East Indiaman #1: I say Gerald, we’ve been at this now for three blasted hours! [slap] I’m getting eaten alive by these damnable mosquitoes and we haven’t seen any sign of the natives since we left the beach! Surely enough’s enough!
East Indiaman #2: Just a little further, Roger ol’ Boy … we must be almost there, by Jove!
East Indiaman #1: Hodge-podge! From out on the Bay, it looked as though it was right there … we must have headed off in the wrong direction! Let’s go back to The Britannia and get on our way, if we weigh anchor on the tide, we should make
East Indiaman #2: No, Roger, please. I’m sure this is right, we must be almost there … not much further, I assure … Goodness Gracious!
East Indiaman #1: Good Lord, will you look at that! Absolutely incredible! Remarkable! Look at that structure.
East Indiaman #2: And look at those carvings, Roger … absolutely splendid.
East Indiaman #1: I say, Gerald, are those carvings doing…? Is that what I think it is …? Is she …? [blushing] Good Lord!
Despite the high public profile, the reality of daily life down at Saving-the-World HQ is much like any other office-based job; we receive urgent calls for assistance to save thousands of lives every day, and accordingly we dispatch the appropriate teams and equipment to do the job. Sounds flash, I know, but all you do is sit next to a phone and a computer, and you might as well be in
Occasionally, however, one gets to step into a phone booth, don the cape and red undies, and head out to the field for a bit of hands-on action, and it was while on one such field visit to the Indian state of Orissa recently, that I witnessed a most extraordinary site.
The visit saw me hard at it by day, working with communities on cyclone preparedness, but in the evening, I returned to a small town,
Now at this stage, let’s just clarify what I mean by the term, “worshipped”, because this is very important to this rather plodding tale. Growing up as a Catholic boy in
But this wasn’t the case all over the world … oh no! Here in Orissa, for example, we don’t really know exactly how people went about their “worship” of the Sun all those centuries ago because there aren’t a lot of records available to tell us … that is unless you count the records carved into every inch of the four-storey high temple! In that case, if you count THOSE records, then we know exactly how they used to “worship”!
“Worshipping” the Sun looks like it might have been quite appealing, because at the
Crikey! What must those aristocratic, socially up-standing and morally-superior British colonialists have thought when they stumbled upon this amazing monument to the desires of human nature? More importantly, I reckon, is the question of wether or not the Orissans were still hard at it at the time, which would have been quite a moral conundrum for Sirs Gerald and Roger (no pun intended)!
All Presbyterian ‘shock and horror’ aside, the Sun Temple at Konark is truly an amazing piece of heritage in a country that has experienced waves of “religious cleansing” over the years in the name of Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity and variations there of, over and over again. The legacy of these waves is a rigidly, sexually conservative society which even prohibits the screening of kissing scenes in movies or on TV! Yet, kissing (and a lot more to-boot), when presented on an ancient temple wall, seems to be socially acceptable, and has become a magnet for young, recently married “scholars of history”, who flock to
One can only wonder why the Orissans stopped “worshipping” at the temple. Did they truly see the light of Christian missionaries, or did they just run out of “religious fervour”? Who knows? Maybe you really can have too much of a good thing!
The impressive Sun Temple, Konark. Photo: Hagas
OK ... I had a bit of trouble with this 'cause my Mum sometimes checks-in to DonkeyBlog, so here is just a tame sample of what's on offer on the walls of the Sun Temple. Raunch aside, the temple is truly spectacular! Photo: Hagas