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Prasada In Hindu Temple Architecture

Prasada is a Sanskrit term for a palace, an edifice, a temple, a platform, a monastery or a building or a multi storey mansion. The term applies to an entire structure and not to a single storey or terrace thereof. It refers to both religious and residential buildings, magnificent as well as small. A prasada can be both a gorgeous temple and a small pavilion where a deity is installed.

Prasada as a sacred building, a temple, the seat and welling place of God, is referred to in ancient texts and in inscriptions.

The meaning of prasada can be inferred from the descriptions in medieval text, Ishana Shiva Gurudeva Paddati. This work mentions a temple, prasada, as made up of the presence of Shiva and Shakti. Devalaya (house of God) is the concrete manifestation of Shiva. Vedic references indicate prasada stands for a three-storied building and is compared with Mount Meru and Vindhya mountain, very high and snow-white, also called devagraha devayatana. The three stores of a prasada may denote the three worlds – earth, air, and heaven.

Agni Purana prasada as purusha, and Bhagavan Hari is visibly established in the prasada. The text goes on further that he who does not know the prasada – the great body of five mantras – Ishana, Tatpurusha, Aghora, Vamadeva And Sadyojata, together with thirty eight kalas – cannot at all be called an acharya.

From the Shaiva point of view, prasada (palace) is the symbolic substance which, as a substratum corresponds to the principal substance and immanent cause, nada, the principal vibration. The world has been created from nada. This is illustrated in the rhythmical plan and structure of prasada. Such is the meaning of prasada, the most generally employed name for the Hindu temple.