We must have been through our Temple Gopurams multiple times, Did we ever wonder what our Gopuram represents?
Let us know these Towering, Gigantic Gopurams. Gopuram is a formal entrance to the “Praakaaram” of the temple generally from the East.
There can also be Gopurams in 4 directions.
If so, the larger one, generally in the east is considered as the “Raja Gopuram”. Sometimes this differs.
It is scientifically tested & Proved that these gopurams take the “Seismic Load” protecting the temple from Earthquakes.
Earlier Gopurams were small in comparison to “Vimana” but later they grew robust & were visible from many Kilometres to the pilgrims & Devotees.
These gopurams are not just formal entrances but holds great significance.
1) The Gopurams are storeyed. Each storey is called “Tala”. The storeys are always in odd number like 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 & 13.
So if it is 5 storeyed it is called “Pancha Tala” Gopuram.
Importance of “Odd Numbers” in Sanatana Dharma.
2 & 3) The front & Back faces of Gopuram & each storey are with the elements related to the Main deity in GarbhaGriha.
Since this is Chadambara Gopuram – elements related to Shiva are seen.
The Side towards North is with Brahma & His Elements. The Side towards South is with Vishnu & His elements.
If it is a Vishnu Temple, the front and Back faces will have Vishnu elements, whereas sides will have Shiva & Brahma elements.
4) The last “Tala” or storey is decorated on all sides with the “Vahana” of the Main deity. Which is visible to devotees from long to decide on which god they will worship.
5) The roof of Gopuram – “Naalaakaara Samunnata Chadhi” is a barrel vaulted roof.
6) The Roof is topped by the “Kalasa” also in odd number always. Here we can see 13 Kalasas.
These are made of copper & attracts the thunderbolts protecting the people & temple.
One important thing is – these Kalasas including the Kalasa on Vimana were filled with the grains to keep the continuity of life on earth in case of Pralaya.
These grains are changed every 12 years – famous with the ritual “Kumbhabhishekham”
7) The sides & faces of roof are Kirtimukhas