Temples etc.Some of India's holy (and other) sites

A thorny subject. Though not religious myself (unless you count atheism as a religion, which it essentially is, a belief in the non-existence of God), I have nonetheless always been interested in the religions of others. And respectful. Hence the thorniness, in balancing my curiosity with due deference to people's religious sensibilities. Oftentimes, it was an easy battle, as many of the most sacred sites of India are out of bounds to the non-believer. This is especially true of India's mosques (I visited none, compared to the many I went to in Iran). Some of the more interesting sites were accessible for being no longer active. Then there were the ones which pricked my conscience, active temples which allowed the likes of me to intrude. I was always cautious, and if anything, the caution tended to win out against my curiosity. So there could have been more insightful stories here, if I had been willing to be a little more insensitive; but I wasn't, so there aren't, and I'm glad of it.

There is no lack of articles here, partly due to my own fascination and curiosity, though all the same I have added 'etc.' to the title, that I might include some miscellaneous places which are only semi-religious in nature or even wholly secular.

  » Dawn at the ghats

  » The ghats: a microcosm of India

  » Evening worship

  » Lingaraj Mandir

  » Arjuna's Penance

  » The temple at Thanjavur

  » Sri Meenakshi Temple

  » Indragiri

  » Chandragiri

Read on...

Read the first article in the series, the dawn at the ghats of Varanasi.

I am up and out early, before dawn, staking my claim to a quiet spot on the ghats. A spectacle is in the offing, and I am there to see it. What spectacle? It could have been the day dawning, though wasn't, however splendid such a sight may be: the sun edging up over the jagged line of trees on the far bank of the Ganges, its soft cool light pearling the surface of the slow-flowing, deep green waters. What I have come to see, what scores of others have come to see, is the Hindu faithful, gathered where the water laps at the last steps of the ghats, taking their ritual daily baths in these sacred waters.

Available for purchase now

Sheldon's account of his overland travels around India, A River of Life, is available for purchase now. Buy the e-book from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk, or the paperback from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk (also available in other countries, search Amazon for more information).

The first instalment, A River of Life, Book 1: Travels in the North, is available separately (e-book format only) via Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com. The second instalment, A River of Life, Book 2: A Tour of the South, is available via Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.


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