Saturday, June 03, 2006

GOD, U THERE?


I had imagined Haridwar and Rishikesh to be small towns with quaint ancient temples. On the contrary these are towns with booming economies. The temples far from ancient are colored in the brightest pinks and yellows. Sanyasi’s dressed in orange seem to be the majority followed by tourists, both from India and abroad. Spirituality is big business here. “Almost every house has a temple of its own”, they tell me.


Lakshman Jhula - Rishikesh

Ganga Aarti - Haridwar


Washing away sins in the Ganges?
There is no time for prayer and silent contemplation in the temples here. Many times you are whisked away, before you even get a good look at the idol. This is often the case in busy temples. In many others you are made to hear their familiar sales pitch asking for donations. And you’d think charity was optional. Apparently not! In fact, many times you are left wondering if you are in a temple or attending an auction…
I bet the Gods must have long fled these places in disgust…

8 comments:

Shyam said...

People don't realize that God is NOT necessarily in temples. He is within us. Till they understand this, they flock into temples (without bhakti) to cleanse their 'paap'.

Bakwaas said...

ok i see shyam giving the same dialouge, as in your last line...the only thing I enjoy at Haridwar is the evening arti fron the opposite bank or from a farther point..where the noise and ppl voice generally fade off..

Shall wait for your next posts. Haven't seen the snaps yet. Will see them now :)

burf said...

hey, where are u from?

Akira said...

@Shyam: Unfortunately that IS true

@Bakwaas: I agree....sometimes experiencing events partially...i.e. not w/ all 5 senses can lend beauty which you wouldn't have noticed otherwise.. :)

chuck said...

It seems as though Pilgrammage is just another name for the urge to travel and visit shrines...not necessarily a 'holy path'; but still, an opportunity for new experiences.

Mridula said...

Enjoyed your post and pictures.

Starship Enterprise said...

Your post reminded me of my trip to Haridwar many years ago as a child. Fortunately, then, I was more interested in the local kulfi rather than serious spirituality! But what you've said is the case with all major acclaimed temples in India...

Tripti said...

Welcome to the "commercialized religion" , same problem in Tirupathi or even in big temples in south India. God is in our hearts and we dont need to go anywhere .