universally in the Hindu tradition; that worlds periodically come into being,
remain for a time and then dissolve into non-manifestation. The world,
according to Mimamsa, has always existed and is without beginning or end.
During Vedic times there were no temples or images. Most rites were
conducted in open air or in temporary structures, and were of a sacrificial
nature, until post-Upanishadic times when temples were erected.
     Their design was influenced by the Buddhist chaitya halls and rock-cut
sanctuaries dating from the 3rd century BC, a style which continued to
dominate architectural forms for over a thousand years.
     Today no free standing pre-Gupta Hindu temples remain, for they were
built of perishable materials and have long since disappeared.
     The main temple building activity took place from the 7th century
                          HINDU COSMOLOGY
  According to Hindu cosmology, a beginningless series of worlds pass
  through cycles within cycles forever. One ‘day of Brahma’ consists of
  4,320 million earthly years and is called a kalpa, his ‘night’ is of equal
  length; his ‘year’ contains 360 such days and nights; and his lifetime is
  100 divine years, that is 311,040,000 milIion years.
  At the end of this vast period the universe dissolves into non-
  manifestation, until aeons later another ‘secondary” creator-god appears
  and a ‘new’ world unfolds. During his ‘day’ Brahma creates the universe
  from eternally existing matter and finally absorbs it, where it remains
  latent during the ‘night’ of Brahma, after which the process starts again.
  Each kalpa is divided into 14 secondary cycles (manvantaras), each
  lasting millions of years and with vast intervals between the cycles.
  During these periods another world comes into being and a new Manu
  appears as the progenitor of the human race. At present we are in the
  seventh manvantara whose Manu is Vaivasvata.
  Each manvantara comprises 71 aeons called mahayugas; each mahayuga