Hindu temples, like people, come in myriad shapes and sizes. We’ve seen several in the last few days so when our driver, Mr. Lal, asked if we’d like to visit another one this afternoon following our arrival in Jaipur, I asked him what was special about the temple.
“Nothing special, Sir,” he replied. “Only God.”
Only God, indeed. Despite the brilliance of his response, I still took a pass on his offer, having been rather disappointed by this morning’s visit to India’s one and only Brahma temple, located in the small desert town of Pushkar, below.
Photographs are not permitted inside the temple, which is just as well. Although it’s colourful with bright blue pillars and a vermillion roof, the place is dirty and besiged by monkeys who make a terrible racket as they clatter across the surrounding corrogated tin roofs. I felt very aggitated and couldn’t wait to get out of the place.
My reaction surprised me, particularly in light of the previous day’s stop at the Sas Bahu temple complex (top pic and below) outside Udaipur. The 1,000-year old shrines weren’t even on our official intinerary, Mr. Lal simply made a little detour to an impossibly peaceful valley surrounded by mountains and dressed up with lush palm trees. There was just a handful of people exploring the site, which added to the feeling of tranquility.
Some of the stone carvings are showing their age having been eroded by weather and/or thoughtless visitors. But the small temples on a raised stone platform have a magnificent grandeur about them, you just know when you stand there that these buildings are really, really old.
Inside they’re small and dark, with just a couple of stone lattice windows, quite unlike the airy, lightness at Ranakpur.
My travel buddy and I left feeling awestruck, like we’d wriggled through a small crack in time where everything slowed down and glowed.
Just when I think I’m figuring India out, she throws me another curve.
By the way, I’m sorry to have diverged so completely from the stated subject of this blog. Thank you for indulging my little travelogue; I promise to get back to blogging about “real Canadians decorating” just as soon as I’m back in Toronto.