Denise and Jamie in India travel blog

faces of india

signs of India

What Temple is that one?

Today was a long day of travel and temples. While Jamie stayed at our riverside hotel to enjoy some birding and the jungle like surroundings the group started out bright and early with a 2 hour drive to the first temple. Along the way we drove on the first 4 lane highway with curbs. Of course, the curb was the preferred place for goats to take a rest. We also passed a large factory where they make parts for windmills.

The temple was on an island called Srirangen, in a river. It was a large complex of 7 buildings all decorated with carved and painted statues honoring Shiva. Sanjay told of the history and legend behind many of the statues. We were unable to enter the final building as it is restricted to Hindus. There were many people Indian people visiting the temple. Some are on pilgrimage, some were families on outings. They talk, have picnics, and generally enjoy themselves. There is little formality, and it is believed that it is the vibration from the masses of people that are sacred, not the idols or buildings. In one spot there were metal rings covered with lock. The locks are placed there by people who buy or rent a new house as a way of asking for protection from God.

I bought a soda from a vendor outside the Temple. He asked where I was from and when I told him the US he wanted to talk about how much he likes Obama.

After that Temple we had lunch (where Jamie rejoined the group), then visited a museum to see more statues, and finally the Tanjore temple, one of the biggest. By this time I must admit I was ready to move on but Sanjay had more stories to tell. Finally, we stopped at a home workshop of a brass artisan to see how he makes his wares and I bought myself a small statue of Ganesh, the God of good luck and the removal of obstacles. Can’t hurt!

We returned to the hotel after an 11 hour day, glad for a shower and dinner. As I write I am watching a traditional Indian dance show at the hotel with some darling young girls dancing.

We’ll be heading to bed soon as tomorrow is another early day.

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