Nara Japan

Nara Japan

Nara Park (奈良公園 Nara Kōen) is a public park located in the city of Nara, Japan.. Established in 1880 it is one of the oldest parks in Japan.  Nara is known for the oldest, largest and most interesting temples and the 1,200 wild sika deer (シカ or 鹿 shika) that freely roam around in the park, protected and classified as natural treasures. The official size of the park is about 1,240 acres, the area including the grounds of Tōdai-ji, Kōfuku-ji, and Kasuga Shrine, which are either on the edge or surrounded by Nara Park, is as large as 1,600 acres.

It was during Nara’s time as the capital of Japan (710-794) that Buddhism was established as a state religion and began to spread to other parts of the country.

Nara’s temples include such world famous UNESCO World Heritage listed temples such as Kofukuji, Todaiji  Kasuga Shrine and Yakushiji which will be featured in this website.  Please click on the pictures for more information on the photos.

Kōfuku-ji has its origin as a temple that was established in 669 by Kagami-no-Ōkimi (鏡大君), the wife of Fujiwara no Kamatari, wishing for her husband’s recovery from illness. Its original site was in Yamashina, Yamashiro Province (present-day Kyoto). In 672, the temple was moved to Fujiwara-kyō, the first planned Japanese capital to copy the orthogonal grid pattern of Chang’an. In 710 the temple was dismantled for the second time and moved to its present location, on the east side of the newly constructed capital, Heijō-kyō, today’s Nara.

Tōdai-ji (東大寺, Eastern Great Temple)[1] is a Buddhist temple complex that was once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples, located in the city of Nara, Japan. Its Great Buddha Hall (大仏殿 Daibutsuden) houses the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha[2] Vairocana,[3] known in Japanese as Daibutsu (大仏). The temple also serves as the Japanese headquarters of the Kegon school of Buddhism.

Kasuga Grand Shrine (春日大社 Kasuga-taisha) is a Shinto shrine in the city of Nara, in Nara Prefecture, Japan.[1] Established in 768 CE and rebuilt several times over the centuries, it is the shrine of the Fujiwara family. The interior is famous for its many bronze lanterns, as well as the many stone lanterns that lead up the shrine

The path to Kasuga Shrine passes through Deer Park where the deer are able to roam freely and are believed to be sacred messengers of the Shinto gods that inhabit the shrine and surrounding mountainous terrain. Kasuga Shrine and the deer have been featured in several paintings and works of art of the Nambokucho Period.[2] Over three thousand stone lanterns line the way.

The original Yakushi-ji was built in Fujiwara-kyō, Japan’s capital in the Asuka period, commissioned by Emperor Tenmu in 680 to pray for recovery from illness for his consort, who succeeded him as Empress Jitō. This act of building temples in devotion to Buddhist figures was a common practice among Japanese nobility when Buddhism was first imported from China and Korea. Emperor Tenmu had died by the time Empress Jitō completed the complex around 698; and it was disassembled and moved to Nara eight years after the Imperial Court settled in what was then the new capital.

 

Temple of Karnak

Temple of Karnak in Egypt:

Karnak Temple in Egypt is located in Thebes which is now (Modern Luxor), and is actually a temple complex, formerly known as Ipet-isut (Most select of places) by the ancient Egyptians. A city of temples built over 2000 years and dedicated to the Theben triad. The great temple at the heart of Karnak is so big, St Peter’s, Milan and Notre Dame Cathedrals could be lost within its walls. The Hypostyle hall at 54,000 square feet with its 134 columns is still the largest room of any religious building in the world.

“In ancient Egypt, the power of the god Amun of Thebes gradually increased during the early New Kingdom, and after the short persecution led by Akhenaten, it rose to its apex. In the reign of Ramesses III, more than two thirds of the property owned by the temples belonged to Amun, evidenced by the stupendous buildings at Karnak Temple complex. Although badly ruined, no site in Egypt is more impressive than Karnak. It is the largest temple complex ever built by man, and represents the combined achievement of many generations of ancient builders. The Temple of Karnak is actually three main temples, smaller enclosed temples, and several outer temples located about three kilometers north of Luxor, Egypt situated on 100 ha (247 acres) of land. Karnak is actually the sites modern name. Its ancient name was Ipet-isut, meaning “The Most Select (or Sacred) of Places”.

The Temple of Karnak is a “vast complex built and enlarged over a thirteen hundred year period. The three main temples of Mut, Montu and Amun are enclosed by enormous brick walls. The Open Air Museum is located to the north of the first courtyard, across from the Sacred Lake. The main complex, The Temple of Amun, is situated in the center of the entire complex. The Temple of Monthu is to the north of the Temple of Amun, and next to it, on the inside of the enclosure wall is the Temple of Ptah, while the Temple of Mut is to the south. There is also the small Temple dedicated to Khonsu, and next to it, an even smaller Temple of Opet. Actually, there are a number of smaller temples and chapels spread about Karnak, such as the Temple of Osiris Hek-Djet (Heqadjet), which is actually inside the enclosure wall of the Temple of Amun.”

Read more: http://www.touregypt.net/karnak.htm#ixzz2UuEWOe6M

The Karnak Temple in Egypt was a highlight of our visit to Egypt. The carvings on the columns are quite well preserved in places, and some paint can be seen on rare occasions. The tall ornate columns standing in a row dwarf the visitors strolling by as they look up to admire the awesome sites.
In The Temple of Karnak one an easily visualize -“The carving of the one armed man who was the God of Fertility and the Eastern Desert, worshiped since pre-dynastic times. He was later associated with Amun as Amun-Min. He was shown as a human male with one arm and one leg and an erect, large penis. His right arm was raised, holding a flail. The flail is sometimes seen as a symbol of intercourse. The flail forms a V, while the upraised arm was thrust into the V.”
Read on about the scenes in The Temple of Karnak

“This area (Karnak Temple) is very significant because it reveals much of the history of this area through scenes that are displayed in the complex. There are battle scenes between pharaohs and enemies, and rulers were made a permanent part of history through these memorials. Many remarkable displays of the history of this time are still standing, such as the statue of Pinedjem I which is 10.5 meters tall. The sandstone that was used in the temple’s complex was brought from over 100 miles away on the Nile River. Another amazing feature of the Precinct of Amun-Re is the panora of a freize that displays very clear images of ancient characters that still stands today. In 323 AD, when Constantine the Great recognized the Christian religion, the complex was closed down, and Christian churches were built.”

Karnak Temple Complex