Sunday, January 18, 2009

A temple has to be a temple

After a long enough stay to warrant the title of an insider in bangalore, one thing(among many) missing was a visit to the famous ISKCON temple. Situated, comfortably in the old locales of bengaluru, it was a whole task getting there from the outer reaches of the city. A pre-paid auto ride that claimed much more than the normal avaricious auto driver was a surprise.

ISKCON temple was gleaming with gold literally. A markedly different construction from the usual south Indian temple styles was noticeable. They followed a nice crowd management tactic where the people waiting in the queue needed to proceed along a path laid with tiles each projected form the floor which could contain only two feet at a time. And the norm was to stay in that square for a whole "(Hare Rama)(3)Hare Hare. (Hare Krishna)(3)Hare Hare" that was being played. There were people who were devotedly following this while others really wanted the crowd to move quickly.

The idols of gods and goddesses in gold showed richness. This was in the main hall that housed the shrines of Radhe-Krishna. The exit route from there till the gate was painstaking. All of them had to mandatorily go through series and multiple floors of books, photos, photo frames, jewellery. Get this over with and you see another section with an absolutely wide array of sweets and savories - jamuns, rasmalai,rasgulla and what not. And on the top of it all, the actual FREE prasadham was being served after all this. In between all this there were bursts of pop-corn, ice cream, fizzy drink stalls.

A theatre multiplex inside a temple? did seem that way. People licking away snacks after visiting the deity doesn't constitute a good spiritual experience. The beauty of Indian temples lies in the divine presence that you feel inside the huge walls once you are under the gopuram. Sadly, it could not be experienced in here for reasons mentioned above.

Leave temples and devotees alone. Business and temple sanctum need not be mixed. They don't jell. That was the feeling as I came out.