City Landmark – Guru Ravidas Temple, Sadar Bazaar, Gurgaon
Tree in the courtyard.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The spacious yard is warming up gently under the sunshine. The clear blue sky is looking as calm as an exhausted sea after the storm.
Winters are on the wane. These are the last few days when the sun can still be cherished as a friend. The first instinct is to go out into parks and gardens and loll around on the grass.
But you also ought to bask in the subtle pleasures available here at the courtyard of the Guru Ravidas temple in Gurgaon’s Sadar Bazaar in the Greater Delhi Region. This sprawling sky-embracing space, nestled within an extremely congested market, shocks the visitor into sudden euphoria. So much claustrophobic chaos exists outside, but here reigns liberty and quietude.
This afternoon the courtyard is empty, the little shrines along the corridor are hidden behind curtains. The floor is littered with freshly fallen leaves from the courtyard’s peepal. Note this tree carefully. It’s unlike any other peepal.
The tree isn’t leafy, the branches lie severely trimmed and don’t give enough shade. Yet the sight is majestic—the tree’s austerity is powered into grace and strength reminding one of an emasculated but strong-willed Himalayan ascetic. The tall spindly peepal goes up the temple roof. Sacred kalava threads are wound about its trunk. A black statue of Shani Devta is sheltered under it.
And now a woman enters. She stands for a while in the centre of the courtyard, and slowly walks over to the peepal, bowing down in reverence.
On stepping outside the mandir, the Sadar Bazaar noise shatters all the tranquility into a million fragments, making the temple courtyard and its peepal seem like a long-ago tale.