It was around noon when our blogger group we reached Khaba Village near Jaisalmer city after a morning spent exploring the Thar as part of the Desert Exploration Trail organised by our hosts Suryagarh. The sight of cool drinks and light refreshments laid out for us at the village was a welcome sight in the heat.
I picked up some juice and walked over to explore what looked like an old temple nearby. It seemed to be an ordinary looking temple and not in use. At least that is what it seemed like until I peeked into the garbha griha of the temple where I saw the strangest-looking shiva lingam I have ever seen — one with its innards spilling out !
The shiva lingam appeared to have been fashioned out of mud and hay, covered with some kind of a plaster or clay layer and then painted over to give the finishing touches of a lingam. It may have looked like the real thing when ‘freshly made’, but looked like something out of a horror show then.
The ‘what’, how’, ‘where’, etc. of the strange lingam would have remained a mystery, if not for the Suryagarh staff who told me how this came to be.
Apparently, there was a film shoot (sorry, I don’t remember the name of that film) that required a Shiva temple. Location scouts for that film found the perfect spot in this temple at Khaba Village. Since there was no Shiva lingam in the central shrine, it was specially made, brought here and installed. The film shooting got done, pack up was announced and the production team left. Without the Shiva lingam.
Initially, the local villagers were quite happy with the lingam and worshipped it, till it started disintegrating. Worship of the Lingam stopped, as broken or imperfect objects, even if they are considered to be divine, cannot be worshipped. Therefore, it should be disposed off.
The ideal way to ‘dispose’ the lingam would have been to immerse it in water as per practice. But in a water deficient region like Jaisalmer and in the Thar desert, water is not exactly a luxury and this cannot be done. Neither can the lingam be disposed off any other way like breaking it up because it is/was sacred. So the Shiva lingam remains where it was ‘installed’ disintegrating bit by bit, day by day, increasing the guilt of the villagers with each passing day.
I have read of the mess that film shoots leave behind, especially in heritage sites but this is the first time I came across one. This tragicomic situation in Khaba Village would not have come up if the production house had cleaned up after themselves when the shoot got over; it is their responsibility after all do so.
Have you come across something like this or something similar?
For more in the “Travel Shot” series, click here.