Haven’t realized that this is so? We all have visited temples, temples dedicated to a variety of gods all around the country. But this is something we may never ever have thought about.

The entry & exit signs referred to aren’t the ones that lead into the temple premises & out. We see that temple premises in our country have numerous separate platforms dedicated to different gods or even different idols of the same god. These plat-formed structures are accessible by steps & are separately built from other similar structures.

The entry & exit points referred to here are with respect to these plat-formed structures. Such structures are generally open from all sides with intricately carved pillars supporting them & have steps leading onto them from all four sides. There may be boards put up by authorities to guide people onto & down, but archaeologists say there aren’t any inscriptions on most ancient temples denoting the entry & exit.

Even though we have been speaking & writing in Sanskrit for centuries, it’s weird that no such inscriptions are found to guide people onto & down from these platforms. But the architects of our temples found an even better way to denote the entrance & exit points than simply writing on the walls or pillars –

This is from atop the platform. As is seen, at the bottom of all pillars we can see the tail of a monkey engraved into them. On all the pillars the tail is crooked or twisted, except for one. On that one pillar, the tail isn’t overlapping like it is on the other pillars. That is the exit sign.

This isn’t a coincidence as the same can be seen for the entrance as well. Similar pillars line the platform, but this time the shape carved on them is that of an elephant’s trunk. On all the pillars except one, the trunk is twisted & this is the point from where one should enter. On the other pillars, it is pointing up.

 This is an example of just one temple, but such entry & exit signs can be found in many ancient temples. The interesting part is the exit signs can only be seen from inside & the entrance ones only from the outside.

Today, we think that people who lived centuries ago were inferior to us intellectually. But that is certainly not true. In fact, today we have lost such perceptiveness. The significance of such signs could be –

  • They need no maintenance as they are carved into the pillars
  • They cannot be destroyed
  • In those days, many people were illiterate, & hence this was a way to facilitate them in understanding the correct entry & exit points

(Credit Phenomenal Travel Videos on Youtube)


Vinayak Jain

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