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Deepmala – Deepstambha – Dipvriksha in Temples in Maharashtra and Goa

The lamp pillars, or lamp trees, in temples in Maharashtra belong to the Maratha period and they are known as Deepmala, Deepstambha, Deep Jyoti Stampa, or Dipvriksha. It is a tall tree like stone structure with brackets for holding oil lamps during important pujas, rituals and festivals.

Today, devotees too construct deepmalas in front of the Gods to show their devotion and as part of thanksgiving for desire fulfillment.

The deepstambha is made using laterite stone or using other locally available stones.

Majority of the temples in Maharashtra are well known for their religious or spiritual significance and not for its architecture. Deepmala is a unique structure and is sort of a symbol of temple architecture of Maharashtra.

Deepmala is usually located in the paved courtyard of a temple. It is found to the west side of the garbha griha or the sanctum sanctorum.

Deepmala became an important aspect of temples in the mid 18th century. This was during the Peshwa period.

In some instances, the Deepstambha are like freestanding minarets suggesting the synthesize of Islamic architectural elements.

Deepstambh, a column of oil lamps, is a sight in many South Indian temples. The nobleman of Peshwa’s court who had travelled to South might have wanted something similar and got the deepmala constructed. In South India, Deepstambh is made using stone and metals.

The deepstambh in temples in Goa are sometimes slightly different and are made using mortar and bricks. They show influence of both Islamic and Christian architecture. But majority of the deepstambh are similar to the ones found in Maharashtra.