City Faith – Consoling Windows, Krishna Temple, Gurgaon
The light these times.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This unfortunate year is nearing its end. From March onwards, every life has been defined by the coronavirus pandemic. Everybody has suffered his or her share of small and big losses. And doors have been opened, sometimes forcefully, on new ways of experiencing the world.
One of the many changes has been the emergence of a new respect for how innocent, how nonchalant it was to just go outdoors and roam about (and think without mask!) This, like other things, can no longer be taken for granted. And in our home-bound seclusions, ordinary windows have become some of our most valuable connections to the world outside.
And that’s why one ought to visit the Krishna Mandir, in Gurgaon’s Sector 14 in the Greater Delhi Region. The temple now reaches out to the senses more urgently. Its spacious courtyard feels more precious. Particularly beautiful are the windows in the corridor running around the main shrine. In the light of the new relevance of windows in our lives, these wall-sized jaalis speak the most to the visitor.
The windows consist of a collage of tiny holes in the wall, letting in the day-light discreetly that falls on the floor with the jaali-form intact. By admiring the light’s delicate patterns, one experiences the outside world in a somewhat distanced way, like a painting hanging in a museum — physically, the painting is so close, and yet it is separated from us by the passing of time.
Parts of the floor are covered in this pool of crocheted light. Stepping upon them feels even more intense than the banality of straightforward, outdoor sunshine. This gentle infiltration not only accentuates the thrill of the open universe existing outside the window, but also heightens the comfort of the shelter inside.
On exiting into the temple’s courtyard, the exteriors suddenly seem too much to take. One wants to go back inside to savour the daylight in little drops, its gentle falling through the window.
For best experience, come in the late morning when the light and shadows are merging most amiably in the temple. Also look out for the neem in the courtyard. It is majestic.
We’ll have windows