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    by ChinmayHota Written Oct 2, 2007

    Favorite thing: Tilt of Glory: The Leaning Temple of Huma

    It was a picture perfect September morning in the late monsoon. We had just performed puja at the shrine of Goddess Samleswari, the presiding deity of Sambalpur, and our driver Junnu had arrived after offering his Ramadan prayers. A perfect time to start for the famous temple of Huma, 28 kms away from the city of Sambalpur. The landscape en route wore an extra layer of green, brought about by weeks of heavy rain. The only break from the lush green surroundings came from the occasional sightings of the river Mahanadi, racing restlessly forward. It was at a clearing on the bank of this river that our vehicle came to a halt. The scenic beauty of the place—a confluence of river Mahanadi and river Dhulijore—is breathtaking.

    Small shops displaying hibiscus, earthen lamps and prasad flank the small pathway leading to the temple gate, but the sellers are not quite nagging—a welcome break from their brethren manning the more renowned centers of pilgrimage. At the archway the tilts of the main temple and other structures took us by surprise. Leaning seemed to be the most preferred posture at this place, without props of course.

    As we joined the queue to offer puja to Baba Vimaleswar Mahadev—local version of Lord Shiva—we felt suffocated inside the cramped and dark hallway, the plump pillars taking up most of the space. One restless woman raised her voice against the lengthy puja the priest conducted for previous devotees as her irritated husband left the place out of sheer frustration—and other devotees supported her protest with deep sighs. When our turn came, we had to wait sometime under the stone doorway before the last devotee cleared the way. No prizes for guessing our postures under the dwarf doorway: leaning of course. The sanctum sanctorum provided no respite, with its 5 ft x 5 ft size and oily walls and damp floor. When shall poor mortals like me start ignoring these small distractions in the path to God?

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Road Trip
    • Architecture

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