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Architectural Wonders of India

We just received a large shipment of new treasures from India, adding to our beloved collection. We cannot get enough of Indian culture, aesthetic and history. Have a look below at some of our new (and old favorite) merchandise, and a couple of the architectural wonders they remind us of.

The Mandore Gardens-Mandore India

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The Mandore Gardens contain a temple dedicated to 330 million Gods. The gardens themselves certainly do not fall short of equaling the temple’s magnitude. Other temples, chhatris and high rock terraces border large lawns and topiaries. There is also a governement museum, which is filled with artifacts from the bygone era, and also contains the previously mentioned temple dedicated to various Hindu Gods who are worshipped all over India. The Gardens are in the small town of Mandore, which is located about 6 miles from Jodpur. Mandur was the original capital of the Rajputana kingdom before Marwar. The town is known for the famous gardens, which were built around the red sandstone cenotaphs or Chhatris, made for the Rathore rulers. The Mandore fort is is also there, but has not been maintained well like the gardens have. Tourists mainly visit Mandore to see these two attractions.

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These rustic shelves are reminiscent of the Mandore Garden temples with thier muted hues and detailed arches. The figurines and ornate carvings seem like they were taken directly ot of a Mandore Temple. They are whimisicle in nature, and yet the faded colors and soft edges give a down to earth, organic quality.

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Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir,”The Red Temple”- New Delhi, India

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Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir is the oldest and most well known Jain temple in New Delhi, built in 1656. It is red sandstone, and is known as the “Red Temple”. It is also known for a veterinary hospital in a second building behind the main temple, called the Jain Birds Hospital. The temple is located within the historical district of the city, on the main street Chandni Chowk. This area, referred to as “old city”, was founded by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1628-1658). Chandni Chowk Street was built in front of “The Red Fort”, which was the imperial residence. The Red Fort is directly across from the Red Temple. During this time, several financers were invited to come and settle in New Delhi and given land. They were of the Jain religion and permitted by the emperor to build a temporary structure for a Jain temple. During this period (Mughal period) it was illegal to build a sikhara (Sanskrit word’s literal translation of “mountain peak” refers to the rising tower in the Hindu temple architecture) for a temple. A sikhara was not built until after India’s independence, when the red temple was added to and rebuilt extensively.

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At the front of the red temple is a manastambha or “column of honor”. This is a traditional feature of Jain temples, and its size is intended to remove the pride of a person entering the temple. There is a small courtyard, surrounded by a colonnade. Across from the courtyard is a terrace, leading to the first floor of the temple, and the central area of prayer and devotion.

Within this area are many shrines, the most important being of Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthanara of Jainism. He was born in 599 BC as a prince, but renounced all worldly possessions and went in search of Moksha or salvation. He reached “enlightenment”, and spent the rest of his life preaching. Other important shrines are of Lord Adinath, the first Tirthankara, and Lord Parasnath who was the predecessor of Mahavira. The people come to the red temple and leave offerings of fruit, grains and candles. The red temple is said to be popular due to its soothing ambience and for the shining of the gilded paint under the candles and lamps.

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I am obsessed with the folding screens pictured above. They can be added to  room not only to add a burst of rich color and as a statement piece, but they are also so functional. A screen can be used to create a barrier where there is none, a divider between different areas in an open space, or my favorite, to conceal a mess. A unique & massive iron toran with individual tea light holders is pictured below.

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We will be back soon to discuss more of the new additions to our extensive Indian Collection and other beautiful places for you to read about.