Orissa or India and her pious tradition… 3
The next morning, on the advice of the guy at the hotel, we decide to go to Jagannath temple at 5 in the morning, the “best time” according to him. We are excited: it is an important place of pilgrimage, apparently a site that Hindus should visit at least once in their life!
How surprised we are when we discover, at the entry number one, that only Hindus are authorized to enter!! But how??? It was written nowhere on the site of tourism of Orissa!!
I jabber a bit of Hindi and the guard sends me to the “identification office”.
In the most total chaos of pilgrims, cows etc, we turn around this immense temple, with guys following us all along.
At the last entry, it seems that we will be able to enter. A so-called priest with a loincloth and only one tooth begins to talk to us. I leave shoes, camera and cellphone (all of this is prohibited) to my friends and go to try my luck with these guards.Nothingl. When I go back to my friends, I am a bit irritated (I respect; but I would have found nice if the guy at the hotel or the rickshaw had informed me; it is 5 in the morning for the love of God!!). The priest is still there pestering them. He wants to sell offerings for the God we won’t be able to see. It pisses me off!! I ask him to leave us. The fellow understands that his pathetic strategy to get money from us has failed and gets upset: “You are Christians? HERETICS!! Go back to your country. ”
Mmmmhhhhh. Mmmmmhhhhhhh. And YOU WANT MY FIST ON YOUR FACE @fod,ezi#[|éfr€ioz@] ?? (I did not say that, it is not very politically correct, and he was old and skinny, and above all I could not the words, but it gives an idea of the atmosphere on that early morning with people annoying tourists at any hour…)
It reminds me of the situation Christian-Hindus is tended a little in Orissa, and apparently, this is not a joke.
But not regrets, it was awesome to see all the pilgrims and the fishermen when we got back to the beach.
This time, the taxi to the airport was there one hour early. The boy comes to seek me on the beach for me to announce it and I indicate to him that I want to take my breakfast first. He asks me what I want. Just toasts. 30 minutes later, we are in the restaurant room. And 20 minutes later, nothing. Nothing at all. I call the boy, inquire where the toasts are. He looks at me with empty eyes and asks “what toasts?”. Holy cow…
|Puri, Orissa - Nov 2011|
Retrospectively, first words of Lonely Planet on Orissa: it is very laid-back.
Ah! That it is the least you can say!! No stress there…
I learned my lesson: to avoid bad surprises next time, I will take the Lonely Planet, no matter its weight, and I will know that the following temples are for Hindus only:
· Jagannath Temple of Puri (Orissa) and Lingaraja in Bhubaneshwar (Orissa)
· Golden Temple of Vishwanath in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)
· Temple of Guruvayoor in Guruvayoor (Kerala)
· Temple of Trimbakeshwar close to Nashik (Maharashtra)
· Temple of Balaji in Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh) – but apparently people from abroad have already entered there.
Apparently an American tourist succeeded in melting down in the crowd and entering the temple in 2010. She was arrested and she must have had a good time!! (Source: http://www.eturbonews.com/20247/us-tourist-arrested-india-entering-jagannath-temple)
More details on tourism in Orissa, Puri area: here