So we stuck our necks out today to take some sound and video that hints at the inner drama of the Hindu temples. Hopefully Shani doesn’t dispense karma as a result. More below.
The afternoon I arrived in Srikalahasti, after checking in to the hotel and showering, I walked around the town to familiarize myself for the following day. No white people in this part of the country, so I wasn’t surprised when this young professional looking guy introduces himself. Srinadh, a 2nd year MBA student, son of a historian. He offers to show me around the next day, just for the western company. Excellent. Thanks Shani, so far
Srikalahasti is a small town, pop. 88,000, and houses the most famous Shiva temple in South India. The wiki. Picture borrowed from the web
I palm my small Hero 5 camera and descend the narrow steps, pocketing it before reaching the bottom. I hope that’s an acceptable compromise with the no cameras rule
Then, in a huge dark hall with ancient columns, sculptures and corridors. We waited for a reveal of Shiva, presented to us as a narrow, tall, lingam in a small candlelit room with water being poured over it. It was as strong a sight as I’ve seen in India, and nearly impossible to describe. This video was to capture the music, which was almost painfully loud
This is Hanuman and the origin of the sindoor and saffron colours you see everywhere. Hanuman won favour with Rama and symbolizes devotion, faith and bravery. There’s a long story about this, but the net is that Rama was pleased when Hanuman applied sindoor all over his body, to try and promote Rama’s long life. You can touch the colour here, it’s a mix of the dye and maybe oil, and apply a dab to your forehead. Only men are allowed to do this, traditionally, source
They’re annointing their young son with water that’s drained off the lingam
Impressions when I know more.