The recent message covering NASA photo on the ancient bridge between India and Sri Lanka has provoked many of us to look into the ancient culture and practices, some of which may contain valuable lessons for us. Please find attached an extract from a book on the lessons to be learnt from ancient culture in TamilNadu. It was possibly
written by person from rural area and hence the content may be focussed without looking into the style of writing.
I did my B.Tech in Civil Engineering from Madras IIT and did my Masters in Building Sciences at Sydney University. I must confess I have not read one article ever which explained the temple architecture better. I will be forwardin this to the Deans of the faculties of architecture at Sydney University and New South Wales University to be passed on to their undergraduate students.
I must also remember to ask my friend M.S.Mathews, Head of Civil, Madras IIT to share this with his building science students.
Thanks for sharing this fascinating article with the group.
IIT Global- Moderator.
SCIENCE AND SOCIETY
Science in Temple
An old saying in Tamil is ‘Do not live in a place without a temple”. Let us look at this scientifically.
All these ancient temples were constructed with thousands of tons of granite. For centuries these ancient monuments were standing against rain, storms, sun and are also the best building material against time. In addition to these reasons the granite was chosen with a deep scientific meaning.
The sunlight during day time captured by the stones, heats them, after saturation, imparts heat to the surrounding air making it to become light so that it can flow upwards. This process creates partial vacuum attracting the wind flow from the East as this is the direction in which the temple faces. The main temple Street is unobstructed as per social norms. The wind is drawn in through this Street by the solar energy. Tamil Nadu is situated in 1east coast and is closer to equator hence placed in trade wind area-North easterly wind. The temple acts as a giant induced
draught fan for the whole temple village or town. The whole town is well ventilated by this process.
The temple has four towers, four temple tanks in front surrounding them the Banyan, Peepul, Coconut trees are planted. The wind takes the water vapour from the tanks, the ozone from Peepul trees, oxygen from trees and flows. Hence it can be seen how healthy conditions are created for temple users. Banyan, Peepul trees occupy only few square metres however their leaves are in millions collect solar energy, through photo synthesis in-hale carbon-dioxide digest carbon exhale oxygen helping humans and animals.
Immense feeling of exhilaration can be felt when one stands on a hot summer day below temple tower enjoying the temple induced East-West breeze.
Another social code of conduct in temple town is that no house should be taller than outer compound wall of the temple. The induced Eastern breeze should not be obstruc-ted and taken by only a single house.All the house should get equal quantum of
wind -- is the ultimate aim.
In these towns the houses are warmer ( not hot) in summer and warm (not cold) during winter due to the action of granites used in temple construction.
In such places the houses should face East, lengthwise in South North the breadth East West so that the house is oriented to face wind and make it to give good ventilation. The doors, windows, ventilators in line facing wind help in the normal flow of air through the house. Such .a construc-tion can definitely
provide a well ventilated house.
In addition to temperature moderation of the surround-ings on a temple it has also very important scientific answer for saving the town from fierce lightning as explained below. The temple is the highest structure in the town with 7, 9, gold plated copper vessels are placed on top.
In Tamil Nadu the summer lightning is ferocious since the dusty atmosphere creates more number of charged ion for making the lightning to accumulate high strength.
The lightning has 30,000 to 40,000 volts charged electricity. The light velocity is 3 lacs kms. per second. The lightning touches the tallest structure first. The tower is the tallest hence lightening stikes it first, the immense energy dissipated
harmlessly in three ways.
The pointed vessels receive the high voltage electricity hence the air at this close pointed spot due to the high voltage gets ionised. In other words, the air separates as positively and negatively ionised particles get segregated to opposite sides,
so that the electricity can be conducted through this ionised air, part of the energy is dissipated by this process.
The lightning energy is in the form of high intense light hence part of the light when it strikes the gold plated vessel get reflected away just as in a mirror reflection.
The heat in lightning is imparted to and conducted efficiently by the copper vessel due to its higher thermal conducting ability. These vessels are stuffed with processed grains which act as bad conductors of heat so that the outer surface of the copper vessel gets all the heat. The heat is instantaneous and heavy hence air
surrounding the vessel quickly heats up the air inducing a heavy whirl wind past the vessel thus taking away the heat from them.
it can be understood that the temple vessels are designed as lightening dissipators saving the temple and society around it.
The meaning of stone pavements:
Normally temple is to be entered after washing hands, feet and face or the exposed portions of the body with water in temple tanks. This dilutes the bacterial colony on the human body. Some of these bacteria are left on the pavement by the walking
people. During day time the sun heats up stones to above 600C killing bacteria.
The temple is surrounded by the three passages:
The meaning :
The Diabetic patients walking around 8 times morning and evening can dissipate the sugar through excretion in sweating and blood movement through muscles.
Normally people take bath early morning washing away all dirt from skin removing the choked up pore hole obstruc-tions in sweat pores, wear wetted loin clothes, breathe the pure air when walking around the temple. Healthy living achieved by walking around the temple.
Significance of hillock temples for Lord Karthikeya:
Teen, middle aged can frequent Palani, old aged Tiruttani temple. The temples extend the life span of the persons frequenting them. During day time the sun light heats the rock, raises temperature imparted to the air making it to go up due to low density, producing drawal of air from surroundings. As day advances to evening and
night the velocity of wind increases producing ozone atmos-phere. When persons walk up and down morning and evening they inhale intensified oxygen, movement of muscles produces the desirable blood movement reducing burden on the heart.
Reason for Gold sheathing over sanctum sanctorum:
Decisions enables a person to construct a good life path. Decisions make a man. Anger, fear, anxiety, jealousy, are the feelings which confuse a brain, divert and decisions cannot be made effectively under their influence. The brain is capable of giving the exemplary decisions when it is sober, free from all tensions and well organised.
The brain of Einstein when it was analysed after his death as per his will by a leading medical foundation it concluded after four years that at any time Einstein had used only 2% of his brain in his life time. The full capability ability of the brain is not known fully to any one. Even super computers are designed by human
brain only. It can be called as Hyper Computer, Capabilities many times better than a super computer.
Among the nature’s creations the best designed product is a human. In the human, the best part is the Brain.
Let us see how we can make use of this best designed part by nature to best use. Many of us are educated well. We have taken many examinations for getting degree or Diploma. Examinations taken in the whole life may be around few hundreds or thousands. However when we look back and consider we can conclude easily
that in none of the examinations we were able to give fully all we have crammed before the examination. All through the year we prepare for the examination, write the test, when we come out of the hall we feel that we could have given some more points. Why this happens. This is due to unorganised condition of brain. The best way to train the brain is as follows. Some time before the examination stop the reading and try to shed all feelings from the mind. In the examination hall spend 5 minutes for recapitulating the best scene seen in your life this brings in sober, calm atmosphere to the brain shedding fear, anxiety, anger etc. so that, that part of the brain cell which is capable of giving best possible recapitu-lating support will be most active. When the question paper is rece1ved read through it thoroughly,
mark priorities depen-ding on amount of knowledge available with you. Before attempting to write the first answer on the basis of your choice since you feel that you have the maximum infor-mation about it close your eyes try to recapitulate the entire major information, prepare the paragraph sequence, content of each paragraph give in a logical sequence the information. Give precise information in each para try to concentrate in each para so that you organise your brain to pour out all information crammed by you on the subject matter. It may not be possible to perfect the tuning of your brain in a single attempt but it may take a few attempts before you reach ideal conditions. Concentration of the brain on subject matter is important.
Conditioning the brain make it to contribute for cons-tructive goals of the life is the theme of the temple worship. For example when persons prepare for pilgrimage to Palani, Tirupathi, Iyappa temples we can see that they prepare their body and brain for the betterment of themselves. 30, 40 days before the pilgrimage they follow the prayer schedules both in the mornings and evening after taking bath. They try to keep aside the evil thoughts spend most of their time on going through spiritual prayers in the form of bajans, recital of verses hence the brain is made to work on
calm, serene mode.
Before they reach the temple, it is kept as a clean, pure,sanctitious place to receive the devotee. Over the sanctum sanctorum the gold sheets reflect back to atmos-phere the sunlight thus preventing 60% of the heat from sun light is prevented from entering it. Stones conduct away the heat. Milk, honey sandal wood paste, etc. poured on the deity keeps it cool. Camphor and good smelling sticks burning brings in good fragrance to the whole atmosphere. in fact the sanctum sanctorum is kept in cool atmosphere for the human body which feels the comfort and is capable of bringing out the best out of itself. Worshiper takes bath goes with loin clothe, carries pure thoughts hence the best constructive parts of the brain is well prepared and organized for pouring out the best decisions for a human. In the absence
of anger fear, desire the brain is well organised both for the educated and the illiterate.
Humans try to decipher the nature’s law by use of human brain. Human invented laws when they do not coincide with nature’s laws only way for the human is to revise his laws. Sages, saints tried for centuries to know the natures laws using the brain as tool.
Kumkum and Sacred ashes have a Scientific meaning:
Women’s face looks charming by red kumkum on their temple.
The light we see consists of Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow.Orange, Red, wave lengths mixed together to produce white light. They have short wave length-violet to long wave length Red. These visible portion wave lengths are only a small portion of
the entire light spectrum. The matter consists of atoms. The atoms have the nucleus called Protons have Positive charge, the electrons which orbit have negative charge. The orbital velocity of electrons is about 3 lacs km. per second. Depending on the energy level of electrons they orbit in 1, 2. 3, etc. orbit, the one having maximum energy being placed in first orbit and the one with least energy level placed in last orbit. The last orbit can hold specific number of electrons at this condition the atom is stable. When one electron is less in last orbit it is less by one negative charged electron hence the positive charged Proton has one more positive
charge. So the atom is in unstable condition known as positively ionised. In other words the ionised atom will aggressively react with other matter till it captures another electron to reach a condition of charge so that it is in stable condition. To move from outer orbit to lower orbit more energy is required. Lower orbit to outer orbit requires less energy. When orbit is changed photon of light is emitted.
Light falls on matter imparts extra energy to the orbiting electrons so that either it moves to lower orbit or expelled to atmosphere, in the process photon of light is emitted this process is continuous. In some matters parti-cular wave lengths predominantly become visible due to the atomic structure, so that we see particular wave length always hence we attribute a colour to that matter. For example the kumkum the red wave length which is long wave is seen. The colour is due to the light not due to the matter. Kumkum does not show any colour during night when it
Long wave lengths give out more heat. When women cook standing before stove much heat is felt by them kumkum reflects out most part from their temple.
Likewise Diamond stud, nose, ear studs, necklaces are capable of absorbing heat from the human body easily though the gold, dissipate quickly, diamond reflects out the heat as reflected light. Gold ornaments dissipate the heat quickly from the human
Sacred ashes act as insulators and most of the lights are reflected back. It is also capable of absorbing the sweat and skin lubricating oil when it comes out from the pores of the sweat glands on the temple.
Trade wind in South India
Indian sub continent is on the Northern side of Equator and is situated below 23+0 North latitude up to which the sun travereses during summer. Hence the sun shines heavily during summer and shines well to give warm temperature during winter. Due to heavy solar energy received the heat is imparted to the air hence it becomes less dense raises to move up, flow towards polar regions, but the Earth’s rotation, west to east makes it to flow North Eastern direc-tion. This wind was prevailing for time immemorial for many centuries. In fact this wind was flowing all over the world in this equatorial region. Tamil Nadu gets the wind from Bay of Bengal from North East all through the year. This wind was used by trades men using sail Boats to cross oceans to have trade in the past. This wind is known as “Trade wind” all through
these centuries. This wind brings in the cool sea breeze along with good amount of fresh, oxygen filled air to Tamil Nadu. Ancient temples built facing East so as to capture this wind. However in addition to this wind there are also local winds which
are blowing due to the topographical features of the area.
Let us take the example of Madras City and its winds. In the morning sun rises over the ocean and imparts the heat energy to the water which in turn vaporisies along with air rises up creating partial pressure. Due to this, the land breeze is drawn to occupy the partial vacuum. When the sun moves over the land, the buildings, black topped roads, rocks, sand earth gets heated up quickly, imparts the heat to air and allowing it to raise up creating low pressure inducing the sea breeze from the East. The sea breeze brings in considerable amount of water vapour along with wind giving relief to the citizens.
House construction for healthy living
The houses can be well ventilated, hygiene, cool bacterial free atmosphere by orienting properly to the sun and the wind. Using the above objectives in mind we can plan for a house construction with the following norms:
1. Orient the house for wind direction:
The length of the house should face normal to the wind direction and its breadth parallel to the wind direction. In addition the doors, windows and ventilators with sufficient face area should be placed normal to the wind. The doors and windows should be placed in line, for the wind to flow from the front to rear of the house. The level of window sill has to be at the same level of the cot level in bed room so that persons sleeping over the cot get good breeze through the window. The ventilators remove the excess heat through air movement even when windows and doors are kept closed. When heat is given to the air inside the house it becomes light tends to move up, when ceiling fans are used they tend to push down the air creating hot humid atmosphere inside the house. But when ventilators are used they allow for letting in fresh air and exhausting hot air through the rear end ventilators.
2.Allow just adequate sunlight, prevent too much from coming in by proper design of sun shades.
Allow just adequate sunlight inside house. This has the effect of avoiding the wetted corners which are capable of growing the bacterial colonies. Sunlight sterilises the house. Adequate sun light means rays received upto 10-00 a.m. inside a house may be sufficient. For this purpose an East facing house in Tamil Nadu
should have a sun shade having half meter long 1/3 metre drop on all sides in front of door and window ways. On the south it is necessary to have half meter long sun shades over windows and doors. The south west is the direction which brings in much amount of solar heat, in this direction as in East the sun shading is neces-sary. In the North, the sun shades as in South may be adequate. To avoid the water spray in rains it is a good practice to have sun shades covering half the height on window sides.
3.Insulate the roof to prevent the down flow of heat:
The heat to the house 60% comes from the roof. During the day, the sun light heats up the roof if an insulating layers is placed between the roof slab and weather proof course (like glass wool) or heat resistant bricks as weather proof course it may insulate the house. But this involves much money. In fact the economical solution is to place trees on East, South, South West directions and allowing creepers, plants to grow can help in capturing the solar Energy, constructively by the plants and keeping the house cool.
4.Length of the halls and rooms should not be longer than 5 times the breadth of the door way in direction parallel to wind direction. This norm helps in proper velocity of wind and clears all polluted air from inside the house.
5.The kitchen should be placed on the North East.In a East facing house the least sun light and copious wind comes from outside in North East corner. The women spend most of the time inside a house hence the most suitable cool, well ventilated corner is the North East for Ladies to live and work in kitchen comfortably.
In olden days people used to feel happy with a house facing south. In those days the thatched roof or country tiled roof was the normal construction. These materials used to prevent the maximum sun light from south from entering the house. They used to have south facing door and open raised verandah which was used as reception -cum-living space.
Many constructional materials like marble mosaic floors, thermocole false ceilings avoid the heat and keep the houses cool.