Soil

The soil should have pleasant odor as of flowers, of grains; of ghee, of cow urine etc. The soils with obnoxious odor as of excreta, dead bones, of corpse, of fermented liquor etc should be avoided.
The taste of the soil too should be acceptable. The taste of sweet is said to be best. The others in order are astringent (kashaya), bitter and pungent. The soils tasting sour, salty should be avoided.
As regards the sound tested by pounding the soil , the soils giving out sounds of musical instruments like drums (mridanga), neighing of horse, or like waves of the sea are considered best. The next in order is the soils that sound like birds, animals like sheep , goats etc.

 

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The temple construction process involves several steps. The procedure is cryptically expressed as "Karshanadi Pratisthantam", meaning beginning with "Karshana" and ending with "Pratistha". The details of the steps involved vary from one school of Agama to another; but broadly these are the steps in temple construction:
Bhu pariksha: Examining and choosing location and soil for temple and town. The land should be fertile and soil suitable.
Sila pariksha: Examining and choosing material for image
Karshana: Corn or some other crop is grown in the place first and is fed to cows. Then the location is fit for town/temple construction.
Vastu puja: Ritual to propitiate vastu devata.
Salyodhara: Undesired things like bones are dug out and removed.
Adyestaka: Laying down the first stone
Nirmana: Then foundation is laid and land is purified by sprinkling water. A pit is dug, water mixed with navaratnas, navadhanyas, navakhanijas is then put in and pit is filled. Then the temple is constructed.
Murdhestaka sthapana: Placing the top stone over the prakara, gopura etc. This again involves creating cavities filled with gems minerals seeds etc. and then the pinnacles are placed.
Garbhanyasa: A pot made of five metals (pancaloha kalasa sthapana) is installed at the place of main deity.
Sthapana: Then the main deity is installed.
Pratistha: The main deity is then charged with life/god-ness.

The temple construction project begins with the appointment of a team of experts headed by a qualified and an experienced Sthapati, the Acharya, the director for the temple construction project and the Shilpi (sculptor). They are the key figures in the construction of a temple. The first step is, of course, to look for a proper site. This involves examination of all aspects relating to the location, the extent, the quality of Soil, the water source, the environment and astrological suitability of the site. This elongated process goes by the name: Bhupariksha.


The Temple construction, in the past, often began as the nucleus of a new village or a township which went by names such as grama, kheta, kharvata, durga, pura, nagara etc. Mansara explains that the proposed site for setting up a township should be determined by its smell, taste, shape and direction, sound and touch. The preferred sites for such townships should be along the banks of a river or near a tank or the seashore. Else, the water table had to be at about eight feet (height of a person standing with raised arms). If the site was located along the river bank, the township had to be on the convex side of the river-bend. For instance, the ancient city of Madurai was located along the Vaigai; the holy city of Varanasi is situated along the convex side of the river Ganga and presents a semi-lunar phase.

The ground (Desha) is classified into three categories on the basis of sixteen criteria of physical features of the land (desha-bhumi). The three broad categories are: the Barren land where warm winds blow is Jangala; the second is Anupa, beautiful countryside with moderate climate and water sources; and the third Sadharana is of the average quality consisting vast stretches of unused land areas. The best land is Anupa, which abounds in lotus and lilies (supadma) and which inclines towards east or north.

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Soil

And, the soils that sound like donkey, drainage, broken pot etc are to,be avoided.
The soil should be pleasant to touch; warm in winter, cool in summer and one should generally evoke a happy feeling.
The sites which were earlier graveyards or the land bloated like the belly of sick animal, broken up with dead roots, bones, ash, or rotten material should be avoided.
There also other tests for determining the strength of the soil by digging test pits, filling them with water or driving pegs at various points are discussed in various texts.

 
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