Quite a different athmosphere from GURDWARA DUKH NIWARAN SAHIB when crossing the city we came upon the “Kali Mata Mandir” the “Black mother temple”.
This beautiful temple is said to be very popular and we preferred to visit it in daytime, before the crowd.
Devotees are already coming to offer they prayers and ask for the blessings of the black mother. With a bit of discussion with the priest I was allowed to take a couple of pictures of the Divine Mother Kali and the priests (The statue was brought back from Bengal in the 1900’s)
The Kali shrine opens towards the outside of the compound; through it you enter a courtyard surrounding the temple below.
At the back of Kali shrine is another shrine of what I believe being the goddess Jyoti; the Hindu goddess of light and the “Vel”. She is the daughter of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and is closely associated with her brother Lord Murugan .
People of the temple are collecting offerings for various causes. I gave some rupees I had left for one of them, although I am not sure what it is for.
I had none for the next ones which were a bit unhappy about the fact.
The part if the temple below contains an older Shiva temple that opens once a year only, an old local gentleman told us he visited it only once in his life.
Finally we found a group playing music and singing in the temple hall; I cannot tell if they were playing for the gods or rehearsing for later ceremony, but they seemed to be very please of our short attendance.
In the Golden Temple community kitchen an average 75,000 devotees or tourists take langar daily; but the number becomes almost double on special occasions.On average 100 Quintal Wheat Flour, 25 Quintal Cereals, 10 Quintal Rice, 5000 Ltr Milk, 10 Quintal Sugar, 5 Quintal Pure Ghee is used a day. Nearly 100 LPG Gas Cylinders are used to prepare the meals. 100’s of employees and devotees render their services to the kitchen.Everyone is welcome to share the Langar; no one is turned away. Each week a family or several families volunteer to provide and prepare the Langar.All the preparation, the cooking and the washing-up is done by volunteers and or by voluntary helpers (Sewadars).The community kitchen in the temple shows the Sikh ideal of charity : A Sikh is under a religious obligation to contribute one-tenth of his earnings for the welfare of the community.He must also contribute the service of his hands whenever he can, service rendered in a langar being the most meritorious.It has ensured the participation of women and children in a task of service for mankind. Women play an important role in the preparation of meals, and the children help in serving food.The Community Kitchens gives a great demonstration of equality between sexes and social backgrounds.
All shots with Leica M262 + Summicron 28 or 50. I used a higher ISO for those, the light being a bit random. People in the kitchen are very photo friendly; as long as you are not in anybody’s way you can take your time. But be careful you may be dragged into making some chapatis.
The Golden Temple in Amritsar, known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, is the holly place for the Sikh faith.
The entrance is a short walking distance from the street, but on the Sunday we visited the traffic was so bad we had to envoy a nice stroll through the streets of the city. A bit esplanade sits in from of the temple (above) where many pilgrims sleep at night. The entrance is North gate called also the clock tower.
After having left your shoes at the counter, covered your head and washed you hands and feet you can step trough the gate and access the path around the Sarovar (the holly pool of immortal nectar) and have a view at the golden temple, the sanctum-sanctorum.
Benevolent and photo friendly guards are posted around the pool.
Sunday may not be the best bet to visit as you see above we were not alone.
In various stations devotees envoy a ritual bath, note that there are special enclosed sections for women. Sikh are so open minded that we were told nobody would be offended if a non Sikh would have a dip.
An important part of the Sikh temples is the kitchen offering food to every visitor, school kids above were waiting to get their meal.
Inside the Akal Takhat
A Sikh man reading the Holly book in a small chapel around the pool.
Volunteers working at the cleaning of the holly pool.
Sikh apprentice meditating, yes you can become a Sikh (Elmarit 90F2.8). There can be many reasons, like getting married to a Sikh for instance.
For Buddhists Vesak Day marks the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. This is my very first time at Bright hill temple ; it is a huge compound in the center of Singapore.
Bright Hill temple also known as Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, is famous for the “3 Steps 1 Bow ceremony” on the eve of Vesak Day.
Above are monks who are opening the procession. The ceremony starts at 5pm and takes 2 and half hours to complete ending with the monks back in the main hall blessing the devotees with water.
Monks are followed by lay people who will queue all evening and a big part of the night. One people I know said he will go at 3am.
Below people queuing at the start of the procession
The main halls are also the occasion to pray and give offerings; mostly candles.
During the day itself, ritual is generally the bathing of the Buddha.
Most shots done with Leica M262 and Summicron 28mm, close ups with Elmarit 90mmF2.8.
Some film shots (with black border) done with Leica M6 on Fuji Xtra 800ISO with same lenses.
How to get there: Bright Hill is quite central (like in the middle of the island) but may take some time to reach. You can get a bus there (check gothere.sg) which will take close to one hour from CDB or take a cab (more of less 15 SGD).
Devotees and temple staff are quite photo friendly, so as long as you are decently dressed and don’t go in the middle of ceremony you feel welcome to shoot. There is actually a small crowd of photographers.
Phitsanulok is a big district 50 km east of Sukhothai; in comparison it is quite a large and busy city. It is famous for its large and ancient temple: Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat.
If I may quote wikipedia; it is also known as “Wat Yai” and was founded in 1357.
The temple is very famous because of its golden Buddha image called Phra Phuttha Chinnarat, which is considered by some Thais to be the most beautiful Buddha image in the country. (In the background above)
If you are in Sukhothai visiting Phitsanulok is a nice afternoon trip, one hour drive each way. The temple is quite large (I think Mahathat means large) and other smaller buildings around are worth a look.
One of them hosts a kind of coffin with the feet of the dead (is it lord Buddha?) going through its side. Very weird.
There is a market area at the back which makes a complement to the cultural visit.