Sunday, 5 February 2017

Varanasi the City of Death - Part 4 Temple Tours

3rd day at Varanasi and I woke up to a lazy start. I did manage to catch breakfast barely and thinking I was late and would miss the temple tour organized by the hostel apparently I was still in time 10 minutes late. I was the first one to sign up and soon Maria from Germany join as well. Temple tour and only the two of us.

Of all the tours in the hostel, sunrise tour, market tour, Ghat tour, Yoga, Food tour, and everything else that would spoil you for weeks and more I only joined one tour which was the Temple tour. In a way I did most of them myself but temple tour was one I wanted to join to get more history and story out of the guide. 100 rupee was not much but then again you could pick up any local tourist guide just walking around for that same price.

With only two of us it was good as well for I would not want to be wandering trying to listen in when there is another 20 people around. We visited the first temple … Durga temple.

My Hindu mythology history is not one of the best. Other than knowing there is one with three eyes and one with an elephant trunk and one that is praise for his dancing I was more or less clueless about the story. How does all the god and goddess fit together and what is the whole story about them. I guess I was a bit high on my expectation in thinking the guide would have the over picture of the story. It was like asking a greek person to tell the greek god and goddess the whole story from the beginning like a book.

Each temple and its gods has its own story but a short version of it, linked spareodicly but never as a whole big story. Like having excerpt of a big picture but no one really knows the whole puzzle.

My brief understanding was this

Durga was the mother of gods …. And she is associated with the colour red which means power. Is she the most powerful one of all of them …. No Shiva is … so Shiva is above her ??? no she is equal …. So who is she … no idea …

Then there is Shiva … the almighty with the third eye whom is married to Parvathi which is also known as Kali the goddess of anger.

Then there is Lakshami which is a goddess of wealth but also the wife to Ramsati but also a derivative of Durga …. 

Who is Ganesa then ??? The one with the elephant face ….

And the monkey god is called Hanuman …. Who is associated with the colour Orange.

Once upon a time there was a poison in this world and in order to save mankind Shiva drank the poison and turned blue hence the colour blue is associated with poison.

White is associated with Shanti which means peace …..
Durga Temple in Varanasi
I made no sense of the story telling during the temple tour like in a way no one Indian is able to tell the whole story of their religion. In a way I guess it’s the same for all religion for as many faithful as there are most people do not know the true story behind the bible or the Quran or the Sangha. Some know more than other but most do not know much beyond what told by ear. The one who knows best would be the scholar and dedicate his life to unveil the history and myth and tearing his head out when there is contradicting evidence.

After temple tour it was a lazy day for me. Only till after chai time when I felt hungry did I went out hunting for food. I was craving a Thali and the Kerala Café that I had been going to every day for lunch and dinner had all the good stuff except Thali.

Before I knew it I was back in the Ghat getting further and further away from the hostel. I ran into Leon a Singaporean staying at the hostel in the same room and he joined me for dinner. Dinner done I was too lazy to explore and we headed back to the hostel but though the Ghat in another alley exploring along the way.

I told Leon about the morning Puja ceremony which was supposed to be good and he aspire to try and wake up to catch it. 430 am in the morning.. to wake up in order to catch it by 5. I decided to sleep in that night as well only to wake up in the morning later looking at Leon pictures of the Puja. It looked amazing and then I decided the next day I would do it too.


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