AsiaIndiaKonarka

And Sometimes You Just Cry

Konarka Travel Blog

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The Sun Temple

I cried today.  It was bound to happen.  I’m in India after all.  I recall crying a few times while traveling solo through China in 2006 although I can’t remember exactly when or why. 

 

Today I hopped on a bus to Konark, a town roughly one hour away famous for its UNESCO site, the Sun Temple.  It’s a stunning, large stone temple dedicated to the sun goddess, Surya.  It’s also known for its erotic carvings that decorate the outer walls.  My guide gladly pointed out the depictions of lesbians, threesomes, standing 69s, and bestiality (WHAT?!?!).  I’ll admit, for my first encounter of historic, erotic art, I was entertained. 

 

After leaving the complex I decided to check out the nearby Nine Planets Shrine.

The Sun Temple
  It was a small, shabby looking building with several monks out front making simple lamps of 9 wicks in blobs of wax meant for blessings. 

 

I didn’t want pay the 50 rupees for a blessing, but I had one thrust on me anyways by the monk who followed me into the shrine despite my protests.  Then, when I went to make a small donation, another monk pressed me to donate more.  He SHAMED ME into donating more rupees!  Then the first monk demanded that I pay for my blessing! 

 

I left very angry about being corned like that and soon afterwards I decided to turn back to confront them for using such tactics. 

 

It wasn’t about the money.

The Sun Temple
  It was very little money to begin with.  But it’s never about the money.  It’s about the principle.  Usually, I would let these sorts of things slide cuz it’s just what you have to deal with everyday.  I figure there’s no need to argue over a few dollars. 

 

I was angry that they made me feel guilty when I had nothing to feel guilty about.  Visiting the shrine was free and I made my first donation voluntarily.  Even a local girl who saw what happened told me afterwards that I shouldn’t have had to pay anything. 

 

I told some of the monks still at the shrine that I didn’t like how two monks simultaneously pressured me for more money in the name of their religion.  I also reiterated that I clearly said several times that I didn’t want a lamp or a blessing but it was just thrust on me as I was standing there.

The Sun Temple
  I went as far as saying that it was stunts like this that made people from Canada NOT want to visit India.  I told the monk that I would leave my donation but that I wanted my 50 rupees back. 

 

A different monk then went into the shrine and came back with my 50 rupees.  He asked me if this is what I wanted and then gave me half of the cucumber he was about to eat.  I think he meant it as a peace offering.  I took both, said thank you and walked away.

 

I didn’t get very far when the overwhelming urge to cry forced me to sit down on a ledge next to a tree.  It just felt good to cry.  And I ate most of that cucumber.  It made me feel good too.  But I gave the rest of the cucumber to a cow that had wondered over to where I was sitting.  It was scavenging for food in the garbage that littered the ground.  I figured she must have been more miserable than I was at that moment.    

 

Yeah, sometimes there’s just cattle walking around.

jethanad says:
The good and the bad ... touched
Posted on: Jul 03, 2010
globalodyssey says:
there is probably something to be learned here....
it can be hard figuring out what that is sometimes
Posted on: May 30, 2009
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The Sun Temple
The Sun Temple
The Sun Temple
The Sun Temple
The Sun Temple
The Sun Temple
The Sun Temple
The Sun Temple
The Sun Temple
The Sun Temple
Konarka
photo by: debrasiegel