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Sharda Temple at Pilani- Rajasthan

July 1997

The Sharda temple at Pilani, Rajasthan is a twentieth century modern temple, built by the philanthropist G.D. Birla. It is a temple dedicated solely to Saraswathi and is located in the heart of the Vidya Vihar campus at Birla Institute of Technology.

Architecturally it follows the North Indian or the Indo-Aryan scheme of temple construction and is a replica in marble of the Khandariya Mahadeo temple at Khajuraho. The temple stands on 70 pillars and has five distinct sections namely the Garbha-Griha or the Sanctum Sanctorum, the Pradakshinapatha or the circumambulatory path, the Antarala or the intermediate chamber between the Garba Griha and the Mandapam, and the Ardha Mandapa - or the entrance portico. The entire structure is situated on a 7 feet high basement and is about 25000 sq feet in area. The marble used in construction was brought from Makrana, also in Rajasthan.

The basement of the sanctum is covered with rows of figures sculptured in relief. The shikhara or the pyramidal tower above the sanctum rises to a height of 110 feet. The ceiling of the sanctum is adorned with magnificient carvings. The shikharas are crowned with kalashas, made of copper, plated with gold.

The interior of the temple is decorated with several figures. Inclined figures with hands raised upward in a beautiful posture of supporting the ceiling, decorate the brackets on top of the pillars in the temple. The exterior of the temple is also decorated with designs, and figures of philosophers, saints and scientists thereby reflecting the cosmopolitan nature of the monument and the vision of the builders to bridge the gulf between spirituality and modern scientific thought and technological advances.

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