In temple towns such as Horanadu and Sringeri, the temple has a virtual monopoly over accommodation for tourists. There have been a few private lodges springing up in both places of late, but indifferent quality means these are places of last resort for tourists. The temple accommodation, however, is well maintained and clean, and most importantly comes cheap. The undifferentiated twin bed room goes for about Rs. 100 per night in both places.
I wrote this in a mail to the Satin group. This was in response to a mail by Amit Varma talking about priests in Haridwar who conduct the pre-ashes-dunking ceremony, and their fees, and the bargaining, and what could be a decent solution for the problem. I thought it might make sense as a standalone post, so I’m reproducing it here.
During my recent pilgrimage, three of my four meals were at temples – two at the Horanadu temple and one at Sringeri. For the fourth meal, we took a conscious decision that a temple meal may not be suitable for an overnight bus journey on a bumpy road, so we ate at a restaurant.
I don’t understand why most temples ban photography inside the premises. I mean there are so many strong things that are there inside temples that are “capture-able” that it’s almost criminal that photography is banned. My mom says the ban is so that unscrupulous elements don’t take pictures and then distort them. If this is the reason, then I think it’s better to allow these unscrupulous elements to collect bad karma by distorting images. Anyways.
One signboard inside the Horanadu temple said (ok i’m translating here) – “parents are requested to ensure that their children don’t pee inside the temple”. Unfortunately, by the time I saw this notice, I’d already seen one other that said photography is banned inside the temple. However, I don’t think the temple had done a good job of putting up this signboard in all appropriate places. Before I’d seen one such signboard, I’d already shot a small video of the mangalarathi. It isn’t too clear but then I shot it in a “no video” area so …
Anyway the point of the photography ban has to do more with the Kalaseshwara temple in Kalasa (some 10 km from Horanadu). There, I noticed an unusual thing – a face had been painted on the lingam. I mean, I thought the purpose of the lingam was because Lord Shiva has to be worshipped in the phallic form. Now, when someone goes and draws a head on it, I don’t really know what to say.
The thing is this isn’t an isolated occurrence. I saw in Sringeri, too, in a couple of places, where a face had been painted on the lingam. I seriously don’t know what the painter was thinking. Or was it a conscious effort by the uber-moral Sringeri mutt to de-sex the lingam?
Now that this half-blasphemous title is out of the way, let me get straight to the point. Actually I think a bit of beating around the bush is warranted. When I read Tyler Cowen’s Discover Your Inner Economist, I wasn’t sure if i would be quoting part of this book on my blog. However, considering that I almost directly applied one of the ideas mentioned in the book, I think it deserves a mention.
I’m off on a pilgrimage tonight. My mom, for a long time wanted to visit Horanadu and Sringeri and for some reason she’s had to keep postponing it. Finally, taking advantage of my joblessness we are going tonight, along with two of my mom’s cousins.
We’ll be back on Saturday morning so till then my blog will be on? break (ok I haven’t been too regular of late so the break might not mean much). It’ll also mean that I’ll be off email and GTalk and BRacket and all that.
Nevertheless, I hope to be twittering continuously. I got my twitter to work (the helpdesk got back to me saying that the india short code is facing some problems nowadays so I should use the international thing). This is my twitter page: http://twitter.com/karthiks
And this is the RSS feed: http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/14645914.rss
Today, on the occasion of my father’s first year death ceremony, I discarded my janavaara (sacred thread)