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This work examines the medieval response to temple destruction and image desecration. While temples were destroyed on a considerable scale, also noteworthy were the repeated endeavours to reconstruct them. In each instance of rebirth, the temple retained its original name, even though there was a visible downsizing in its scale and grandeur. The Keshava temple at Mathura, This work examines the medieval response to temple destruction and image desecration. While temples were destroyed on a considerable scale, also noteworthy were the repeated endeavours to reconstruct them. In each instance of rebirth, the temple retained its original name, even though there was a visible downsizing in its scale and grandeur. The Keshava temple at Mathura, the Vishwanath temple at Kashi, the Somnath temple in Saurashtra, the Rama mandir at Ayodhya were among the shrines continually restored, well after Hindus had lost all semblance of political power. The Bindu Madhava, the most important Vishnu temple in Varanasi, was demolished in 1669 and a mosque constructed in its place. The temple now bearing the name Bindu Madhava is a modest structure in the shadow of the mosque, but continues the traditions associated with the site. Intriguingly, mosques built on temple sites often retained the sacred names —Bijamandal mosque, Lat masjid, Atala masjid, Gyanvapi mosque, and not to forget, masjid-i- janamsthan. Equally worthy of study was the fate of images enshrined in temples. Many were swiftly removed by anxious devotees, many more were hurriedly buried; some remained on the move for decades, till such time they could be escorted back to their abodes. In several cases, images were damaged in flight. Countless images were lost, as their places of burial were forgotten over time. That necessitated the consecration of new images in more peaceable circumstances. So there were temples of the tenth-eleventh centuries, which housed images instated in the sixteenth. In situations where neither temple nor image could be safeguarded, the memory endured, and a shrine was recreated after an interval of several centuries.


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This work examines the medieval response to temple destruction and image desecration. While temples were destroyed on a considerable scale, also noteworthy were the repeated endeavours to reconstruct them. In each instance of rebirth, the temple retained its original name, even though there was a visible downsizing in its scale and grandeur. The Keshava temple at Mathura, This work examines the medieval response to temple destruction and image desecration. While temples were destroyed on a considerable scale, also noteworthy were the repeated endeavours to reconstruct them. In each instance of rebirth, the temple retained its original name, even though there was a visible downsizing in its scale and grandeur. The Keshava temple at Mathura, the Vishwanath temple at Kashi, the Somnath temple in Saurashtra, the Rama mandir at Ayodhya were among the shrines continually restored, well after Hindus had lost all semblance of political power. The Bindu Madhava, the most important Vishnu temple in Varanasi, was demolished in 1669 and a mosque constructed in its place. The temple now bearing the name Bindu Madhava is a modest structure in the shadow of the mosque, but continues the traditions associated with the site. Intriguingly, mosques built on temple sites often retained the sacred names —Bijamandal mosque, Lat masjid, Atala masjid, Gyanvapi mosque, and not to forget, masjid-i- janamsthan. Equally worthy of study was the fate of images enshrined in temples. Many were swiftly removed by anxious devotees, many more were hurriedly buried; some remained on the move for decades, till such time they could be escorted back to their abodes. In several cases, images were damaged in flight. Countless images were lost, as their places of burial were forgotten over time. That necessitated the consecration of new images in more peaceable circumstances. So there were temples of the tenth-eleventh centuries, which housed images instated in the sixteenth. In situations where neither temple nor image could be safeguarded, the memory endured, and a shrine was recreated after an interval of several centuries.

30 review for Flight of Deities and Rebirth of Temples: Episodes from Indian History

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ashish Iyer

    This book is documentation about reinstatement of deities after their original temples were desecrated or destroyed. Some books can make you too numb to outrage over how unfair our history has been. And how much of a whitewashed version reaches us. And how we have been cultured to consume it without questioning anything. It is the product of a painstaking effort on the part of the author to gather information from primary sources and observation of the remnants of the heroic struggle of the Hind This book is documentation about reinstatement of deities after their original temples were desecrated or destroyed. Some books can make you too numb to outrage over how unfair our history has been. And how much of a whitewashed version reaches us. And how we have been cultured to consume it without questioning anything. It is the product of a painstaking effort on the part of the author to gather information from primary sources and observation of the remnants of the heroic struggle of the Hindu community to protect their temples and murthys in the wake of centuries of attacks by Islamic and Christians invaders. This part of history was conveniently blanked out for us by leftist historians. Our truth is Carved in temples and deities. Their lies are written in History books. This book also gives the answers to those Hindus how our ancestors survived so long after constant onslaught of Islamic invasion. This book is a gut wrenching tale of destruction of Hindu temples across the land and our ancestor relentless efforts to save the deities from desecration and destruction. From Sun temple of Multan in West to Kamakaya temple in east, Sharda temple in north to Temples of Tamil Nadu in south. All i can say is this book is a brilliant eye opener. It changes your perspective of what is Indian history forever. And this book does have some photographs as well. One of the excellent books in Indian history, very transparent and no Pseudo secular cover-ups. Dr. Meenakshi Jain is an authority on her subject, her sources being various accounts of locals, foreign travelers, etc. This book makes you think and reflect on who you are and where you came from. Along with this book. I also recommend you to read. 1. What happened to Hindu Temples (2 Volumes) by Sita Ram Goel. 2. Hindu Masjid by Praful Goradia.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ajay

    Meticulously researched on the centuries of loot & plunder of temples & how they still managed to survive & reinvent. Wounded Civilization indeed! Its a very transparent & no pseudo secular coverups. Everyone should have in their library. It has lot of reference. Apart from this book, everyone should read Hindu Temples What Happened to Them Volume 1 and 2 by Sita Ram Goel. Go for it. Highly recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Surabhi

    A heart wrenching report of the destruction of Hindus temples across the land, suppression of a culture, and the despairing attempts to save deities from desecration and destruction by the devotees. This work examines the medieval response to large-scale temple destruction and iconoclasm. While the temples were destroyed on a considerable scale, also noteworthy were the repeated endeavours to reconstruct them. 'Flight of Deities and Rebirth of Temples' by Meenakshi Jain is a landmark work. This A heart wrenching report of the destruction of Hindus temples across the land, suppression of a culture, and the despairing attempts to save deities from desecration and destruction by the devotees. This work examines the medieval response to large-scale temple destruction and iconoclasm. While the temples were destroyed on a considerable scale, also noteworthy were the repeated endeavours to reconstruct them. 'Flight of Deities and Rebirth of Temples' by Meenakshi Jain is a landmark work. This book is a must-have as it presents a fascinating account of India history via Hindu temples and deities.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Abhishek Anupam

    This is a heart-wrenching tale of the medieval response to the destruction of temples and image desecration across the land from Sun Temple of Multan in West to Kamakhya Temple in East, from Sharda Temple, Kashmir in the north to Temples of Tamilnadu in South. From primary sources in a well-researched book author, Meenakshi Jain traces the journey of Deities and outlines how temples were built again and again after their destruction by multiple waves of attack by theologically inspired Islamic In This is a heart-wrenching tale of the medieval response to the destruction of temples and image desecration across the land from Sun Temple of Multan in West to Kamakhya Temple in East, from Sharda Temple, Kashmir in the north to Temples of Tamilnadu in South. From primary sources in a well-researched book author, Meenakshi Jain traces the journey of Deities and outlines how temples were built again and again after their destruction by multiple waves of attack by theologically inspired Islamic Invaders. The book examines the continuous desperate attempts to safeguard the images by ferreting them out of the Temples to some safer places, by burying them in the ground, by moving them from one place to another, by hiding it in forests, etc.These attempts succeeded sometimes and sometimes it failed. It took years, decades, even centuries for images to be unearthed and to be escorted back to their abodes. In several cases, images were damaged in flight and countless images and temples were lost forever. The book reminds us of the heroic resistance of our ancestors, their indomitable sacrifice, their unflinching faith and devotion, their common zeal to save Deities and rebuilt Temples again and again against all the odds, that our survival came at a huge cost in spite of Islamic invaders not because they didn't try to wipe out our native culture. PS- Cover Pic of the book is a sketch of the Gyanvapi mosque/Vishwanath Temple (a perfect example of [email protected] architecture) by James Prinsep in 1831.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Raja Baradwaj

    This is an amazing book, a treasure trove of information. A must read for anyone who wants to understand how our temples were plundered by our enemies. And the trouble our forefathers took, to save Dharma and the Deities from damage and destruction. The very powerful last line of this book sums up pretty much everything. “Weep beloved, sacred land. Your worshippers weep with you” #MustRead

  6. 5 out of 5

    Prashansa Jain

    Meenakshi Jain's book is a historical documentation of Indian temples and idols, destructed, reconstructed and lost in attempt to be saved. Facts from various historical books and research papers are put into this book making it a ‘hand book’ useful for those who have interest in studying brutal history of Indian idolatry culture destruction. The dismantling and demolition was mostly done by Muslim invaders. Author inscribed how Quran's explicit hospitality to idols and idolatry led Muslim invad Meenakshi Jain's book is a historical documentation of Indian temples and idols, destructed, reconstructed and lost in attempt to be saved. Facts from various historical books and research papers are put into this book making it a ‘hand book’ useful for those who have interest in studying brutal history of Indian idolatry culture destruction. The dismantling and demolition was mostly done by Muslim invaders. Author inscribed how Quran's explicit hospitality to idols and idolatry led Muslim invaders to destroy the shrines and looting the wealth was a part of the course. And at many places mosques were built in place of temples. On-dit about how Images were dig in or replaced or moved continuously to save from iconoclasts makes the book interesting. At some places, invaders couldn’t destroy the images suffosed with the divine energy or Idgah was built in front of temples to save it from Muslim invaders. Some images were resurrected and worshiped again, some are ruining in miserable condition in independent India, many of the images were lost for aeon. Some shrines were completely destroyed again and again but Hindus continued to worship places kept the memories alive, and new temples were built in favorable conditions. In independent India temples remained vulnerable, as threat of foreign invaders and iconoclasts gave way to atheists, sceptics, rationalists and unscrupulous idol smugglers. Various surveys performed by Indian government and UNESCO were also briefed by author. The description with proper timeline, geographical details and facts from literature, makes the book valuable. One time reading can make readers to postulate over the miserable fate of our sacred land. The immense huge task done by author deserves accolade, can only be bestowed by reading it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    M

    This is truly an exemplary work by Meenakshi Jain goes into excruciating details of the dilemmas faced by our ancestors for the past 1000 or so years. The amount of research that has gone into writing this book must have been mind boggling. I certainly recommend this book to every enthusiast trying to dig into Bharata's dharmic past. I myself found intimate references made to my ancestral temples of Goa, documented in this book. I would have loved to read more on the desecration of the Ajanta, E This is truly an exemplary work by Meenakshi Jain goes into excruciating details of the dilemmas faced by our ancestors for the past 1000 or so years. The amount of research that has gone into writing this book must have been mind boggling. I certainly recommend this book to every enthusiast trying to dig into Bharata's dharmic past. I myself found intimate references made to my ancestral temples of Goa, documented in this book. I would have loved to read more on the desecration of the Ajanta, Ellora and Elephanta caves in Maharastra, and the handiwork of brutes like Siraj ud-daulah in Bengal, which is missing in this book. The book is a reminder to all Hindus, in India and elsewhere that our freedom came at a very great cost and let history never repeat. A word of warning to readers - there are many emotional moments in this book that might make your blood boil, but please remember, bygones are bygones. Our beautiful dharma is NOT based on 'eye for an eye' principle. Let these events not dither you from practicing detachment and forgiveness, the two fundamental foundations of our dharma.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kiran

    Very accurate and Prof Jain demolishes Marxist historian quite convincingly .

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lasic

    Scholarly work by Meenakshi Jain. All books of her a must read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anuradha Goyal

    A must-read book for Indians. A rare look at the history of temples in India. Detailed review here - https://www.anureviews.com/flight-of-... A must-read book for Indians. A rare look at the history of temples in India. Detailed review here - https://www.anureviews.com/flight-of-...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Anirudh Naveen

    To put it simply: this is an absolute must-read for every Indian. History has been conveniently moulded to fit in certain spurious political agendas, and it is time for a complete overhaul of the narrative that is peddled in the mainstream. I picked this book up because of the recent clamour around 'temples' and 'birthplaces'. Frankly, a few months, I was of the view that temples are just another place of worship, that makes people unite with the Almighty and find solace. I sought to understand To put it simply: this is an absolute must-read for every Indian. History has been conveniently moulded to fit in certain spurious political agendas, and it is time for a complete overhaul of the narrative that is peddled in the mainstream. I picked this book up because of the recent clamour around 'temples' and 'birthplaces'. Frankly, a few months, I was of the view that temples are just another place of worship, that makes people unite with the Almighty and find solace. I sought to understand the deeper meaning behind temples and their architectural splendour, that has, over the years, showcased the redoubtable potential of uniting millions of people across the nation and beyond. And that is how I placed my hands on this book. The Flight of Deities is a magisterial work that provides a thorough survey of temples that were rankled by Abrahamic iconoclasm. It covers virtually every part of the country (most pertinently, the North East included- with a thorough history of the Kamakhya temple), and shows the resolve of ordinary Hindu devotees in such devastating times. The techniques used by our ancestors to preserve our culture are sure to make anyone proud and embarrassed at the same time. The latter can be gauged by reading the final chapter of this book that briefly documents the plight of temples in independent India. The book is thoroughly academic in nature, and presents a lot of convincing evidence to portray the cultural continuity fostered by the 'common man'. A lot of information is drawn from primary sources like agamas, mahatmyas and inscriptions. One must go through the notes at the end of the chapter and the references at the back to fathom the stupendous level of research undertaken for this book. At times, there is excessive usage of local terms and divine symbols that one might just skim through. However, this is compensated by the shorter headings in the beginning that encapsulate the crux of the message being conveyed. At a time when a cultural renaissance is unfolding in front of our eyes in Bharat, this is a book that must be read by everyone. It underscores the values that have shaped our pristine nation, those of resilience, devotion and cohesion. Note that there is not a single evidence to show a Hindu attacking a mosque or a church. Feelings of retribution (that so prevail in the modern day) were showcased rather covertly, through spiritual practices and local folklore. I really felt proud reading this book, and am surely going to read it many times in the near future. Jai Hind.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Abhishek Desikan

    Flight of Deities and Rebirth of Temples is a dispassionate, unbiased, and critical retelling of the history of India focusing on the countless incidents of destruction of temples and temple structures by Muslim invaders. It provides an expansive account from primary and secondary sources and covers the length and breadth of the country in its scope, thus providing a truly comprehensive insight into these incidents. Kudos to the author Meenakshi Jain for this mammoth effort! The author challenges Flight of Deities and Rebirth of Temples is a dispassionate, unbiased, and critical retelling of the history of India focusing on the countless incidents of destruction of temples and temple structures by Muslim invaders. It provides an expansive account from primary and secondary sources and covers the length and breadth of the country in its scope, thus providing a truly comprehensive insight into these incidents. Kudos to the author Meenakshi Jain for this mammoth effort! The author challenges three dominant prevailing notions - that Hindu kings destroyed temples during their battles with each other and that Muslim kings merely followed that tradition; that the role of the deity in the past was as a political powerplay for the rule and had little to do with the common man and, that Muslim kings built their mosques on top of existing Hindu temple structures, indicating co-existence between the two. The author surgically dissects each of these arguments by recounting a multitude of events and instances to the contrary. She proves that the temples were establishments which were collectively nurtured by the society at large, with thousands of common men throwing their lives to protect, hide, and preserve them. The book goes into great detail on various kings across the country who built historic and grand temples and the continuing service by conquering Hindu kings and the local populace in respecting this tradition. We get a reality check on the efforts that went into preserving these structures and of their everyday importance in the functioning of society. It gives a sense of why the memory of these events continues to live among people centuries after they happened, as for Hindus the "sthala" is more important than the actual object. I particularly enjoyed the coverage on southern India, something which is usually not available in school history textbooks. Temples from Sharada Peetha in Kashmir, to ones in Ayodhya, Somnath, Kashi, eastern India, and in the south from Vijayanagara to Kerala and Tamil Nadu temples and their origins are analyzed. An eye-opening book and a comprehensive look into our past.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Swarup Chakraborty

    #Outstandingly well researched book with more than 100 pages only of references. Unlike some abjectly overrated historians, this study is not punctuated by biased conjectures but offers pure facts citing writers and historians of that era which it refer to. It will remain as an important documentation of the excruciating pains that people of this country went through for no fault for their own in the name of iconoclasm and plunder. A #mustread book for all who wish to read history simpliciter an #Outstandingly well researched book with more than 100 pages only of references. Unlike some abjectly overrated historians, this study is not punctuated by biased conjectures but offers pure facts citing writers and historians of that era which it refer to. It will remain as an important documentation of the excruciating pains that people of this country went through for no fault for their own in the name of iconoclasm and plunder. A #mustread book for all who wish to read history simpliciter and not propaganda. #HighlyRecommended.

  14. 5 out of 5

    R

    if one has read Meenakshi Jains works on Ayodhya and Sita Ram Goel's - "Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them" - then this book takes it forward by citing examples and giving ample proof about the resistance given by Hindu to save their deities. #MustRead Those who havent read SRG, this is good..you can start with this but do read SRG's "Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them" if one has read Meenakshi Jains works on Ayodhya and Sita Ram Goel's - "Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them" - then this book takes it forward by citing examples and giving ample proof about the resistance given by Hindu to save their deities. #MustRead Those who havent read SRG, this is good..you can start with this but do read SRG's "Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them"

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gautham Guganesh

    Mind-boggling research. The references alone run into 100 pages. I now understand why the book was a bit pricey. The level of pain, care, research and groundwork that has gone into this book is astronomical. A must read saga that will leave you proud, amazed and dismayed.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nishu Thakur

    Jain points out how some historians, in order to justify Islamic iconoclasm, reduced Hindu temples to "pre-eminently political institutions", thus making them justifiable targets for Islamic attack. Read it. There are tons of temples she have written about. A must read book. Jain points out how some historians, in order to justify Islamic iconoclasm, reduced Hindu temples to "pre-eminently political institutions", thus making them justifiable targets for Islamic attack. Read it. There are tons of temples she have written about. A must read book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nikhil Anandikar

  18. 4 out of 5

    tushar

  19. 4 out of 5

    Srinidhi Ng

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sharang Inamdar

  21. 4 out of 5

    Arihant Pawariya

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sourabh Patil

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anirudha

  24. 4 out of 5

    Aryaman Chetas Pandey

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rohith Ajjampur

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sanjana Kumar

  27. 4 out of 5

    Somshekhar Nimbale

  28. 4 out of 5

    Hariprasad

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rayan Goswami

  30. 5 out of 5

    O.V. Jayakumar

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