Monday, March 11, 2013

A secret temple

A few weeks ago, I had hired a cab to take me home. It was late evening, nearly sunset.

And at one point, the driver pointed to a gate and told me, "Inside that gate is a temple. The temple is opened only on Mahashivaratri day. On other days, you cannot go inside."

I know the road very well. It is a road I see, almost each day. I even know the potholes very well. And the speedbreakers. Also the ones on which one does not need to slow down. That is how well I know the road.

Or so I thought...

And I driven on the road on holidays including Mahashivaratri and never seen any activity there. That gate was never opened.

"What sort of a temple is it?"
"It is a Shiva temple, Saar"
"And is it a very old temple?"
"Yes, it is a very old temple. It is located inside the army area so they dont allow people on regular days, but on Shivaratri day is open to the public."
"Is this very well known?"
"Only the locals know it saar"

The conversation got me intrigued. Cab drivers, are known to spin quite a yarn in general. And, many of them fall in the unverifiable category usually used to regale passengers. Most cab drivers, I have believed, could have an easy alternate career in fiction or scriptwriting.

But, somehow, I had it in my mind to verify this. It seemed simple enough for me to do so.

And thus it was that I landed there in the morning to see the temple on Shivaratri day. The gate was open - though there was a guard standing there. I asked him if there was a temple inside. He actually smiled and asked me to go inside.

The cab driver knew what he was talking about. I was excited about seeing the temple.

We drove along the road. It was an unpaved road. With old trees around. One could hear the birds. It was an island of quiet in the metropolis. Old, really old trees - preserved only because it was some sort of defence related premises. And after a short winding road, there was the temple.

Clearly, an old old temple, though some sort of  gopuram had been added to it in the recent past.

And yes, it was opened only on certain days to the public - and obviously only those who knew of it being open, turned up. That kept the temple, unspoilt...

What a find. Fact or fiction? What do you think?

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