Saturday, December 31, 2005

On Temples

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.


Anonymous said...

Yes ,the serenity, the fragrance of burning oil lamps, the chanting, the temple bells and the sandalwood; it used to create a very special ambience that made the visit to the Ganapathiyan temple a very enchanting experience. A visit inside the temple would be usually followd by a visit (pradashinam) to the pipal tree (aal maram, which is regarded as sacred) near by and a descent down the steps to the temple pond to wet the feet.

AkaRound Peg said...

Check out the temple behind Kalasi Palyam bus stand. Its called the Jala Kanteshwar Temple. Its located at the end of a bylane and is a marvellous place, clean and quiet amidst the hustle bustle,ideal for meditating or sitting quietly just by yourself.

Look at roof, you will see a tortoise, a snake and fish etched and these are supposed to be places that are energy points and spending time here is supposed to remove energy blocks.