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Materials Used For Making Idols Worshipped In Hindu Temples

In Hindu temples, the materials used for making idols vary depending on their purpose and significance. Here are some common materials used:

Stone: Images fixed permanently in temples, known as 'acala' or 'dhruva bera', are typically made of durable stones like granite, soapstone, or marble. These materials are chosen for their longevity and ability to withstand the elements.

Metal: Images used for processions (utsava-murtis) or worship at home are often made of metal. Metals commonly used include silver, gold, or panchaloha, which is an alloy of five metals. Metal idols are revered for their craftsmanship and aesthetic appeal.

Precious Stones: Some intricate idols incorporate precious stones as embellishments or as part of the overall design. These stones add beauty and value to the idol and are often used in conjunction with other materials like metal.

Wood: Wooden idols are less common but still significant in certain temples, such as the Jagannatha temple at Puri in Odisha and the Trivikrama temple at Tirukoilur in Tamilnadu. Wood is also used for murtis in many temples in Kerala. Woodcarving techniques are employed to create intricate designs and expressions on these idols.

Clay: Clay idols, also known as terracotta, are commonly used for temporary worship during festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi and Navaratri. Clay is easily moldable, making it suitable for creating idols in various shapes and sizes.

Ivory: Although less common and increasingly discouraged due to ethical concerns, idols made from ivory have been historically used. However, they are not considered suitable for worship in many traditions due to the sensitive ecological and moral issues associated with ivory production.

Each material has its significance and symbolism, and the choice often depends on cultural traditions, regional practices, and the intended purpose of the idol.