Find a beautiful mountain, Drill a hole in it, stuff it with dynamite & 3…..2…..1….. BOOM!!!
There goes the mountain- call it a creation of God or a result of millions of years of nature’s processes – destroyed within a matter of seconds.
…and somewhere else hundreds of Km’s away comes up a temple. No questions asked.
Right from my childhood – I’ve been visiting historical temples and I’ve really loved it. I have loved the architechture, the taste, the craftsmanship, the detail, the magnificence. I don’t hate temples. I hate what goes on in them but that’s a different story.
I am not questioning the idea behind those temples. That was a different era. They didn’t mine the way its been mined these days – recklessly. But what I’ve been seeing in the last 20 years – huge temples coming up in every nook and corner of the country and every time I pass through one of those – images of a mountain exploding flashes in my mind and I feel despair. To make matters worse – these temples are gaudy and tasteless barring a few exceptions. You’ll also find in many instances these new temples right next to an ancient temple only much bigger (and of course Gaudy) than the ancient temple as if trying to make a point – what point?……..you guess.
As an example – There’s this place called Palitana in Gujarat. One of the holiest Jain pilgrimage centers. There’s a temple complex of about 1000!!! temples(Yes you read that correctly) temples, big and small, constructed about 800 years ago on top of the Shetrunjay hill – an architechtural wonder. And as if this 1000 wasn’t enough – our people have constructed not less than 20 temples (as of the year 2000) at the foot hills of the mountain from where the climbing starts – and each of these bigger than the biggest temple on top. And you should see the Marble and Granite and the Sandstone used and you wonder – just how much of pristine area these buggers must have destroyed in their race to create – ‘My temple bigger than yours’. As for the aesthetics of these temples – the lesser said the better. This is completely against the principles of Jainism.
Little do these people/trusts who construct these temples realize the irreversible ecological damage this does. The trees that are cut, the birds living on these trees forced to flee, the effect on other animals that depend on the ecosystem, the disturbance in the natural flow of water, the affect of removing such large amount of stone of the soils water retention capacity. Do they have the slightest realization that they are destroying the creation of the same god whose temple the intend to make. This in a country like India where you’ll find hordes of beggars particularly in the vicinity of the temples, homeless people all around, child labourers. Why not spend the money on creating shelters, schools, hospitals for them. Wouldn’t that be true service to god.