Contemporary Hindu temples raise aesthetic, economic, political and philosophical questions about the role of architecture in making a place for the sacred in society.
This book presents the Hindu temple from the perspectives of institutions and individuals, including priests, building practitioners and worshippers, to consider what it means when the temple is no longer at the centre of Indic life, but has instead become one among several important sites of social praxis.
The Contemporary Hindu Temple takes as its subject the multiple forms of architecture, design and sociability that Hindu spaces of worship encompass today. The essays cover shrines located in urban and rururban India, where Hindu temples are being maintained, resuscitated or newly constructed at a rapid pace. The authors of the essays in this volume take the contemporary as a moment in which historic structures, modern renovations, evolving religiosities and new design and construction practices intersect and converge. This centres the temple in a landscape of automobility, wireless connectivity and economic reformation, at the crossroads of informal acts of insertion, formal planning and governmentality, or as an architect-designed structure consciously being pushed toward the fresh horizons that a changing society offers. By focusing on a variety of structures, large and small, on expansive forms of encroachment, and on incremental acts of negotiation and seemingly insignificant processes, small feelings and pieties, this book nuances and expands our understanding of the Hindu temple today.