Yes! The title is genuinely appropiate, I should have taken it seriously when my father-in-law told me about it that “even gods don’t have any record of temples because”. I caught his sentence and completed it in my way, “they don’t have sufficient space in their server hardrives.”
He gave me a sarcastic smile. Then, he challenged me to count the Mandirs in Varanasi city area within an year.
“Give me the exact figure and Lonawala Framhouse is yours.” said father-in-law.
“You sure?” I didn’t believe.
“You win, farmhouse will be yours. I win, the value of farmhouse would be mine. Sixteen Crores.”
“But, why did you want me to do it in an year?”
“Because an year will not be enough for this.” He said.
“No need to be so generous.” I said aloud.
“Why didn’t you express this generousity at the time of your Beti and mine wedding you Junk.’ I said silently within my head.
“Don’t …Don’t.” But before I could listen the distant voice of my wife. I had taken it.
I had accepted the challenge and stakes were the Dad-in-Laws (DiL) farmhouse or cash equallent to the value of farmhouse in Lonawala at Western Ghats. Its worth was 16 Crores. I’d to get that farmhouse if I win, or I had to pay 16 crores in cash to Dad. I knew what I was doing, I took it because of my ability to sketch a blueprint of target at the same time of this kinda challange. When we finished I knew how am I going to do this.
Two hours latter, I was talking to the Steno of Municiple
Commisionner. I have been told the total number of temples. “We have 9476 temples in our records.”
“That is all?” I asked.
“Of course not sir. These are registered temples, paying all the taxes.”
Ok, it was time to go out and walk to find the total no. I started doing it with my camera, whenever I found one I clicked a photo. Soon, the number goes high at 16,200. There were Big-Small, Portable and Micro, even Nano temples in my list. Kashi Vishwanath, Sankat Mochan, VT in BHU, Durgakund, Bhaironath, Bharat Mata Mandir and so on.
It was quite tough to keep the track because if you are noting Maha Mritunjaya (god of death) at your right hand side you’ll definately miss two temples at your left, the missed temples might be a kinda oversized hollow milestone in which one of the million gods is appointed. Another god might be sitting in a small cavaty of some 2×2 square ft, 2×3 or 3×3 Sq.ft. which is crafted into a wall.
You’ll certainly miss the presence of those poor gods, whose photos are printed on 9×9 sq. inches of bathroom tiles, these tiles are pasted wherever you need.
Interestingly, these “gods waala tiles” are uncut in saving a house having its wall on the roadside, in an isolated place. Needless to say, you know these outer walls suffer from men’s spray of acid supplied by gal bladder. The acid is so intense in terms of its decaying properties. A concrete wall can be demolished in a couple of months.
Also noticed some environment gods. I found some oval shaped stones, laying down at the exit point of a tree of Peepal, Neem, Banyan. A red piece of cloth is tied around trunks, some scentsticks, and that was it- A Mandir.
Cobra Temple, dedicated to venomous snakes, who is worshipped to save people from bites. On Nagpanchami, snakes are offered a bowl of milk to please them, denying the fact that snakes don’t drink milk.
I also found several temples in the middle of roads. The road had been given a curve of half-circle to avoid collision. People told me that these temples are meant to encroach a major part of street.
There was also some ‘Kachha Bhagwan’, as I noticed a red ‘Langoti’ tied around a tree’s trunk. Nobody told me who were these kachhadhari gods. And, I didn’t miss the giant immovable pot in the middle of a courtyard, with a plant, called Tulsi (basil). Its Tulsi god.
Ghanta Mandir, is on a highway before Mughalsarai. No driver passesby without a halt. It is said that if you don’t stop here, rest of the journey will lead you to death.
Later on, I was sipping my wine in a bar, I noticed a man who had been served a drink. He shamelessly dip his four finger tips in glass, took it out and scattered some drops of fluid around glass. Steward told me, ‘he is offering first sip of drink to Som Dev. Besides I’d been told that every hospital, police station, prison, railways or bus station etc. got a temple.
Every showroom, retailer, wholeseller, chaiwala, paanwala and where there is business must have a small mandir of Laxmi.
of my finding.
Today, 3 months later, I have counted 45,730 temples, and still working on.