Why this blog is called "Gallimaufry".

gal-uh-MAW-free\, noun.

Originally meaning "a hash of various kinds of meats," "gallimaufry" comes from French galimafrée; in Old French, from the word galer, "to rejoice, to make merry"; in old English: gala + mafrer: "to eat much," and from Medieval Dutch maffelen: "to open one's mouth wide."

It's also a dish made by hashing up odds and ends of food; a heterogeneous mixture; a hodge-podge; a ragout; a confused jumble; a ridiculous medley; a promiscuous (!) assemblage of persons.

Those of you who know me, will, I’m sure, understand how well some of these phrases (barring the "promiscuous" bit!) fit me.

More importantly, this blog is an ode to my love for Shimla. I hope to show you this little town through my eyes. If you don't see too many people in it, forgive me, because I'm a little chary of turning this into a human zoo.

Stop by for a spell, look at my pictures, ask me questions about Shimla, if you wish. I shall try and answer them as best as I can. Let's be friends for a while....

31 August 2009


As I've said earlier, most Hindu temples leave me cold. Some of these have a peculiar soullessness that stands in stark contrast to their apparently pious air! Or maybe the two are not entirely irreconcilable, after all hypocrisy has long been the preserve of religion.
The temple at Mamleshwar left me distinctly underwhelmed. It is not the temple's fault - I attribute it to concrete. This temple is like many others you'll find all over Himachal. Yet, what it lacks is that pristine quality of unsophistication, that almost puritanical aspect, which, for me, has become the singular facet of this wonderful state's buildings, be they tiny forts or places of worship.

This temple suffers the fate of many of its brethren elsewhere. The old "dehra" (temple) has been relegated tothe background. The lovely old wood and slate and stone structure has been covered with vast layers of ugly concrete, painted over in cheap oil paint. The old images, almost pagan in bearing, have been replaced by the more generic North Indian idols, robbing them of any consonance with local culture. Many of the old deities graven in stone have been pulled out of their original places and embedded into concrete, making them look utterly ugly and out of place. The temple walkway is covered with marble, a stone which looks admirable in warmer climes, but is unsuitable in look and use in Himachal.

The temple priest wears the greedy air typified by his ilk all over India. He is unshaven, and most likely, unwashed. His five o' clock shadow takes nothing away from the general air of decay that surrounds him. He has been lolling on a reed mat, watching TV (thankfully, one of those loony religious channels) but bustles around officiously when he spots our party advancing upon the temple. He insists we perform rituals, but on finding no encouragement, sulks in a corner.

Facts: Mamleshwar is in Karsog tehsil, about 95 kilometres from Shimla. The drive to Mamel, from Chindi via Karsog where the temple is located is really beautiful. Visit the temple if only to tick it off your list!

1 comment:

Autar mota said...

Budhist influence on the temple structure is visible .We have this influence in mosques too in Kashhmir.I salute your photography.I remember Sardar Jafri Sayibng
" If i werre not a poet i would have been a photographer "

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