I am studying Hindu temples architecture, and I was wondering if the building place in respect to a river is something specific to the flowing direction of its waters.

The only answer I could find is Features in Temple architecture, which does not offer such detail.

For example, Belur Math Mandir entrance is facing East, with the river waters in front of it flowing right-to-left for one facing the temple.

So, it seems, the Temple should sit on that specific river bank.

Is that positioning something of importance, or just dictated by practical reasons?

Are such geo-location features of Hindu Temples specified in some sacred sciptures (rules in Sruti, Smriti?)


1 Answer 1


The land (with respect to the river) where the temple should be constructed is given in agama shastra.

The Kamika agama purva pada part one, chapter 11 discusses these aspects

The land is divided into four categories based on the flow of the river. The river in south east side is dhumruka, river in north west side is purnaka, the land where the river is flowing in the north/east is known as bhadraka. The land in which the river flows in other directions are called padmaka.

(verse 54) The land where the river flows in the east side or north side (bhadraka) is superior and is chosen as the site for temples.

  • Thank you, also for pointing out that edition. It is now very clear the position of the river in respect to the land. Could you offer more details about the flowing direction? Let us say there is a land with river to the North (bhadraka), but in one case the river flows West to East, in another case it flows East to West. Is the flowing direction important?
    – gsl
    Dec 5, 2020 at 6:51
  • 1
    Yes, the same chapter says water has to flow in the easterly direction or in the north direction. That would mean west to east is preferred. All major rivers such as Ganges, Cauvery, Brahmaputra, Vaigai follow in easterly direction. Only Narmada and Tapti flow from east to west. Indus is the only river that flows from north to south.
    Dec 5, 2020 at 10:47
  • Thanks, this is excellent.
    – gsl
    Dec 5, 2020 at 17:23

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