In many south Indian temples, especially in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, the temple's external walls are painted in white & red stripes. Why is it done so?

For example:

South Indian Temple wall

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    May be that's just a fashion there.. I don't think there is any story behind that...
    – Mr. Alien
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 17:05
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    There might be some reason or at least some historical event behind that style. It seems to have become a part of South Indian culture. Here is a South Indian style temple in Germany which also has it's walls painted red & white: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hamm_Sri_Kamadchi_Ampal-Tempel.jpg Will see if anyone knows the reason :)
    – Bharat
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 17:16
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    @RBK not every south indian temple have white and red stripes. Search for temples in karnatka and kerala
    – Eka
    Commented Jul 13, 2014 at 7:06
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    I have seen it in Andhra temples too. I agree I haven't seen it in Kerela or Karnataka. But my questions makes it clear. I've mentioned 'especially in Tamil Nadu' and Tamil Nadu is South India. I can't help if people choose to nitpick my question for 'errors'.
    – Bharat
    Commented Jul 13, 2014 at 14:09
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    Red represent fire and white is purity. You burn your desire (vasanas) and gain purity. The sole's final abode is to merge with the supreme which we call God, whatever the religion may be.
    – user898
    Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 22:27

1 Answer 1


Sri Kandadai Ramanujacharya says:

They are painted likewise nowadays so that temples can be identified from a long distance & also to differentiate them from ordinary houses or buildings. But according to shastras, temples should be painted with seven colours. (Saptha-varna-aashrithah.)

Lord likes color of Turmeric Powder (Yellow) most as Lord is Peetambarasali (who likes to be clad with Yellow garments). Lord also likes Kumkum color. So, Paramatma likes Yellow, Kumkuma color, White and Red in decreasing order. White represents Sattva Guna, Red represents Rajo Guna and Black represents Tamo Guna.

To show these Gunas figuratively, most of temples are painted with White and Red as a person should have more Sattva and little Rajas and if possible no Tamas or very minute amount of Tamas.

The video is part of Dharma Sandhehalu program which is telecast on Telugu Devotional channel Bhakti TV.

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