Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Grahas (Planets) in Indian Temples

In all important Siva temples of South India, the navagrahas (nine planets) are placed in a separate mandapa with a pediment of about three feet in height.Performing Navagraha Homam is very auspicious. Offerings like sesame seeds, rice or any of the "nine grains" that may be appropriate are also made. Lighting lamps with sesame oil or seeds on Saturdays is important to Sani. Thil rice and Paayasam are offered to Navagraha.

*Navagraha*
Navagrahas in Shiva-Vishnu Temple, Maryland, USA

 The sculptures of grahas in Indian Temples are oriented in such a way that no two grahas face each other. Eight grahas surround the surya. Surya faces east. Each graha faces one of the four directions.
 
BUDHA^ (MERCURY, SON OF SOMA)  
Hands in yoga-mudra  
mercury  
Mercury

The first planet from the sun(35,980,000 miles). This thing goes from a blazing 430 °C to -180 °C ! It is also the only planet without an atmosphere.
SUKRA^ (VENUS)  
Holds akshamala in right hand and kamandalu in left hand  
venus  
Venus

The second planet from the sun(67,230,000 miles). This planet has an average temperature of 459 °C . It's almost like a gigantic fireball it's so hot!
CANDRA< (OR SOMA, MOON)  
Holds kumuda in both hands
GURU^ (OR BRHASPATI, JUPITER)  
Holds akshamala in right hand and kamandalu in left hand  
jupiter  
Jupiter

The fifth planet from the sun(483,500,000 miles). This is the largest planet of our solar system, nearly 11 times the size of the Earth, is 88,846 miles in diameter. It is composed of mostly gases (along with some liquid),  mainly hydrogen(84%), with the rest being helium.
SURYA> (OR ADITYA, SUN)  
Holds padma in both hands
MANGALAv (OR BHAUMA, MARS, SON OF EARTH)  
Holds danda in right hand, kamandalu in left hand  
mars  
Mars

The fourth planet (Red) from the sun(141,600,000 miles). This planet has a temperature range of -87 to 17 °C , making it the most like Earth of the nine planets. 
 
KETUv  
Arms folded in anjali attitude; lower portion of the body is that of a snake  
 
SANI< (SATURN)  
Holds danda in right hand and kamandalu in left hand  
saturn  
Saturn

The sixth planet from the sun(885,500,000 miles). The rings are made from gases thought to be held in position by Saturn's gravity. This is also a fluid planet containig mainly hydrogen and helium in it's atmosphere. It is the second largest planet next to Jupiter being about 9 times the size of the Earth.
RAHUv  
Seated on a sacrificial pit (kunda)
The planets not represented in Indian Temples as part of the navagrahas are: Earth, Pluto, Uranus and Neptune. Earth is represented as a goddess: Bhuudevi.

earth

Earth

The third planet from the sun(92,897,000 miles). The only planet we know of that supports life of the nine.
Pluto
Pluto

The farthest planet from the sun(3,660,000,000 miles). It is the smallest of all the planets in our solar system. It is cold at about -233 °C .
 
uranus
Uranus

The seventh planet from the sun(1,786,400,000 miles). This planet also has rings, but they are less distinct than Saturn's. It maintains a fairly constant temperature of -216 °C . It is four times the size of the Earth with a diameter of 31,763 miles.
 
neptune
Neptune

The eighth planet from the sun(2,824,000,000 miles). It is the fourth largest planet, with a 30,775 mile diameter.  It is also mostly composed of gases.
Notes on significance of sculptured icons in Indian Temples

The icons in sculptures in Indian Temples are a celebration of nature, life and aides to memory of the attributes of god. The icons of grahas in Indian Temples are an adoration of the cosmos represented by the planets of the solar system. An excellent example is the depiction of maize in the hands of sculptures in many temples.

Depiction of maize in the sculptures of Indian Temples

The following notes have been taken from  Prof. Carl L. Johannessen, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Geography, University of Oregon. (cf. Carl L. Johannessen and Anne Z. Parker, "Maize Ears Sculptured in 12th and 13th Century A.D. India as Indicators of Pre-Columbian Diffusion," Economic Botany 43 , 1989, 164-80. Yuri Kuchinski has reproduced some photographs which appeared in this article).  See also M. Kumar and J.K.S. Sachan, "Antiquity of maize in India", in Maize Genetics Cooperation Newsletter 1993 (vol. 67), p. 98.

Cobs in the hands of sculptures
 

Somnathpur, Karnataka

Home    Astrology    SolarSystem    GrahaTemples    SunTemples    Antiquity    Prayers