Archaeologists in Peru have unearthed a previously undiscovered temple, believed to be about 4500 years old at the famous El Paraiso site, located not far from Lima, the capital city of Peru. 

An ancient Fire Temple in Lima, Peru, close to
the site of the Paracas Trident was discovered in January, 2013
The Fire Temple structure is similar to the
Vedic ‘Havan Kund’

On the western edge of the Paraiso Complex is a temple which is described thus, “A small stone structure which features walls coated in yellow clay and traces of red paint, is thought to be around 4,500 years old and has already been dubbed the Temple of Fire. It was discovered within the western wing of the main El Paraiso pyramid. The hearth located in the newly discovered structure was used to burn ceremonial offerings.” Marco Guillen, who led the team of researchers interpreted his findings and said, “The smoke allowed the priests to connect with the gods.” 

However, this explanation is a little too simplistic.The Fire Temple of the Paraiso complex in Peru bears a close resemblance to the Vedic ‘Havan Kunds’ that are a part of Hindu temple arenas. ‘Havan Kunds’ are fire pits that are used  for performing ‘havan‘ (sacred fire ritual) and making ceremonial offerings to the sacred fire in India. The Paraiso Fire Temple is a larger version of a ‘Havan Kund’, with seating space for the pundits (priests) chanting mantras.

Pyramid shaped Vedic ‘Havan Kund’ has been a part of the Indian
tradition since ancient times. Take a look at the fire worship and
listen to the accompanying chants here. 

The Vedic sacred fire ritual ‘havan‘ serves as a link between man’s consciousness and the cosmic consciousness.The ‘havan fire converts the physical components and all offerings made to the fire, into their ‘psychic’ components serving as homage to the deities presiding over the ‘havan’. 

In his book ‘Pyramid and Temple Vaastu’, author Dr. Bhojraj Dwivedi writes, “… when a pyramid shaped temple is inverted, it assumes the shape of a ‘havan kund‘…. when various articles, fortified by chanting of ‘mantras’ or Vedic hymns are consigned to the sacrificial fire, the atmosphere gets charged with the multiplied effects of the mantras which spread (pervade) even to the minutest objects.” 

Copper ‘Havan Kund’ shaped like an
inverted Step Pyramid

In fact, the ‘offering’ made into the fire is known as ‘homa’ (होम) in Sanskrit. It is probably from the Sanskrit ‘homa’ that the English word ‘homage’ is derived – though English etymological dictionaries trace the source to the word ‘homme’  meaning ‘man’.

All religions worship the higher force in the form of fire, Lighting candles or lamps is common to all religions. In the Vedic tradition, fire or ‘agni’ is the acceptor of all offerings. ‘Agni’ is the first word of the Rig Veda. 

The fire therefore is far more significant than a simple smoke signal. The spiritual vibrations emanating from the mantras that are chanted during a ‘havan‘ are very powerful and create positive energy around the person and other participants of ‘havan‘. 

As for the name ‘Paraiso’ itself, that too has a Sanskrit source. Dictionaries trace the source of the word ‘Paraiso’ to Latin ‘paradisus’, to Greek ‘paradeisos’ and finally to Avestan ‘pari daeza’, all  
meaning ‘walled enclosure’. However, the source is probably the Sanskrit ‘paridhi’ (परिधि) meaning ‘circumference’ or ‘walled enclosure’. In Sanskrit, the root word ‘pari’ (परि) has to do with ‘space’ – as in ‘paryeti’ (पर्येति) meaning ‘surround’, or ‘parivapati (परिवपति) meaning ‘scatter’ and so on.

Was the Paraiso Fire Temple an ancient Vedic Temple? Quite possible, for Peru has many temples that bear names of Sanskrit origin – one example is the KoriKancha. Some symbols such as the Paracas Trident of Lima are uncannily close to the Vedic symbols. The most prominent God is Vira-cocha. The ancient language of the Americas, called the Quechua, seems to have many similarities to Sanskrit! And so do the rivers and ancient place names of Peru. In fact, in Sanskrit, Peru (पेरु) means ‘Golden Mountain’ and ‘paru’ (परु) means ‘Paradise’. It was in ‘Paraiso’ Temple Complex that construction workers razed an ancient Pyramid to the ground.

Suggested Links:

1. Rig Vedic Chanting and Havan
2. Greater India
3. Hindu Temple – Paridhi Prakara
4. Ancient Vedic Temple

5. ‘Pyramid and Temple Vaastu’ by Dr. Bhojraj Dwivedi


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