Friday, September 24, 2010

The temple that South Beach Barbie built. Mangal Dham.

The next stop on our Kalimpong tour itinerary was a Hindu temple - Mangal Dham.

To reach the temple, we had to drive to the chaotic streets of town. Ugh.











We then turned off onto a really bumpy side road that looked like we were heading into someone's backyard but lo and behold, when I saw a group of pink covered domes, I quickly realized we were arriving into the temple.

We got down from the cars, walked a short distance to the entrance, took off our shoes, walked up the stairs and entered into a cavernous room - the temple's prayer hall.  It looked and felt like a ball room.....carpeting and all.

No offense to any of my Indian Hindu friends but this is the temple that South Beach Barbie built. It's a pink wonder. Everything is pink with slight touches of green. Whoever designed the room definitely had a fondness for those two colors.

Pink and green decor aside, Mangal Dham was built in 1993 by the Hindu sect Shri Krishna Pranami, in memory of the late Guru Sri 108 Mangaldasji and is one of the few Hindu temples dedicated to the Hindu god, Krishna.

The left and right sides of the prayer hall was lined with dioramas that displayed life sized statues of Indian deities, people and animals. I'm sure there was some sort of religious significance to each display but there were signs to explain anything so I have no idea what they were all about. In one of the display cases, the statues were reminiscent of Mary and Joseph with the baby Jesus except that Jesus was blue and standing before all of them was a 4 armed King? Queen? Goddess? So sad that I know pretty much nothing about Hinduism except for the names of some of the more popular deities like Shiva and Vishnu. I would not make a good Hindu. *sigh*



At the front end of the room was what looked like an altar flanked on both sides by statues of, and I'm really guessing here, gurus. Along the walls were statues of women holding, again I'm guessing here, offerings to the gurus. You can look at the pictures and draw your own conclusions. For some reason, the photos are a bit blurry.....have no idea why since the light inside the temple was fine for picture taking.


Aside from the sculptures, there was not much to see in the room so I headed out. Adjacent to the main hall is what appeared to be an outdoor stage. The backdrop was a huge wall sculpture with more deities and women.

Without understanding the religious meaning or significance behind what I saw at the temple, I have to say that I found it all to be a bit odd. Oh well. Time to do more reading on Hinduism.