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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What Kind of Hindu Are You?

Your traveler arrived at Bhubaneswar, the sleepy capital of Orissa in the east. With Konark and Puri it forms the Golden Triangle of Orissa..

Bhubaneswar once boasted of over seven hundred temples, and still has a few temples of worth but serves more as a conduit to Puri and Konark.
At Konark he visited the thirteenth century Sun Temple in the shape of a huge chariot with seven horses and twelve wheels pulling sun god Surya across heavens. Time has taken its toll, but still it's magnificence shines. Each stone wheel is intricately carved and about ten feet in diameter. Beware of the guides who try to push porn. They are a vulgar nuisance.
Next stop the famous twelfth century Jaggennath Temple at Puri. The traveler walked up the narrow lanes and arrived at one of the gates to the temple known as the lion gate. A little way inside he is welcomed by a prohit (priest) --a temple pujari in saffron.
'Aaiyay, aaiyay maharaj, swagatam, swagatam! bhagwan kay darshan kernay aa'aye haiN?' yahaN apna naam pata likhyay aur hastaakchur ker deejiyay'
And a pen and register is thrust in front of him. The traveler smiles recalling the earlier confrontation at Ajmer. He smiles some more. This time more pleas are hurled at him, and then finally;
'Bhagwan kay naam pay bheee dakshina nahiN daiga, tu kaisa hindoo hay?'
'Aap say achcha, the traveler says and moves away. Some things do not change: no wonder the bearded one considered this sort of religion an opiate.
There are set prices here too for some services::

Gopal ballabha bhog (early morning bhog) - Rs. One Thousand
Sakal dhupa bhog (morning bhog) - Rs. Five Thousand
Madhyanha dhupa bhog (midday bhog) - Rs. Twenty Thousand
Sandhya dhupa bhog (evening bhog) - Rs. Ten Thousand
Badasinghar dhupa bhog (night bhog) - Rs. Three Thousand
Combined Five Raj-bhogs of the day - Rs. Thirty Thousand
Leaving the huge temple complex he comes out on the grand road, reminding him of a widened mall road with structures on either side slowly being replaced by eight-ten story buildings with shops and restaurants in the lower levels The rest of the front along the wide road was encroached by kiosks and street vendors that add colour and vibrancy to any bazaar scene.
He looked up and saw a sign for a terrace restaurant. He went up and took a table by the grand road. There were no other customers at that time in the restaurant: from this height he could take in the temple entrance, the temples in the distance and the hub of the bazaar below. He recorded the activities on his vidcam.
Down the centuries this widened grand road is the path they follow once a year when the three murtis are taken to the other temple on chariots pulled by devotees.
This annual coming out party with all the attendant acrobats, dhols ( drums) and chants and mantras by devotees in colourful garb gave birth to a new word in English. juggernaut

Is the irony apparent? The leaders of major religions are juggernauting their followers unabashedly.

Note: the traveler was being facetious when he informed the purohit and the gaddi-nashin that he was a better Muslim/Hindu. He is struggling and barely succeeding to be a better insaan


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