Friday, March 14, 2008

THE VELLORE DIARIES-March 7-9, 2008.

It was a trip that had been postponed nearly thrice because of work, so finally when I boarded the bus to go to Vellore I was elated. I got an Ultra-Deluxe bus that was going to Hosur. The seats were comfortable and the fare was Rs 80. The bus left Koyambedu bus terminus at 16:50 hours and went via Poonamallee, Sri Perumbudur, Wallajah, Arcot to finally reach Vellore at 19:20 hours.

I met Madhu at the bus stand, from there we took an auto to Madhu's friend's house, his name is Srini. A real nice chap, friendly and helpful. I stayed at his place for two nights.

March 8, 2008

I got up at around 6:45 in the morning, and took a bath in the icy cold water. Srini and I finished breakfast and took a bus to the old Vellore bus stand. Enroute Madhu too joined us. On reaching the bus stand, we took another bus to Sripuram. The bus reached Sripuram in about 30 minutes.

The Sripuram Golden Temple

The temple is run by the Shakti Amma Trust. More than two tons of gold, four tons of copper and the hard work of artisans and sculptors for six years at a huge cost enabled in the completion of this architectural marvel. Security measures are very strict and no cameras or mobile phones are allowed within the temple. One has to pass through a metal detector test, a body search and a scan before entering the temple.

We walked through a corridor, a long winding one set in manicured lawns with music being played on stereos, to reach the main sanctum which was set apart from the corridor by a moat. The presiding deity is Goddess Lakshmi Narayani.

Somehow it struck me odd that I did not experience any sense of divinity in the temple. The temple is well maintained and is managed in a professional manner. To get the darshan by going close to the idol one has to buy a special darshan ticket. A sense of familiarity or The Tirupathi Effect as I call it struck me when the temple staff asked us to move quickly.

As we walked out through another corridor we noticed many counters with the staff manning them soliciting donations for various welfare activities. Then we were surprised to find glass windowed shops selling stuff ranging from temple souvenirs to sarees and T-shirts.
Somehow all the gold and marble and the brilliant architecture left me disillusioned.

Is it possible to find divinity where so much wealth and extravagance exists? More than a temple the place looked like a huge film studio.

Whatever may be the answers to one's questions on faith and spirituality the place is definitely worth visiting.

(To be continued)

No comments:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.