Welcome to an exclusive interview with Bopparaju Surendranath, the visionary author behind the awe-inspiring masterpiece, “Templexity.” Embark on an enchanting voyage through time as we delve into the captivating world of medieval temples that echo with the whispers of history and spirituality. Bopparaju Surendranath’s life’s work has led him to explore the intricate tapestry of temple architecture, revealing the profound convergence of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism in India and Southeast Asia. “Templexity” isn’t just a book; it’s a journey that immerses you in the vivid imagery and the exquisite craftsmanship that has shaped cultures, beliefs, and aesthetics. Join us as we unravel the story behind this literary treasure and gain insights into the profound dimensions of art, heritage, and spirituality it encapsulates.

1. The convergence of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism is a central theme in “Templexity.” Could you share a particularly impactful moment during your research where you felt the resonance of these shared values in a temple’s architecture or symbolism?

Answer: The karmic philosophy that the body reincarnates and is subject to the virtuous deeds of the past, can be seen in the epical scenes chosen in the entire iconography. Epics are the common denominator among the three faiths. In particular, the first sermon of Buddha in the famous deer park at Sarnath is exemplary for its message. Buddha said, “Life is a suffering, every suffering has a cause, every such cause can be identified, and every such identified cause can be mitigated.”

2. Your book emphasizes the urgent need for preserving heritage sites. What personal experiences or encounters drove home the importance of this message for you, and what actions do you believe individuals and societies can take to ensure the safeguarding of these treasures?

Answer: Visitors are allowed to touch many of the temple sculptures as a privilege must stop. Secondly, where there is no provision for protection from vagaries of nature such as eaves, may be provided for.

3. “Templexity” includes over 1,300 stunning images from a vast collection of photographs. How did you go about selecting the most impactful images to convey the essence of each temple? Were there any images that didn’t make it into the book that you found especially difficult to omit?

Answer: There are seven art thematics that form the crux of Templexity. 1. Epics, epical scenes, epical characters, moral stories, 2. Entertainment (Dance and music). 3. Women in sculpture 4. Personal adornment, 5. Erotica 6. Medieval daily life, 7. Nature. The criterion was art thematics. Based on the number of themes present in the temple, on a pro-rata basis image allocation was done. Yes, there were very many images that I would have loved to include. But the book would have turned bulky.

4. The visionary leaders, architects, and patrons behind these magnificent temples play a significant role in your book. Could you elaborate on the qualities that set them apart and allowed them to create such enduring architectural marvels?


  1. Their daring ability to think big, on projects that outlived their personal lives.
  2. Motivating a very large workforce sometimes going beyond 50,000 in some cases
  3. Their ability to bring together wide sections, every stratum, of societies.
  4. Ensuring the use of every available skill, and knowledge to be showcased in the temple.
  5. To continuously be engaged in envisioning new features and creating new toolkits to be able to realize them. And many more.

5. Temple architecture is a delicate blend of art and engineering. What challenges did you face while trying to communicate the intricate details and design elements in your writing, and how did you overcome them to ensure your readers could fully appreciate the craftsmanship?

Answer: The challenge was what aspects of engineering should I consider so that completeness of the narrative could be achieved. So broke down the problem into four parts. Dimensioning, Precision, Techniques, Tools.

6. “Templexity” seems like a labour of love that requires years of dedicated research and exploration. Could you share a particularly unexpected or serendipitous discovery you made during your journey that significantly enriched your understanding of temple art and history?

Answer: Yes. The study of Buddhist art revealed a deep sense of Buddhist philosophy including the life and times of Lord Buddha, the jatakas (previous lives of Buddha), and how Greeks influenced the Indian medieval art. Overall, the realization that temples presented us with the best the societies had to offer whether in skills, knowledge, priorities or wisdom.

7. The title “Templexity” is intriguing and suggests a fusion of complexity and temples. Could you delve into the concept behind the title and how you believe it encapsulates the essence of your work?

Answer: When I first began the journey, I visited Konark temple and on the first day, I went through the temple and studied all the engineering aspects, such as the type of stone used, the quantum of stone used, distance to the quarry, type of techniques used, and so on. As an engineer myself, I keep getting these questions in mind. Measure whatever you can measure was the thought. And, when I started studying the art factor in temples, I realized that the temple was presenting us with many more complexities than just faith. Also, I realized that there are many more dimensions to a temple than just faith, such as artistic skills, engineering skills, planning, human resource management, skill development, tool development, training, science, societal priorities, education, documentation, logistics management, stone mining, and treatment. So, I wanted to bring together the two words, temple, and complexity and here you go. Temple+Complexity = Templexity

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As we conclude this illuminating conversation, we are reminded that “Templexity” isn’t merely a book—it’s a testament to the passion, dedication, and profound insights of Bopparaju Surendranath. Through his lens, we’ve witnessed the rich interplay of faiths, the marvel of architectural brilliance, and the urgent call to preserve our heritage for generations to come. “Templexity” isn’t just a celebration of the past; it’s a guide that enlightens our present and safeguards our future. Whether you’re an art aficionado, a history enthusiast, a wanderer seeking spiritual connections, or simply a curious soul, the pages of “Templexity” offer a profound journey into a world where art and devotion coalesce. So, prepare to be transported to an era of grandeur, where every stone whispers stories of our vibrant and interconnected past.


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