Here’s something you don’t find out every day- from the book Speaking of Siva. And the bonus is, it is also beautiful:
Indian temples are traditionally built in the image of the human body. The ritual for building a temple begins with digging in the earth, and planting a pot of seed. The temple is said to rise from the implanted seed, like a human. The different parts of a temple are named after body parts. The two sides are called the hands or wings, the hasta; a pillar is called a foot, pada. The top of the temple is the head, the sikhara. The shrine, the innermost and the darkest sanctum of the temple, is a garbhagrhra, the womb-house. The temple thus carries out in brick and stone the primodial blueprint of the human body.
This is such a beautiful concept. It means, literally, that god resides in us. That he is within us. And it could also mean, that the temple is a woman. And that god is her baby. And I don’t mean it in a feminist way or something. It’s just that, the process of creation, of giving birth to your faith yourself, or merely nurturing it, is an extremely earthy and beautiful a form of worship. The sad part is, this understanding, or sensibility is lost somewhere; but the fact that it somehow finds us, like it found me, is the happy one.