Last month, I traveled to Bangalore with my family for a short two-day trip. Since my family isn’t into traveling, I didn’t have high expectations. On the first day, I had to accompany my parents and didn’t have time for sightseeing.
On the second and last day of our trip to Bangalore, I had the opportunity to explore. My parents were tired from our long and hectic journey, so we decided to visit a nearby temple. We had always heard about the famous Iskcon temples throughout India, so I looked up one nearby – Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Temple. Based on my research, I knew that the temple featured idols of Lord Vishnu in his “Narasimha Avatar,” which means “human-lion.” In this form, Lord Vishnu appeared with a human body and lion head to rescue one of his greatest disciples. While there are many temples where Lord Vishnu is worshipped in this avatar, we didn’t visit any official website or know exactly what the temple would look like from outside; it would have required more effort and patience than we had at that moment. Instead, we booked an Uber and headed towards our destination.
Although we planned to start at 10 a.m., we ended up starting later due to discussions, research, contemplation, and getting ready. By the time we left it was already noon. The weather was bright and sunny but incredibly hot compared to winter. It took us almost 45 minutes to reach the temple.
The driver dropped us in front of the gate, where I saw people taking off their shoes to enter the main temple. Although it was small, it had the same get-up as any other South Indian temple. This is worth noting because these temples have a specific type of architecture and vibrant colors. Upon entering, I immediately noticed people receiving prasad – food that is offered to God and believed to be sacred.
The main temple was a large hall with three small rooms on one side. These rooms were under the roof of the hall and surrounded by its walls. Idols of Lord Ganesha, Lord Rama (accompanied by his brother Lakshmana and wife Sita), and Lord Vishnu were present. People revolved around these rooms while chanting mantras. I followed the people, but didn’t recite any mantras myself. Despite it being sunny outside, inside the temple was cool and peaceful – something I love about less-crowded temples where you can sit for a while.
My dad is somewhere between an atheist and religious; he doesn’t go to temples because he loves God but rather because he’s interested in having prasad or food offered to deities instead of sitting in the temple murmuring prayers.
After spending 30-45 minutes, we booked an Uber to return to the hotel. While waiting for the ride, we wandered around and I realized that there was no idol of Narasimha Avatar in sight. This seemed unlikely. Dad gestured for us to come out as our Uber was only 5 minutes away. As we stepped outside the main gate, a bigger and more decorated entrance caught our attention. It turned out to be the entrance gate of Narasimha temple – where we had intended to go all along! We had been in the wrong place this whole time.
Our Uber got stuck in traffic, but it gave us some extra moments to explore before leaving. The temple was undergoing renovations and took a few minutes for us to find the main door. Unfortunately, by then it was too late – in temples like these they put curtains down during afternoons so visitors can’t see idols until evening when they are revealed again by removing curtains.
The day was my life in nut shell- it never went as per my plan. However I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the lesser known temple.
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