Suggestions for active temples near super-touristy areas

#1 May 25th, 2015, 03:21
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  • discoross is offline
#1
Hi all,
Some people I know are headed to India and want to visit a bustling active temple site. I'm envisioning something like Madurai for them, but I don't know of anything like that that is close to one of the cities they're already visiting. They're doing one of those custom package tour-type itineraries, but I'm hoping to suggest for them a good active temple site to visit along the way.

They'll be in Mumbai, potentially Ellora, the golden triangle, varanasi, and the game parks around Bandhavgarh. This is an older couple who aren't into trains, so this location would need to have an airport or be within reasonable driving distance to where they'll be.

Any suggestions are welcome!
#2 May 25th, 2015, 03:49
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#2
Quote:
Originally Posted by discoross View Post Hi all,
Some people I know are headed to India and want to visit a bustling active temple site. I'm envisioning something like Madurai for them, but I don't know of anything like that that is close to one of the cities they're already visiting. They're doing one of those custom package tour-type itineraries, but I'm hoping to suggest for them a good active temple site to visit along the way.

They'll be in Mumbai, potentially Ellora, the golden triangle, varanasi, and the game parks around Bandhavgarh. This is an older couple who aren't into trains, so this location would need to have an airport or be within reasonable driving distance to where they'll be.

Any suggestions are welcome!
It is my impression that one can't walk twenty paces in India without tripping over "a bustling active temple." Varanasi alone will make their heads swim. There are something on the order of 330,000,000 Hindu gods, and the degree of religious commitment among adherents is amazing to most jaded Western eyes.

Just warn your friends that they'll have to remove shoes and often socks in most temples.
Walt Whitman - Song of Myself

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
#3 May 25th, 2015, 04:05
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#3
Thanks for the tips. I think I'm hoping to send them to an active temple *complex* like madurai. I've seen a few of the temples in varanasi but unless I totally missed the centralized ones (totally possible given my wanderings about that maze), I only saw a bunch of small shrine-like sites for daily puja. Was there a bigger temple area?

(During the most recent mahashivrati, I didn't actually follow all the people in lines wrapping around the blocks into the temples, so my memory of varanasi temples is based on a visit several years ago)
#4 May 25th, 2015, 04:28
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#4
By active temples do you mean temples devotees frequently visit, or do you mean large and religiously significant temples having pomp, colour, and some historical importance?

If it's the former, then as hfot says you will find them everywhere. Even tree trunks on roads and crossings are turned into sorts of temples.

However if you're looking for something along the lines of the latter then you could suggest Siddhi Vinayak in Mumbai. Madurai is of course an option. In Varanasi, the main temple is the Kashi Vishwanath Shiv Temple, followed by the Sankat Mochan Temple. There are thousands of others. But keep in mind that the priests in Varanasi don't usually allow foreigners to enter these places.

In Delhi the Hanuman Temple on Baba Kharak Singh Marg is a good option; the Bangla Sahib (Delhi's largest Sikh temple) is also down the road.
#5 May 25th, 2015, 04:43
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#5
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Originally Posted by BholeBaba View Post large and religiously significant temples having pomp, colour, and hopefully some historical importance? .
That's it. Perfect, thanks
#6 May 25th, 2015, 05:14
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#6
There are more busy temples with a range of historical and/or architectural significance in most major cities, than there are bars in Upper East Side of Noo Yok In Delhi, Jaipur there are many. For an untrained eye, one is as good as another. The don't have to worry. Post their tentative itinerary.
#7 May 25th, 2015, 09:02
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#7
The busiest temples are during festivals. When are they going? Some of my favourite temple visits were during a mela when a usually deserted village swells with pilgrims.

Just off the triangle, I suggest Nathdwara, north of Udaipur. Shrinathji Temple is beautiful and always bustling. There won't be an abundance of western visitors and the local residents are warm and welcoming.
#8 May 25th, 2015, 10:54
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#8
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Originally Posted by BholeBaba View Post large and religiously significant temples having pomp, colour, and some historical importance?
Tirupati Balaji.

60,000 visitors per day and the deity itself dons a 1000 kilos of gold. Darshans to be booked online here: http://www.tirumala.org/ The stars of Mumbai filmdom, cricketdom and business still make it a point to visit Tirupati. It's the original*!

(*Copies as far afield as Bridgewater, NJ)

Logistically, if they're in Mumbai area - Shirdi Saibaba will make better sense. Near Ellora, Grishneshwar is a living temple. In Jaipur, they can visit Govind Devji or Moti Dungri Ganeshji. These last two are uniquely Jaipur style - one can view the deity without entering the temple. This was done to facilitate busy traders (in the eighteenth century), who could not be bothered to take off their shoes as they'd typically be in a hurry to open their shops.
#9 May 25th, 2015, 12:27
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#9
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Originally Posted by hfot2 View Post There are something on the order of 330,000,000 Hindu gods,
That was at the time of independence, today there are about 1.3 billion.
If you find my posts confrontationist, please bear, I am an old frustrated guy who has nothing better to do than sit on rocking chair and curse the world whole day
#10 May 25th, 2015, 12:56
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#10
Mahalaxmi temple and Mumbadevi temple in Mumbai. Trimbakeshwar in Nasik if the couple plan to go to Shirdi Sai Baba. There are quite a few in Nasik also around Panchvati.
#11 May 25th, 2015, 13:44
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#11
IMHO, unless a foreign tourist has a specific and keen interest in partaking in the full and crazy experience of huge temple darshans where thousands throng at a time, there is no point recommending Shirdi Sai Baba (a few hours from Pune) or Tirupati (where people are known to have stood in lines for upto 24 hours).

IMHO, the vast majority of first time visitors would want a flavour of the goings on at such places, not really a total immersion in all the madness. Tirupati is for hardcore bhakts! I go there next month- 5th visit!
#12 May 25th, 2015, 18:55
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#12
Grishneshwar.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grishneshwar

not super flash but significant .. just a short walk from Ellora

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