Entrance Exit Signs in Temples Yali Sculpture

Those who enter Hindu temples are often perplexed as to where the way to the Sanctum is.

This is because of the vastness of temples, like Srirangam,tamil Nadu,

The temple complex is 156 acres (0.63 km2) in extent.

It has seven prakaras or enclosures. These enclosures are formed by thick and huge rampart walls which run round the sanctum. There are 21 towers!

Tiruvarur Thyagarja Temple complex covers 30 acres.

Once I got lost in Thiruvarur Temple and it took me bout 45 minutes to come out.

In Tiruchirapalli Fort temple of Ganesha, which also houses the temple of Lord Shiva Thayumanvar, often I get lost going round and round Thayumanvar Sannidhi, getting confused as to how to proceed towards the top.

In some temples directions are posted.

Even then it is confusing to find directions in  big temples.

The architects of South Indian style of Temples have solved this in a unique fashion .

They have sculpted  the directions to the Sanctum and way out, the Exit from there in the pillars of temples!

All the temples have stone pillars with exquisite carvings, some temples have 1000 Pillars Hall!

One can find the Sculptures of Yali, an animal in most of the pillars.

Though the West calls them s mythical creatures I do not subscribe to this view.

Makara,the Mount of Varuna, god of Water is also stated to be a Mythical creature.

This is also found in the temples.

This Mythical (?) creature was caught some time back in Vietnam and I have written on this with video.

Valmiki Ramayana describes Mammoths with four tusks and they have been validated by Archeo-biology. I have written on this as well.

Now to finding directions in the temples through sculptures of Yali.

Following is the Image of Yali Sculpture.

Yali Animal Sculpture in Temples
Yali Animal Sculpture. Tharasuaram

If you want to exit from the Sanctum, find the  Yali Sculpture.

Follow the direction of the Yali with a straight tail.

You shall Exit.

If you want to enter the sanctum, find a Yali among the numerous Yalis in the entrance of the temple, with a  twisted Trunk.

This shall led you to the Sanctum.

Scroll down for Video.

The Yali pillar marking the exit sign, is not twisted and does not make a ring
The Yali pillar marking the exit sign, is not twisted and does not make a ring. Straight Tail indicates Exit Sign.




Yali with curved Trunks. Entrance route to Sanctume
Yali with curved Trunks. Entrance route to Sanctum





‘Yali ([jaːɭi]; also known as Vyala or Vidala in Sanskrit) is a mythical creature seen in many Hindu temples, often sculpted onto the pillars. It may be portrayed as part lion, part elephant and part horse, and in similar shapes. Also, it has been sometimes described as a leogryph(part lion and part griffin), with some bird-like features.

Yali is a motif in Indian art and it has been widely used in south Indian sculpture.[]Descriptions of and references to yalis are very old, but they became prominent in south Indian sculpture in the 16th century. Yalis are believed to be more powerful than the lion/Tiger or the elephant’ ( Wiki).

Imge credit.


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