A secluded temple with a falling facade and an abandoned courtyard that smells of dog-shit is any day better than one of those insanely crowded famous temples found all over India that smell more of stinking human beings than of anything remotely close to God. One such famous temple happens to be at Puri.
The last time I went to this small beachy town, I had totally avoided the Jagannath temple. Today, with parents (and especially with an insistent mother), avoiding this mad site in Puri was not possible. So yeah, we went there. We cut through chunks of religious minded flesh rolling everywhere inside the courtyard, and outside it, in dirty orange, dirty white, dirty red and other such dirty colours. A child panda (priest) started guiding us and under his holy guidance we reached a counter inside the temple courtyard that was full of annoyed middle aged clerks busy selling prasad. At this counter, we were shown a printed sheet, whose transparent laminated coating was semi-spoiled. The sheet displayed various kinds of prasaads, chadhaavaa and other such offerings. Each item had a different price tag. 200 bucks could get us the cheapest holy-shit while the costliest came for more than a lakh! Obviously we went for the cheapest.
As soon as we reached the dwaar of the main temple, the priest in charge announced that it had been closed for half an hour. They had this custom of giving the statue placed inside, some kind of hot bath and all that at a pre-fixed time everyday. We were unlucky that God wanted a bath exactly 0.1 milisecond after we had paid 200 bucks for some shit that He was supposed to like. The three of us didn’t have enough time to wait. Seriously – parents had a train back for home in the afternoon itself. So yeah, we left God to enjoy his bath – the shit that we had purchased wouldn’t have done him or anyone else any good anyway. We did curse that child labour who had been guiding us. The only reason we only cursed him and didn’t kill him and present his chopped flesh as an offring to the kali standing on one leg in another temple in the courtyard was that he was a child. We let that bastard go away and came out of the temple, carrying a 200 bucks ka dabba full of smelly eatables.
Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar is so much more quite and serene and peaceful! It also has a very similar architecture as compared to the complex in Puri. These temples are full of zillions of intricate carvings, worked out in such a detail that it would amaze anyone. After all, God is in details, isn’t He? I wonder then, where’s the sense to follow some ridiculous faith and custom and give more importance to a crowded famous temple than a less crowded and quieter one?