Religion seems to love to create records of its own kind. At Bhairavsthan near Tansen in Nepal, you can expect to see the largest Trident (used by Hindu God Shiva) in Asia. If this is true, it could well be the largest in the world as it is unlikely any bigger exist beyond Asia. You reach the temple after a 232 step climb from the highway.
My visit to the site started with highly entertaining and touching Gandharva song sung by an old man, Til Bahadur Gandharva, outside the temple; music came from the Sarangi he was playing. He said there is only a certain class of people who play this music. In earlier times it was a means to narrate events but now restricted more to devotional songs. The art is dying as the younger generation is not keen to carry on the tradition. He made the Sarangi himself 6-7 years ago; he makes these for others also on order. I wish had asked if he would have sold the antiquated looking piece he was playing – I am sure he would have agreed.
Walking up to the temple I noticed a lot of shops selling ‘Roth’, the sweet offering to the Gods made of rice, sugar and ghee (full cream cooking oil). A portion sells for Rs. 20. At the same time, many shops were selling whisky and beer openly in what would be regarded a holy spot. Alcohol is usually considered a bad thing in these parts. But not so here. It is purchased as a part of the offerings during special festivals like Baisakhi and Dusshera. And also consumed by devotees after a visit to the temple; guess it is a case of being allowed to ‘sin’ after washing the earlier ones away in the temple. A family was also visiting to sacrifice a goat to please the Gods.
Within the temple, there was a group making Roth. And one of them was totally stoned out; he said he was smoking ‘Ganja’ which he claimed is the best anyone can find. Nothing seems taboo in this temple.
See more images on Facebook even if you are not a member. These images were taken on Day 7 of The Great Himalayan Drive I am undertaking from Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh starting January 29, 2010.