Inside the Temple
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There’s a gentle rhythm to everyday life in a Hindu temple, that follows carefully choreographed rituals linked to the care of the deities - creating a rich aural texture from dawn when the gods are woken, to nightfall when they sleep. The sounds wax and wane; each part of the day has its own soundscape and the priest presides over it all. You’ll hear the constant sound of bells as a backdrop, rung by devotees as they approach the shrines, focussing their minds and alerting the deities to their presence. The deities, or murtis, as they are known in Hinduism, represent the different aspects of God - in the form of beautifully carved statues. They are worshipped and cared for as the physical representations of God. This episode of Slow Radio takes us to the Shree Sanatan Mandir, a Hindu temple in Leicester, where we recorded sounds from inside the temple across a whole Saturday. The mandir is one of the oldest and largest mainstream Hindu temples in Leicester, housed in a former Baptist chapel. There is one main ‘prayer hall’, home to 5 main shrines. But there are 17 shrines in all, representing the major Hindu deities including, amongst others, Krishna and his consort Radha; Ram and his wife Sita, his brother Laxman; as well as Hanuman, Ganesha, Shiva and Ambamata. In the wider temple building there are also other meeting rooms and halls. During the recording you’ll hear worship across the day - singing and prayer, readings from sacred texts, meditation for the women’s group and quiet times for private devotion or chatting to the priest. You’ll also hear Illa Majithia and Anil Chauhan from the temple committee explaining some of the sounds. But the programme starts with the sound of volunteers cleaning the temple at daybreak, as the priest opens the curtains around the shrines, waking the deities, before washing them, dressing them in fresh clothes and decorating them with garlands of fresh flowers brought by the devotees, who are gathering for early morning worship. Produced by Jo Dwyer. This is a Loftus Media production.
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