Our Bellur trip needs its own blog space as it was almost the whole day and we did a lot in that time. This small village is only a little over an hour outside of Bangalore and so we hopped in a car on Saturday morning and got there before it was too hot.
Since the holiday was (still) happening, everything was very quiet, but the hospital was open and the groundskeeper was summoned to give us the grand tour.
BKS Iyengar and his students from around the world have contributed immensely to the support, education, and infrastructure of this once dirt town. The new buildings are somewhat set apart from the old village and gated in, but the schools and hospital serve the surrounding area. When in the US, I will say that sometimes it seems like just something that “seems nice” to contribute to, but stepping onto that ground and actually being able to see what has been done is pretty overwhelming!
The buildings are beautiful and well kept and the kids are able to be in school beyond their usual primary education now, with a new high school and college right there.
The hospital is small, but I am sure has more supplies and treatment availability than ever was there before.
The Yoga Hall is immense and amazing and very strongly considering doing a workshop there at some point. Much of the income goes back to donation and upkeep, so I look forward to having this space getting used more often…the view and the air are spectacular!
From the gated area, we went over to the village where the Patanjali Temple is, there is also a Hanuman Temple and a Ram Temple. Again, the holiday had things closed, but for the “special visitors” the brahmin priests and their families came out to open up for us and bless us with short pujas to Patanjali and Hanuman both. Quite a special occurrence…so much so that I did not take pictures…I am not used to having my camera out in temples as for many of them it is an insult to the gods to take pictures of the idols…
But in the Ram temple, they were all set up for the Dassera holiday, complete with the traditional doll collection devoted to the full telling of the Ramayana, and their parade items used for the holiday as well.
Ending with some prasad (sweets and food blessed for the gods), we headed off to the lane where a lot of the sculptors are. Most were closed, but it was a treat to see so many idols in various states of disuse, unfinished, or discarded, etc…
So glad we took the time to travel out to this short pilgrimage! Always a treat to get out of the big city and the drive is always full of sights you just can’t take in while walking short distances.