A trip to Shree Swami Narayan Temple.

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Visiting the temple area was pretty new to my group and I. We removed our shoes and advanced towards the temple with loads of excitement. We could hear a faint sound of a bhajan playing somewhere and that made us  curious to know who is singing it. So we went around the temple to find out where was the sound coming from. We wanted to photograph and document the singers because this was really amusing to us. Our bubbles busted as soon as we found that there was a stereo system inside the temple where the sound was coming from. We chuckled over our stupidity and thought of going inside where the moorti was, but we were stopped outside as because our heads were not covered. Once we covered our heads we rang the temple bell.  (that’s something I always dreamt of doing ever since I used to watch those Indian daily soaps with my grandmother). We weren’t allowed to take our cameras inside either which was sad because the temple was gorgeous and we wanted to capture it. Then someone put a tika on our foreheads. (P.s that red powder possesses no black magic qualities, it’s just red powdered color. They say that the tika is put right where the third eye is which was really interesting to know.)

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Right behind the temple were some peacocks and there was a set up for them where they could eat and move around, and as we looked up on the angan of the temple we found a beautifully painted universe which I am sure meant that the gods are looking down at us from all around.

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Then from there we went to Guru Nanak’s temple which very much resembled a gurdwara. A pandit recited a poem and then explained us how religions don’t matter but being human does.

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As soon as we were out of the Guru Nanak’s temple we saw people gushing towards us to ask us where we came from and what we were up to as we looked like we were from the news channels. We told them we were on an assignment and they seemed very excited about it and then started telling us about their neighborhood, right across the temple area was an open area with a marble floor and we were told that’s where all the festivities and dining happens, and at the corner of this area was the mannat tree. It was a huge tree covered in red, yellow, black and green threads. That’s where all the wishes were tied. Later I learned that people with mannats (wishes) prayed on this tree and tied a thread hoping for their god to fulfill their wishes.

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Then a few steps away from there we found ourselves surrounded by delicious looking pappar (chips). They were set out under the sun so they can harden up and then get packed and sent away. A lot of the residents were into the home-made food businesses and used old methods to prepare their items.

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Before leaving my house I was giving a set of instructions by my mum, where she asked me not to eat anything in the temple and to be careful while conversing with the Hindus. Trust me that was all her crazy ‘being Muslim’ thoughts. As far as the food part was concerned, I only ate the apple I brought with me because I was really hungry and there was still time for lunch. I personally found the Hindus very friendly and hospitable. The mandir was so gorgeous and serene. I wish to go back there and participate in their festival of colours also known as holi because I’m sure it will be fun.

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