Arrived in Bangalore just in time for Durga Puja, the annual Hindu festival that celebrates the Hindu godess Durga. My friend Schonali organized for a taxi to take me to the Iskcon Temple in Bangalore: A Hare Krishna Temple perched on top of a hill.
I had a wonderful time at this temple, taking in the celebrations of Durga Puja. I prayed over a bowl of flowers, had my hands cleansed by holly water and sat cross legged on the floor with thousands of others. Glittering statues of gold shimmered and the voices of followers repeated mantras which echoed around the room. After the ceremony we descended into the basement where there were hundreds of individual stands selling books, toys, jewellery, clothes and of course, food. Seriously, Ikea could learn from the Hare Krishnas. It is impossible to get out of this temple before emptying your wallet. I purchased a saffron milk and mango drink which was warm and somewhat worrying, but otherwise delicious. I was given a book and several pamphlets. There was a book called “Teachings of Queen Kunti” which I was constantly dissuaded from buying in favour of more practical introductory scriptures. I didn’t know how to tell them that I wanted it purely for the title which in my culture was outrageous! In the end I left it behind, enjoyed some more sweets on sale and bid the temple adieu.
Iskcon from the street.
Display at Iskcon ilustrating the different life stages of man.
I was offered one free book by the devotees at the temple. I repeatedly chose this book. Each time I was told I wouldn’t like it and was finally given some boring introductory guide and sent on my way. I must learn what Queen Kunti teaches! Or perhaps I’ll just settle for quotes from RuPaul’s Drag Race.