Waterfall Hindu Temple

Posted on March 3rd, 2014 by

Our destination: 513 steps away

Haley and myself (Elizabeth Strom) after receiving ashes on our foreheads

Haley and myself (Elizabeth Strom) after receiving ashes on our forehead

Have you ever eaten rice with your hands? As a child, I would have been scolded at the dinner table had I started shoving rice into my mouth. At the Waterfall Hindu Temple, we were served a delicious Indian meal, without silverware. But before we dived into this great meal, we climbed 513 steps to the largest Hindu temple, outside of India. I think I speak for the entire group when I say I am thankful for the three lectures on Hinduism from Dr. Anbalakan.  While it is impossible to totally understand a different religion in three lectures, having some background knowledge of the faith helped me appreciate the amazing temple. For example, before the lectures, I thought Hinduism was a polytheistic religion, but Dr. Anbalakan said that in fact, there are many deities, but they only worship one God, Brahman. All of the different, and beautiful statues in the Waterfall Hindu Temple are simply deities of the God, Brahman.

I am continually struck at the hospitality our group receives, wherever we travel. When we arrived at the temple, we removed our shoes, as a sign of respect, and they put ashes on our forehead.  Like I mentioned earlier, they graciously fed us an excellent meal after letting us observe their Friday prayer ritual, which is full of reverence, music, and worshiping in ways I have never seen in the United States. Many of us were commenting on how this was a cultural experience unlike anything we ever dreamed of participating in. I enjoy seeing how other people pray and celebrate their religion, and this was a great start to the Religious Experience in Malaysia class. We are learning outside the classroom as we will go on field trips for each of the religions we will study: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Sikhism, and Islam. The semester in Malaysia is truly living up to its  promise of Living Diversity.


One Comment

  1. Theresa A. Strom says:

    It was great to read about your experience at the Waterfall Hindu Temple Elizabeth! What a great experience for you and your new friends from Gustavus! You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Make the best each and every day of your new and exciting adventures!