After learning about Sihuhata, the Thai deity who eats red-hot coals, excretes gold nuggets and grants wealth to his worshippers, I was eager to visit the temple on the mountain where the historical/mythological Sihuhata was first found.Continue reading
Bee hives, money trees and floating Buddhas at Wat Prah That Doi Khao Kwai
I’ve already written a post about our visit to Wat Phra That Doi Khao Kwai, the temple devoted to Sihuhata, the four-eared, five-eyed local deity who has fascinated me since I first encountered odd versions of him in a Chiang Rai park.
There are so many interesting statues, paintings and decorations at the Sihuhata temple, I really couldn’t fit them all into one post. So I’m posting more of them here.Continue reading
Building under construction: the Jain temple at Armakantak
They’re building a Jain temple on the higher land above the little town of Amarkantak. Saying “a temple” is really a little misleading – it’s a huge, impressive structure, with an even taller tower close by. And these buildings are just part of a larger planned complex.
Ahilyabai Holkar: the people’s ruler, the people’s goddess
Queen, warrior, social reformer and saint: I had never heard of Ahilyabai Holkar until we saw a statue of her in a park in Indore. I looked her up on Wikipedia then and there.
Glancing up from my phone to tell Alan what I’d learned, I saw a man standing before the statue of Ahilyabai, his hands folded in prayer. I watched as he prostrated, then sat in meditation at her feet. That’s when I understood Ahilyabai is much more than a historical figure, or even a heroine: She is a goddess.
Surprised by Indore
I didn’t expect much from Indore. The city doesn’t seem to get a lot of love from the Rough Guide authors, nor from reviewers on TripAdvisor. So I just thought of Indore as a large Indian city marred by traffic, noise and pollution.
Yes, Indore is large, and yes, there’s plenty of traffic, along with the attendant horn honking and bad air. But the streets of inner Indore are highly rewarding for anyone who loves to walk and look, a fascinating mix of colorful clothing and jewelry shops, small vegetable markets, temples and mosques, and traditional buildings in varying states of decay.Continue reading
Kasar Devi Mandir: the peak of Almora
Kasar Devi Mandir is one of the most popular temples to visit in the Almora area, and indeed in Uttarakhand. We’re lucky that we have been living just three kilometers from the temple for the past few weeks. But even before we moved to Papershali, we walked the seven kilometers of uphill road from Almora to Kasar Devi a few times, drawn by the beauty of its setting and the peaceful shakti of the place.
A hidden valley, a sky temple and a natural lingam-yoni
Over the years I’ve seen many examples of Indian religious symbols that occur in nature – things like the coco-de-mer, or rocks that resemble a Shiva lingam arranged in a temple and anointed with vermilion, just like formal sculptures of gods.
But up to now, I’d only seen these things in photographs, or displayed in a temple or museum. So it was special to discover for ourselves, a few days ago, a symbol of Shiva-Shakti in a mountain stream.
Nanda Devi Mandir: a refuge in busy Almora
Alan discovered Nanda Devi Mandir (“mandir” means “temple” in Hindi) during his first week in Almora, before I came to join him in India. We returned to this temple time and time again while staying in Almora, and now that we are living in a nearby village, we visit Nanda Devi whenever we’re in town for shopping or errands.
The temple of 100,000 bells (at least): Chitai Golu Devta, Almora
The Bell Temple – properly known as the Chitai Golu Devta Temple – is just a short walk from our guesthouse, and it’s a wonderful place to visit: full of tradition, incense and of course, the ringing of bells. (I wear earplugs.) Continue reading
Chandika Mandir in Bageshwar: a short urban hike
After arriving in Bageshwar yesterday afternoon from Almora, we were tempted to climb up to Chandika Mandir, a beautiful temple sitting atop one of the peaks that mark Bageshwar’s location at the confluence of the Saryu and Gomti rivers.
But after nearly four hours on a bus, with a speaker directly over our heads belting out Hindi film music, we really needed a nap. So we walked around Bageshwar for an hour or so, ate lunch, and had our rest, planning to make our Chandika Mandir visit the next morning.