Hindu temples: Models of a fractal universe

Abstract

Hindu philosophy views the cosmos to be holonomic and self-similar in nature. According to ancient architectural tradition, Hindu temples are symbols of models of the cosmos and their form represents the cosmos symbolically.

The procedures and methods used in the construction of Hindu temples bear a striking resemblance to the procedures of computer graphics, including discretization, fractalization and extensive use of recursive procedures, including self-similar iteration. The instructions given in ancient Vastu shastras (texts on architecture) work like general programmes to generate various types of temples.

The paper is an attempt to draw attention to the similarities between the procedures and resulting forms in computer graphics and Hindu temple architecture and to explain the relationship that exists between the form of the temple and the concepts of Hindu philosophy. It is proposed that Hindu temples may be viewed as threedimensional fractal models and that the use of fractal geometry procedures has a special symbolic meaning in the generation of the forms of Hindu temples.

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Trivedi, K. Hindu temples: Models of a fractal universe. The Visual Computer 5, 243–258 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02153753

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Key words

  • Fractal geometry
  • Cosmology
  • Hindu temple architecture
  • Visual language