locals? Especially, since the structure was of such significance, information might have been passed on through generations. Why were the Indians (locals in particular) not ever curious or interested in finding it out? or why will it be lost considering the fact that it was built only in the 10th century?

    I find it as yet another example of total disregard for history among the Indians. Or at least it shows how fragmented was information back in those days in India. Some of which may be due to the existence of different languages.

  3. Suraj April 5, 2007 at 10:20 pm #

    @ P@L:
    It was not that the locals did not know of the existence of the Khajuraho temples. The British office TS Burt happened to be the one who first popularized this to the outer world, and thus is said to have “rediscovered” these temples.

    It has to be accepted that the fascination with which a foreigner would look at these temples was lost on the locals.

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