At Kamakhya Debutter temple, a cat keeps an eye on two rock doves sheltering in a nook by a sculpture. Look in the bottom right for the birds.
The temple itself is imposing. I didn’t go in. The fast track entry (Rs. 100) was almost as long as the general (free) entry queue to enter the vestibule and visit with the Goddess Who Bleeds* was estimated at an hour and a half and I didn’t feel like paying Rs. 500 for super fast entry. I did see a monkey attack devotees and help himself to their food offerings though, as well as some atavistic goddesses in surrounding chambers. And this curious cat, ready to spring.
This is a shrine in Anegundi, Karnataka (across the Tungabhadra river from Hampi) where long-suffering parents who were worried about their still single (stubborn) kids came to ask the goddess for help. If you donated a statue in the image of your child and placed it just so, apparently they’d get hitched pronto. And the four of us single women took in this view and digested the tale and laughed.
Sometimes I really do think it’s a dog’s life. And then I see the strays shivering in the cold or dripping in the monsoon rain and feel bad for them. I guess Bombay is still kinder to them than other, less temperate parts of our country. This critter lives in the shadow of one of the largest temples in Bombay. But he has it made in the shade. Every time I see him, he’s found a new spot to beat the heat. We’ve never talked, but I suspect he’s a happy little fellow, based on his profoundly mellow expression. I know, first a flirty Batman, now anthropomorphism taken to a fresh height. It’s pathetic 😉
I live right by one of the largest temples in Mumbai. But I can imagine that it’s not exactly convenient on a work day to get in a queue and await your turn for a tryst with the deity. So why not get your blessing and your karma equation balanced on the go? Well, now you can! The concept is simple: you pay for some hay to the man who owns both the cow and the feed -> you accrue good karma in your spiritual kitty! The enterprising owner of this particular mobile salavation army has parked his sacred cow outside a busy bank next to a major bus stop! (Extra bonus: since the cow is not a stray, you don’t have to worry about the Rs. 500 fine that the municipality has decided to slap on anyone feeding animals *rolls eyes*). The cow is doing great, btw, even in the rain. And I think I’m going to have to interview the cow-man soon…
The building I work in (Videocon Tower)Â is the biggest eyesore in Jhandewalan. (I shan’t say anything about the giant Hanuman mandir here.) It’s visible from nearly everywhere; we just steer towards it when we’re driving to work. It’s also visible from a station away on the Metro. I took this photo on Saturday evening from the Metro stop. As I blithely stepped away editing it on my phone, I heard someone calling “Medem! Medem!” Yep, I was being pursued by a security guard who forbade me from taking photos in or of the station and demanded to see all my photos. So I happily started walking him through the photos of roadside temples, doggies fighting, and he let me keep my VT photo. 😉
In Jhandewalan where I work, there is a giant Hanuman temple. Hanumanji stands about 6 stories tall and he carries Ram and Sita in his heart. Literally. He also seems to be standing on a demon he has killed and the entrance to the shrine is through the open jaw of the slain villain. (Truly.)
Someday soon I will make a video of Hanumanji, who is a bright, glaring shade of pink, in order to show you how, when you press a button — voila! his arms part from their namaskar and the golden pair of Ram and Sita come out of his heart! (Think “Celestial Cuckoo Clock” to get the right image in your mind’s eye.)
Anyway, the back side of Hanuman (with scaffolding) is visible from the Jhandewalan Metro statio. I took this photo at dusk from the inbound platform as my train pulled in. (March 15, 2007)
Near Kirti’s house in Mumbai is a temple (
I didn’t check to which god to Hanuman) that is called Shri Ghanteshwar (or the Lord of Bells’-God). It is festooned with more bells than you can imagine. When you go pray for something, you tie a ghanti, or bell, and it will come true, I presume. I didn’t have my real camera on me, only my cell phone. Forgive the grainy quality. I’ll update it another time with a better shot. But know that each bump and swirl on the pillars and such is a bell (not ivy 😉 ). (March 9, 2007)
This is a view of the very festive Mata Ka Mandir in Jhandewalan taken from a window at work on the 8th floor of Videocon Tower (an extreme eyesore of a building) in which we work. Reflected in the glass are (from left to right) me, Rani, Rajat, and Ragini