In this Fun Link Friday, Rurôsha takes us on a visual tour of Shinryō-ji, the elephant temple.
No, this isn’t in India–this temple is in Tokyo and is one of Shinagawa Ward’s Tangible Cultural Properties!
Shinryō-ji (真了寺)…was built in 1673 as a sub-temple of neighbouring Tenmyōkoku-ji (天妙国寺), which in turn was linked to Suwa Taisha (諏訪大明神), one of the oldest and mostly highly revered shrines in Japan. (Never mind the blending of Buddhism and Shinto; it’s common practice in Japan.)
The unusual gate is very Indian/Hindu. The elephant with the tusks (on the right in the photo below) represents Brahmā, the Hindu god of creation; and the elephant on the left is a symbol of Queen Mayadevi, the mother of Buddha Shakyamuni (or, as he might be better known, Siddhārtha Guatama).