"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

Posts tagged “Temple

Time At The Temple: Part 3

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Coming or going..

Picture taken in the temple at Belur, Karnataka.


Time At The Temple: Part 2

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Picture taken during this month’s visit to Belur Temple, Karnataka.


TIme At The Temple

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Priestly duties

Picture taken in Hampi, Karnataka


Within The Temple Walls

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On entering Trichy’s Jambukeswarar Temple, much of the frantic commerce quietens.

Despite the milling devotees

And in-house retail outlets,

It retains a sense of peaceful piety.

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The temple is a complex brew of dreams, devotion and domestic activities.

But still manages to breathe the air of religious worship.

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The Temple Approach

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From breakfast in Thanjavur to the grand and ancient temple of Trichy

The temple approach provides a thriving business enterprise zone.
All is for sale:

From kitchen utensils

To human hair, newly shorn from the faithful – an act of religious piety.

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Everyone appears to be involved

In either shopping,

Or fixing deals:

A heaving mass of bustling commerce which the children sit back and enjoy.

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Temple Tourists

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After a promenade in Pondicherry it was time to start the journey back towards India’s south-western coast.
Thanjavur was our overnight stop.

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A south Indian breakfast provides more than sufficient calories to fuel the rigours of temple tourism. But should hunger overwhelm the pilgrim, spiritual snacking is permitted.

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Temple Traders

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Finally we had arrived in Hampi,
The primary goal of our travels. 

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Hampi is a city long deserted.
All that remains are the ancient stone temples and palaces: some remarkably intact; others in various degrees of dilapidation.
But the vast site provides excellent opportunities for those wishing to make money,
From both tourists and pilgrims.

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Family businesses

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And children’s market stalls:

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Young men

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And old men:

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All ply their trades

In an exotic world where religious piety and financial profit seem reluctant to part.

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Temple Light

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Shafts of light pierced the massive walls of the two temples

Revealing colours in the stonework not apparent under the tropical sun’s glare.

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Thick temple walls kept the interiors cool and shaded.

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A Visit To The Hill-Top Temple

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From the wilds of Wayanad and the elephants of Tamil Nadu, we crossed into Karnataka. 

Our first stop was at the Himavad Gopalswamy Betta Temple.

Built almost 700 years ago at the summit of a quiet and lonely hill, it is often hidden by mist. But we had arrived in brilliant sunshine. 

Despite, or perhaps because of the presence of many devotees, there was a palpable sense of quiet and prayer.

Having received the blessing of the temple priest in the inner sanctum, we walked around the temple then made our way back down the steep and narrow track.

On this road, a pilgrim bus had jammed the rear corner of its chassis while taking a sharp hair-pin bend.
With minimal fuss, the passengers disembarked while the bus was re-manoeuvred into a drivable position, then quietly returned to their transport. There was neither shouting nor horn-tooting from drivers blocked by the stationary vehicle.
Something of a rarity in India.

Perhaps the calm and peace of the temple was more pervasive than I had realised…

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Taking The Waters

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While culture and traditions vary immensely, a sense of personal failure and having fallen short of the mark seems integral to us all.

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From Christian Baptism through to Jewish, Islāmic and Hindu purifications, the desire for some sort of redemption from our follies is often expressed by the symbolic act of washing.

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In India, beside almost every temple is a small reservoir or tank.

Often, before offering puja, the faithful will bathe in these waters.

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On Sunday we visited the Suchindram Temple, just across the state border in Tamil Nadu.

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Strolling around the temple tank,

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We watched the bathing and laundering,

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The houses and people,

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And made the most of the facilities.

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“Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.”

Psalm 51.7

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“Cleanliness is next to Godliness” *

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*The origin of “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”, a common proverb, dates as far back as ancient Hebrew writings and possibly longer.

‘While some attribute to the Bible, it’s actually not found there. The known English appearance of the proverb is from the writings of Sir Francis Bacon in 1605. In his ‘Advancement of Learning’ Bacon wrote, “Cleanness of body was ever deemed to proceed from a due reverence to God.” Roughly 200 years later, John Wesley used the words we are now familiar with, “Cleanliness is indeed next to Godliness” ‘

From:  reference.com