For me, temples spell tranquility and in terms of tranquility nothing like a Kerala temple; heres a view of one from our village. The Kerala temple is a marvel. It connects you to god instantly. The air inside is filled with the fragrance of sandalwood and oil lamps. A mild chant fills the air and the many lamps light up the dusk (which is the best time to visit them). The peal of the bell announces the arrival of the devotee to the grey stone deity often decked in gold or silver and surrounded by many a lamp. The priest can be seen in the sanctum sanctorum busy offering the god some prasadam or decorating the diety (alankaram). The multi angled mirrors behind the deity magnify the effect of the lamps in font. A small prayer said and the priest offers some sandalwood, tulsi in banana leaf pieces and the visit is complete. A few minutes are always spent in silence sitting at the outside of the temple.
The Kemp Fort Shiva "temple" in Bangalore is a perfect example of how a temple would be, if incorporated as part of an amusement park. Peppermints for prasad, make believe shops, make believe wish fulfilling ponds and what not. Not my idea of a temple.
The big reputed temples in India like Tirupati (lesser so) or others are too crowded or commercialised or both to afford the peace of mind that one seeks in a temple especially during any festive season.
The only ones that come close, IMHO, are the Birla temples that dot many cities in the country. White marble, green lawns, large airy surrondings, they are almost the complete antithesis of the Kerala temple. But they are tranquil and that to me is the best quality of a temple. On this tranquil note, let us welcome 2006.
Saturday, December 31, 2005
Posted by ecophilo at 4:36 PM