The rural town of Tindivanam outside of Pondicherry is full of fresh air and home to many gorgeous temples. I never would have found these if it weren't for the local I befriended, someone much like myself- professes disdain for organized religion yet seemingly feels drawn towards places of spiritual significance. I can't be completely sure however, our language barrier regularly created questions followed by reciprocated assumed answers. Exciting, intriguing, very confusing
The temples in southern India have a seismic energy- like they vibrate and come alive as you walk through them. People moan lost in their prayer as idols hum from their shrines. A 32-foot tall granite Hanuman (monkey god) sculpture engulfs Anjaneya- it is breathtaking. Really, I stopped breathing and stood still in amazement and confusion as to why I was so very affected by the energy accompanying this deity. I stared at it for a while, and felt some strange belonging in such a very foreign place.
Another location's mysterious and dimly lit basement chambers each give penance to multiple gods- connected by curving pathways, low ceilings and red walls. There are thousands of deities, each with thousands of origin stories. Their common thread: they all represent reincarnations and aspects of the One Divine. Still now, I'm not sure whether to classify Hinduism as mono or polytheistic, but it's powerful. It's old, wise, fantastical and powerful.