Yet, like Mary, there is something about the temples of Himachal. Is it the near-pagan forms of belief? Is it a yet-unsullied innocence? Is it their Arcadian air, as yet not contaminated by the big bucks and big Cheeses of Hinduism? I am going to post a series about them. Judge for yourself and tell me, gentle reader.
Temple no. 1 in this series is the temple of Chindi Mata, found in Chindi. This is located in Karsog tehsil, about 90 kilometres from Shimla. It is on the main road, and thus, easy to find.
"Chindi" is possibly derived from "Chandika". This is a leading female deity of the Hindu pantheon. She is also known as the "violent and impetuous one", and is said to have been born from the enrgies of male divinities. She has gorgeous tresses and is multi-armed, each one adorned with auspicious weapons, jewels, garlands and rosaries of prayer beads. The deity in the Chindi temple is no different.
What I liked about this little place was its neighbourly air. Surely there's something benign about a place where a dozen puppies frolic freely and see nothing in sleeping at the feet of a tiger (the animal familiar of Chandi)?
The little old lady resting in the temple precincts offered us a puppy, a first in a Hindu temple for me. My experience has been of priests directly or discreetly demanding offerings to please the deity!