Town of Dakor Today
From the sancta sanctorum, the Lord's gaze passes across the audience chamber, to those awaiting at his gate, to the banks of the lake Gomati. Many small temples, monasteries, ashrams and pilgrim houses surround the lake. On the farther side, there is a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lakshmiji and a bathek of Shri Vallabhacharyaji. Groves, gardens and a site for burning the dead also border the large lake.
Being a temple town, it is full of all the conveniences a pilgrim can want. There are hotels for the rich, guest houses for the well to do and pilgrim houses for those on tight budgets. Restaurants and street vendors supply sustenance for the multitude that visit the town. The town is renowned for "gotas" - a fried delicacy much in demand by pilgrims and tourists alike. Shops and street hawkers sell all sorts of things. Here you can buy images of Gods, clothes and jewellery for the home shrines and numerous books on various religious matters. There are stores for toys - much in demand by the villagers that visit the town, shops to sell pots, pans and all sorts of metal ware for the house. There are also shops to sell local and "imported" cloth (Gujarat is a big producer of cotton), grain and many other local produce.
As with all major temple towns, all sort of trade centres around the town and it is commercial hub of the region. Farmers and traders from miles around come for various market days and the town always buzzes with life. Thursday, Friday, the eleventh day of a fortnight and the day of the full moon draw the largest crowds. As these are the holy days for the town and many fairs are held to coincide with these days, crowds often swell to unimaginable levels. Special buses are often laid on these days by the state and the private sector to cash in on the public demand.
Unfortunate Incidence of Political interference with temple traditions !
Till 1988, most Hindus were allowed to enter the inner sanctum and assist in the seva / service to the Lord - eg in the morning they could take part in the bathing of the Lord with scented sacred water etc. After the shringar darshan, those devotes who had taken a special purification bath, could even touch the feet of the Lord !! During the day, people were allowed to enter the inner sanctum to have a darshan from within a meter of the Lord.
Unfortunately, the untouchables were bared from this privilege. They were not allowed entrance to the inner sanctum. In the run up to the 1989 elections, political parties representing the untouchables made an issue of this and tried to storm the inner temple.
To safeguard the deity, rules regarding access to the inner sanctum were changed and now only the high priests serving the deity on the day are allowed to enter the inner sanctum ! In an attempt to force entry for some communities to the inner sanctum, the political honchos have ended up denying access to all Hindus ! Now, all devotes, regardless of cast or creed, can only see the Lord from the main audience chamber of the temple.
© Bhagwat Shah
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