Ancient history said that temples did not exist during the Vedic period. The concept of idol worship started to gain importance at around the end of Vedic period. Initially temples were made up of clay with thatched roofs of straws and leaves. As well as cave temples existed. It was only later with the dawn of new civilization that temples were made out of stones and bricks. Hence the earliest structures that indicate idol worship can be traced back to 4th or the 5th century AD. History says that there was a significant growth and rise of the Hindu temples between the 6th and 16th century.
There are thousands and lakhs of temples existing in India and around. Exactly spotting out the oldest seems not possible, but still according to the reports of archaeological excavations as well as the history associated, we have come across two significant temples which seem to be the oldest.
Mundeshwari Devi Temple, Bihar
This temple located in Kaimpur district of Bihar and is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva and Shakti. It has sculptures of other Gods and Goddesses as well which includes Lord Ganesha, Surya and Vishnu. Many say it to be the oldest temple in India to be functional till now. According to the archaeological survey of India this monument is dated back to 108 AD.
Changu Narayan Temple in Kathmandu
This marvellous temple belongs to 325 AD during the reign of Licchavi King Hari Datta Verma. It is said to be one of the richest structures in Nepal because of the history associated with it. It is a pagoda style temple and is rich in the artistically inscribed forms. It holds many different monuments and structures of Nepalese art from 5th to 12th century. History states that this was considered to be an extremely sacred site during the 3rd century.
According to Indian mythology this is the place where Lord Vishnu stood as a Champak tree due to the curse given to him for killing Sudarshan’s father. Unknowingly a Brahmin and a cow boy chopped the tree off to find that they freed Lord Vishnu from the curse. After the incident they both constructed this temple to worship the Almighty.
Temples have always been a place of sacred recreation for people and the history associated with it brings belief and affection for God. In this era of modern science, the existence of these monuments is currently the only source of eternal peace and satisfaction. Let’s cherish the history of these magical places ad refrain them from getting destroyed.