Jyotir Lingum Yatra

A travel log for my journey to 10 Jyotir Lingums throughout south and central India, November-December 2002 with my yoga group, Dhyanyoga Centers.

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Thursday, February 06, 2003
The True Jyotir Lingum

O.K. So all this business about "will the real Jyotir Lingum please stand up" does confuse me. At Somanath, for instance, the original lingum was lost to Mughal invaders, as I understand it. The new large temple was built in the 1960s. Someone with the resources was divinely inspired to rebuild the temple, leading me to believe that Jyotir Lingums are as much about location as they are about the actual object of worship.

The large seemingly main temple was one of those places where security was so tight that I could not take my camera inside the gates, which was frustrating.

However, very near the big temple was a small temple (see in the following pictures) where a lingum that we could actually do puja to lived. In stark contrast to the security guards, metal detectors, and distant pujaris, this temple was run by a team of charismatic young temple priests who were extremely helpful, seemed to enjoy having us visit, and had lovely chanting voices! No one minded me taking pictures at all, so I got excited and ran through severals rolls of film here with nice results.

This was a rather small temple, with most of the action taking place in a lower level chamber (to the right in this picture). I was shooting with a 24mm wide angle lens, which accounts for the distortion in some of these pictures.

I really love this picture, where the architectural details of this modest, but at the same time exquisite, structure come together.

This image is another winner to me, and I am my own worst critic. It was one of my alternative choices to enter into the Everyman Photo contest.

Pulling back away from the columns, and shooting with my wide angle lens, gives some additional visual clues about how the temple was situated.

Image the lotus-dome as the central point of the temple, and walk around the grounds with me in your mind.

I am not brave enough to climb that ladder!

If you draw your attention to the lower left-hand portion of this picture you can see the stairs going down to the sanctuary part of the temple.

These nice young pujaris chanted the Rudrum, a long hymn to Lord Shiva, for us.

The guy in the back, standing and holding a book, was especially helpful to me personally while I was doing my part of the puja downstairs. He seemed impressed that I sort of knew what I was doing, and guided me along so I could keep up with the process.

I really did find all of these young men appealing (but the one toward the middle obviously did not love having his picture taken).

Right in the middle of this picture, off in the distance, you can see the large Somanath temple that I mentioned above.

Orange flags are flown to designate a Hindu place of worship.

I took quite a few black-n-white pictures of the large temple, so I should be able to show you those in the future.