Goludev the bell lover

By: Louk Vreeswijk

Jun 30 2013

Tags: ,

Category: Asia, India


Focal Length:12.5mm
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I have never been able to really understand the meaning of the word ‘praying’, or maybe I should say ‘the act of praying’. One prays to god – at least according to my catholic upbringing – but since I can’t imagine anything when hearing or reading the word ‘god’, praying to god doesn’t make sense to me either.

My dictionary gives the following definition of the word ‘prayer’: a solemn request or thanksgiving to God or an object of worship, and also: a formula or form of words used in prayer. So maybe it is actually all very simple: praying is to request something from god or somebody, and say thank you when the request or wish is granted. And people are advised to do it solemnly, in order to make a good and sincere impression and so increase their chances. With this we have arrived at what I have earlier called – in last week’s post – the folklore of faith, or popular religion. It is simply making one’s wishes known to god and hoping that the ‘almighty’ will live up to his name and comply with them.

Goludev, an incarnation of Shiva who is worshipped in Kumaon – a region in the Indian Himalayas – is known for lending a ready ear to his devotees’ wishes. This has made him immensely popular. Believers visit his temples in great numbers to pray and make their wishes known to him. If the worshipper asks for it sincerely and with a clean conscience, then Goludev will definitely make his wish come true. The only thing he asks for in return is a bell.

Bell temple, Chitai, Uttarakhand, India, 2012

Bells at the temple of Goludev, Chitai, Uttarakhand, India

The countless number of bells on the premises of his temple in Chitai is either evidence of Goludev’s unique, divine power, or it tells us something about the kind of wishes his worshippers have and their own efforts to lend Goludev a hand in doing his job. The thousands of bells certainly won’t harm his popularity.

Photo of the week: Entry to the temple of Goludev in Chitai, Uttarakhand, India, 2012.

4 comments on “Goludev the bell lover”

  1. Heel mooi Louk ! Bij bidden moet ik direkt muzikaal denken aan het mooiste strijkkwartet van Beethoven Opus 132, nr.15 a moll…laatst nog beluisterd in Concertgebouw met het Danish String Quartet…deel 3- het adagio : Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit..wonderbaarlijk mooi..


  2. You must also put a photograph of all the letters the devotees have addressed to God including the ones on stamp papers. Should make a good snap. different ways of approaching GOD.


  3. Thanx a lot.


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