Some Orientation & Topography


The ancient masters of Vastu or Vedic Architecture highlighted importance of proper orientation. Orientation of a layout, site or building (residence or business) influences the dwellers in terms of living, education, physical and mental health, family relationships, finances and general welfare. The classical textbooks of Vastu identify different plans for varied applications. One of them known as Peeta mandala consists of nine modules and identifies the primary elements water, fire, space and air in the four corners and earth in the center.

It is said that the magnetic field runs north-south through the globe and the Sun gives life to the electromagnetic field in the east-west orientation. The ancients considered geographical orientation, primarily based on the movement of the Sun. Electric current flows through the Earth’s molten core. When it rotates, a magnetic field is produced that extends into space. The earth’s magnetic center is generally inclined at about 110 from its axis of rotation. This means that magnetic north is 110 from the geographical north. Hence, when the compass orientation indicates a maximum tilt of 110, the orientation can be taken to be in order. This tilt in magnetic orientation can be north or south depending whether it is the northern progress of the Sun from Capricorn to Cancer (Uttarayana) or southern progress of the Sun from Cancer to Capricorn (Dakshinayana).

Distinguished teachers of Sthapatya Veda tell us that proper orientation can help in preventing possible chaos, conflict, and failure. While creating a residential (house or apartment) layout, proper orientation of buildings and pathways to the cardinal directions helps in cross-ventilation and creates order and balance that is so indispensable for contentment and happiness. Once the properly oriented site or buildings are identified, the appropriate placement of doorways and windows in certain directions can add up to the general welfare and happiness. Orientation can also be in relation to sitting and sleeping arrangements.

Temple Orientation

The need for the creative and beneficial solar energies of the morning appears to be the basis for many of the temples to be oriented to the east. The ancient masters felt that proper orientation interfaced the powerful and subtle energies of humans, animals and buildings (pindanda) with the extensive energies coming from millions of universes (brahmanda).

However, some temples are not oriented to the east. One of Lord Siva’s manifestations, Lord Dakshinamurthi, is invariably oriented to the South. Ancients accorded special reverence to Lord as the ultimate Guru or Teacher. He is said to be the embodiment of knowledge and destroyer of ignorance. He is said to be the teacher of the sages and gods. Lord Dakshinamurthi, symbolizing a teacher par excellence is shown in the temples in meditation with a snake (and a rosary) in one hand and fire in the other, signifying divine knowledge and enlightenment, respectively.

Temples were also oriented based on their proximity to mountains, lakes and roads. It is not uncommon to find a few temples of Siva, Vishnu and the mother goddess facing south, north and west, with lakes and mountains nearby.

Building Orientation

Orientation to the north and east are traditionally acceptable. However, ancient treatises do not prohibit orientation to the south or west. Orientation of a site or building was also based on the surrounding topography and local weather conditions. Astrological compatibility to certain directions are also integrated while selecting a specific site or building. Possible effects of the various dual orientations are indicated below.

  • In the case of a dining room, class room, lecture hall or an auditorium (cultural or entertainment), an east-west orientation can be the first preference and north-south can be the second option, such that the youngsters face north or east and the elder members the south or west. In a classroom the students can face north or east and the teaching faculty can face south or west. Students who need to learn and assimilate all that is taught by the masters face east, the direction of sunrise and teachers who need to set their knowledge into the creative minds of the students face west, the direction of sunset. As for the teachers facing south, it is related to Lord Dakshinamurthi, the greatest of the teachers.

  • In the case of an entertainment auditorium, the performing artistes can orient to the south or west and the audience can face north or east.

  • In the case of a marriage hall, the audience faces north or east. On the stage the couple and their parents can face east, if the audiences face north. They can face north, if the audiences face east. Consequently the priests and their assistants face south or west.

  • In the case of a lecture auditorium, the speaker can face south or west and the audiences face north or east. If the speaker on the dais faces south, various display related equipments (ohp, lcd or black board) can be to the northwest and the speaker’s microphone to the northeast. When the speaker faces west, the display can be to the southeast and the speaker’s mike to the northeast.

  • Sleep is necessary in keeping good health and one’s body and soul together. Students and unmarried young men and women who are still in the process of building up their careers can sleep with their heads to the east. It is considered that a current of electricity passing from one part of the body to the other part subdues all inflammation in that part of the body. The earth’s body is continuously magnetized by thermal energy produced by the sun. When the eastern part of the earth is heated, its western part remains cold. Consequently, the thermal energy generated by the sun travels over the surface of the earth from east to west.

  • Celebrated sage Markandeya tells us that man becomes learned when he sleeps with his head to the east. It appears that the thermal energy helps in creating a comfortable environment when one sleeps with the head placed in the east. When the head is placed in the west, the flow of this energy creates possible disturbance to sleep resulting in some distress and confused thinking.

  • Sage Markendaya also tells us that man acquires strength and longevity by sleeping with his head to the south. When the current of thermal electricity passes from the east to the west, the earth becomes magnetized and its geographical North Pole, which is to the right hand side of the direction of current, becomes the magnetic north pole and its geographical South Pole being on the left-hand side of the same current, becomes the magnetic South Pole. It has been proved by experiments that the human body is capable of being magnetized and that it contains a large percentage of iron in the blood that circulates all through the body. As the feet are always in constant touch of the huge magnet (the earth), which exhibits the properties of north polarity, south polarity is induced in our feet and consequently north polarity is induced in the head. The body enjoys good health because of the natural polarity being unaltered. On the other hand when the head is placed to the north, the natural polarity gets altered and possibly affects the health.

Let me re-iterate that the ancients have approved of orientation to all the four cardinal directions - north, east, south and west. A proper orientation guarantees the qualitative life. Orientations to the angular directions are not recommended. Classical works identify certain orientations to certain attributes. Orientation to the southeast generally points to constant fear, southwest to quarrels and frictions, northwest to indiscrimination and northeast to disturbances to progeny.

Elevations and Depressions

The ancients masters have also identified the elevations and depressions of a site as of great importance in the happiness or otherwise of the residents of a building. Uniformly level ground is approved and contributes to general happiness. Sites that are not levelled and have natural elevations and depressions such that the areas elevated to the south and west and slope down to the north and east respectively will assure natural rain water and underground water to flow in the clockwise direction throughout the year. Elevations and depressions can be artificially created too by constructing rock gardens in the south and the west and water areas – underground tanks, pools, etc – in the north and east. The cumulative effect of directional orientation and elevation/depression are summarized below.

  • Southeast elevation and northwest depressions are positive

  • Northwest elevation and southeast depressions are not desirable

  • Southwest elevations and northeast depressions indicate financial stability and mature thinking.

  • Elevations in the northeast and depressions in the southwest generally indicate ill health and loss of money.

  • West elevation and east depression indicate prosperity

  • East elevation and west depression point to loss of wealth

  • South elevation and north depression point to gain of wealth.

  • North elevation and south depression indicates loss of wealth and ill health.

  • North and northwest elevations and South and Southeast depressions indicate disease and ill-health.

  • West and northwest elevations and east and southeast depressions indicate constant quarrels and enmity.

  • Northeast and east elevations and southwest and west depressions point to constant differences among the family members.

  • Northeast and north elevations and southwest and south depressions indicate disharmony of the family.

  • Similar indications are shown when southeast is depressed and southwest, northwest and northeast are elevated.

  • Northeast, southeast and west elevated and southwest depressed points to loss of grain.

  • Southwest and northeast elevated and northwest and east depressed indicate unhappiness.

  • Northeast, north and east elevated and the rest depressed indicate loss of money and questionable morality.

Orientation and topography within and around any area are important aspects of Vastu . Towns and villages were planned such that the orientation of the streets and sites were to the cardinal directions and never to the angular or vidisha directions. Ancient masters formulated principles of Vastu based on observations, experience, intuition and wisdom.

Many of the arrived conclusions and the corresponding recommendations made by them are meant to be not only spiritually and materially beneficial to the individual but also to integrate the wellness of the individual with the well-being of the society. The great men and women of learning saw the domino effect that integrates the individual, family, society and the humanity-at-large. Vastu provides many simple but effective guidelines, so that the human effort is always oriented and directed towards the goal of making the world a better place for each and every individual.


More by :  Niranjan Babu Bangalore

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Views: 3649      Comments: 1

Comment IamThirumurthy vashtu consultant at Coimbatore Tamil Nadu & civil engineering contractor thanks superb. Iam interested in the vashtu feild to know more about vashtu which is not known to me 919894709829

07-Nov-2019 06:54 AM

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