Tuesday, 10 February 2009

So We Meet Again Doctor Jones

Today we went down to Sirangapatam.

In the 16th Century this little island had become the capital of the Mysore rajas. The place is famously associated with the Sultan Tipu who tried to stop the expansion of Britain in India. In 1799 Sultan Tipu failed to stop the Empire and the future Duke of Wellington brought the end of his seventeen year old reign by taking the fort and razing it to the ground.

And good job he did...there is very little left of it.

However, still standing, there is the Sriranganathaswamy temple. It's a great temple to visit. Not thousands of people around pushing you and touching the cows, but a much more intimate temple. Intimate, but still stunning...

Somehow the temple reminded me of Crete. A forest of columns. But in this one the columns are of different shapes. Sadly you're not allowed to take pics once you are inside. As you walk into the innermost sanctum the faithful are praying to the gods. I was drifting away, probably caught by my own imagination, it was all very Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom after all...

Without realizing it I find I'm waiting to be blessed by Vishnu. Charles had, wisely, moved away. So I had to put my hands on the flame, touch my head, and then be given some sacred water by a priest. I tried my best not to offend anyone by following the movements that everyone was doing...

If the island and most of its sites were a disappointment, then the temple was truly magnificent. Just so different to anything I had ever seen in my life though it reminded me of Angor Wat in Cambodia, except that here is still in use.

I wasn't expecting much from today, but I was pleasantly surprised. If you're ever around this part of India come and see this site, I think you'll really enjoy it.

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