''A temple is the most natural peacemaking ground where people of different backgrounds, castes, creeds, opinions and likings can smile together through the love of god.''
The main purpose to construct a temple was to install an idol of the deity in it and to worship him. The temple is not only architecture but it is also a religious institution. In course of time the temple did not remain only as a prayer hall or a religious institution, but it functioned also as social, economic and educational life of the villages and towns. The inscriptional source throw light on many-sided activities of temples. Temple was a centre of all civic and social life.
Gujarat is a state of temples. This book is dedicated to the study of temples of Gujarat constructed during various phases, viz., Temples of Pre-Calukyan times, Temples of the Calukyan period, Temples built at the end of the Calukyan period. It covers description of all temples that came into existence during these times. The book makes special reference to Sculpture, Iconography and architectural aspect of temples.
Dr. Priabala Shah, a Professor of Archaeology, History and Culture is one of Gujarat's best known researchers in ancient Indian culture. She has Ph.D. in Sanskrit from the Bombay University and a D.Litt. from the Sorbonne University (Paris). She has also taken the diploma of Musicology from Ecole, due Louvre (Paris). Her research works include the critical editions of many old
Being a student of Ancient Indian Culture, I got very much interested in the study of Fine Arts of Ancient India, as well as the literary material pertaining to them. The search for such literary material led me to the study of the Puranas, which, as is well known, contain chapters on various arts. When I made a preliminary survey of the Puranas, I found that material was too vast to be treated in a thesis. So I selected Visnudharmottara for the purpose, because comparatively speaking, it contained the most exhaustive treatment of various arts and crafts practised in Ancient India.
When I was in Rajkot (Saurastra), I had an opportunity to see and study the temples in different parts of Saurastra. I was impressed very much with the architecture of ancient temples. So I wrote a book on ''Patthar Bole Chhe'', (The stone speaks), in Gujarati describing nearly 33 temples of Saurastra and Kaccha. Then I thought that it is good to complete the study of the temples of Gujarat with special references to sculpture and Iconography (up to 1600 A.D.). To write on the temples of Gujarat, to see personally these temples was a huge task; which was not possible without the sound help of good institution, I applied to the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi, for a fellowship. I got a favorable reply. This reply poured some enthusiasm in me and I commenced the work which was a good dream for me.
The main work was done by Burgess and Cousens in their archaeological reports regarding the architectural monuments of Gujarat. The works on the Antiquities of Kathiawad and Kaccha by Burgess and the Architectural Antiquities of Northern Gujarat by Burgess and Cousens and also Somanatha and other mediaeval temples in Kathiawad by Cousens. All these works were published during 1876 to 1931. These works were guidelines for me. After that in 1941 Dr. Sankalia in his Archaeology of Gujarat (including Kathiawad) tried to study the entire archaeological material, pre-historic as well as historic, of Gujarat and Kathiawad, specially with a view to correlating the monuments of both these regions with their epigraphs from the early historical times to the end of the 14th century. Dr. Sompura in 1968 had touched this subject with a critical study of a large group of those monuments confining its scope to structural temples of Gujarat.
Being a student of Indian Culture I was much interested in the subjects like Sculpture, Iconography and Architecture of the temples. These are the main topics in Visnudharmottara Purana, which was edited for my Ph.D. thesis. Hence, this topic for my self-satisfaction.
It is a pleasant duty to express gratitude to teachers and friends who discussed with me various topics and aspects of the subject and gave me the benefit of their valuable criticism.
I cannot end this preface before expressing my sense of gratitude to Kanubhai Joshi of Parimal Publications, Delhi whose keen interest in this work has made possible the prompt publication of this work.