Often, we hear people on Social Media talk about the undying value of temples in nurturing the growth of our economy, culture and knowledge. Temples hold the balm of spirituality for our tired souls. The spark of knowledge, for our battered intellect. Temples seem to offer one the universe with the deities’ divinity.

On Social Media, we have often seen people put up gorgeous pictures of temple and its architecture. People have walked to temple and spoke about how even their journey to temple was a spiritual one. Full of stories untold. When one looks at those pictures, one wonders the enormity of our ancestor’s spirit. The devotion it must have taken for them to carve the stones armed with nothing more than a chisel and hammer. The days and years it must have taken to give a physical form, to divinity. A gift, to generations to come.

It then is fair to say, that is our dharmic duty to preserve what was handed down to us. It is perhaps the travesty of our times, that most us have lost the knowledge of our cultural past. And that is what Bangalore based Smt. Vijayalakshmi Vijayakumar tries to fix.

Smt. Vijayalakshmi along with few others formed a trust “Heritage Trust” a not-for-profit charitable registered trust, in 1994, for the promotion, preservation and dissemination of our heritage and culture through seminars, workshops and cultural festivals to bring us closer to our roots.

Since 2010 Heritage has been conducting thematic festivals: “Gudiya Sambhrama, The temple festival” and “Srishti Sambhrama the Earth Mother Festival”. Both are a celebration and a coming together of our cultural and natural heritage in haloed sacred spaces of worship and learning.

The Gudiya Sambhrama is conducted across multiple Bangalore temples each year between the period of January and February. The working committee of the Heritage Trust develops a theme for each year. Last year the theme for Gudiya Sambhrama was “Sacred Flowers”. The festival with theme ‘Sacred Flowers’ brought together over a hundred artists and scholars of repute from across the country. Starting in the month of January for five week-ends and 8 venues, 20 temples resounded with the rhythm of dancing feet and the melody of music mingling with mystical chants and temple bells.

The main goal of Gudiya Sambhrama is to inculcate a feeling of ownership of the Temples and oneness amongst all strata of the society. Towards this end every year the Trustees ensure that all people are participants of the festival- the flower sellers outside the Temples to the artiste and the audience all sections of the society are invoked with a sense of pride in their culture and traditions. The unique feature of 2017 was the inauguration of Gudiya Sambhrama at each venue by the regular flower supplier to that particular temple. The floral artist was felicitated and appreciated for the dedication to the temple. This was an effort to understand the important role that the floral artist plays in enhancing the experience of the devotee.

The Gudiya Sambhrama is spread across the Bangalore city over a period of 6 to 8 weeks. In 2017, it was performed at several locations across Bangalore – precincts of Gudada Ramanjaneyaswamy Devasthanam in Hanumanthanagar, HSR layout, Nandi Thirtha Devasthana in Malleswaram, Koramangala Ganapathi Temple and Banashankari.

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