Home to 330 million Gods, Hinduism is an all-encompassing religion. Yet ‘Hinduism’ itself is an exonym bestowed upon India to provide an umbrella term its religion. In actuality, there are many branches and sub-dominations of Hinduism, each more vibrant and varied than the last.
Overall, it a knowledges the unique nature of human experience and the duality of interpreted truth. So in the quest for Moksha – or liberation – and self-actualisation,millions of deities exist to reflect their millions of devotees, who each must find their own truth.
Temples tend to embody the folklore, mysticism and concerns of the surrounding people. As a modern result, this has spurred the creation of temples dedicated to the likes of the Indian actress Khusboo in Tamil Nadu and the eponymous temple of the Bollywood Actor in Kolkata. From submerged Shiva temples to alcohol guzzling deities, we have accumulated India’s strangest temples to give you some conversation topics that will keep you occupiedthe next time you visit London’s best Indian brasseries.
Brahma Baba’s Temple, Uttar Pradesh
Starting small,this temple in Jaunpur seesa plethora of believers of varying faiths offer clocks and watches to God in return for prosperity and good wishes.
Dog Temple, Bangalore
Fans of man’s best friend listen in – for in Channapatna, dogs are worshipped alongside the village deity. Due to dogs’ inherent loveliness, loyalty and occasional formidability, they are the awesome protectors of village and sidekick to the gods.
KaalBhairav Temple, Madhya Pradesh
History has long known of Dionysus and Radegast, but have you heard of this alcohol loving fellow? In the city of Ujjain, it is said that the avatar of KalBhairav not only favours liquor as his Prasad but actually drinks it. He is not much of a fussy drinker, so desi, scotch or any old whiskey will soon be whisked down his throat.
Airplane Gurudwara, Punjab
Are you planning a trip soon? If so, you may want to head to this temple in Jalandhar, where you can offer a toy airplane in exchange for your trip abroad to be blessed and granted.
Karni Mata Temple, Rajasthan
This well-known temple is located in Deshnoke and is dedicated to the ascetic Karni Mata. It is better known however as the Temple of Rats as it is home to some 20,000.The rats are called kabbasand are deemed holy; so holy in fact, that eating their leftovers is considered lucky and if one dies, it must be replaced with a golden one.
Legend goes that when an army of 20,000 soldiers deserted battle, instead of slaying themKarni Mata granted them mercy and instead transformed them into rats. The temple then became the place they lived and years later, they are still the beloved house guests.
Shiva Temple, Varanasi
Varanasi is the colourful and chaotic spiritual heart of India. Growing out from the holy banks of the Ganges, you would expect the strange and unique from such an ancient and revered city. Such a temple comes from the submerged Shiva Temple that disappears and emerges with the changing of the tides.