Few days ago I got to spend few hours with this ninety two year old gentleman with varied experiences of life. He takes care of this ages old temple but does not hold a good opinion of so called Sadhus and babas. He prefers to communicate with we grahasth [family] persons, who according to him happen to be more enriched spiritually.
He lived with Sri Govind Ballabh Pant, the first chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, when he practiced as an advocate and Our country was under British rule.He started his first government job with salary of Rs forty per month, did his char dham yatra on foot from Haridwar.He shared lots of memories of the days when entry of Indians was banned in Hazaratganj after four P.M. as that was the time British offiicials and their families used to come there for enjoying their evenings.He also shared how there was scarcity of educated people and posts in government offices, seats in higher educational courses lay vacant for want of candidates.
This temple where he now resides is ages old. He told us that no body knows who built it originally. years ago it lay surrounded by dense forest on the bank of river. Dacoits, bandits and freedom fighters too took shelter here.When he arrived here then also it was surrounded by dense forest and forty to forty five snake couple resided in the vicinity…and why not after all it is an ancient shrine of Lord Shiva.It is said that plastering of the temple structure has been done by the mixture of Urad dal [ black lentil] pulp of Ber [ indian plum / jujubi] and chasani [syrup of Gur[jaggery]

Talking to him was like turning pages of a old history book nay more interesting and enthralling. He created wonderful imagery while narrating his travel experiences of mountains and the underlying spiritual essence provided hope and strength.

 

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All pictures by Sunder Iyer.

Crumbling walls, uninhabited houses and battered doors invite you to venture into the mysterious world of lingering shadows.
Bolted doors, though aged with times cling passionately to the naked walls as if guarding secrets lying there for years. The quiet dignity of their commitment pulls a string at your heart.
In a courtyard full of dry leaves, wind walks to you with halting steps as if crossing the distance of ages. Whispering voices call you from shadowy corners. In the moist and diffused light spread across the chipping verandah, the past speaks to you with an intimacy across the time line.
Through the cracks of shriveled doors, escape the sighs of tales untold. The dusty interiors preserve the redolent presence of forgotten ones.
And just when the haunting past reverberates through your entire being, the present peeps down at you through a crevice high above the falling roof. A just born bunch of delicate green leaves smiles at you beckoning to march forward/move onward.


pictures: © sunder iyer