Suvarna Ganesh !

Some years back someone found a huge copper box in his backyard. ‘It was in the backyard of a lady named Draupadi’. It was a copper box. I am no chemistry student and I have no idea how and if copper can survive 1000 years. But that’s the story. And quite a credible one at that. Ok ?

That’s atleast what the man sitting next to the priest at the Suvarna Ganesh temple in Divegar tells us with an equal nonchalance to the other big activity that occupies him : swatting flies.

With some swagger after swatting two big flies, he tells me ‘no photographs’. In a dry, desultory and dismissive tone that must have sure given great glee to the flies.

So, no pictures of whats inside the temple people. But heres an amateurish attempt at description.

The copper box sits pretty. Yes, the same one that was discovered. Its like an army man’s trunk. Today, the copper box sits inside a glass box ! If it could withstand the vagaries of the planet for a 1000 years, I don’t see how that glass box was going to add any protection.

Then it strikes me that now the box is dealing with human beings and it wont take a minute for a love struck Anand Anybody to carve out the name of Sumita Somebody!! Yeah. The glass box indeed makes sense.

Somewhere above, there ensconced in another glass cabinet is what they found inside the copper box : A 22 carat idol of Lord Ganesh ! Weighing more than a Kilogram and made of solid gold ! A kilo of pure gold !

As I stare at the idol and seem to think of it more as a mask to an idol that must have been there sometime, a voice hisses into my year : ‘A 1000 years’. Unsolicited personalized commentary with gesticulation warranting the 1000 to be multiplied by five. I smile a weak smile.

The sheer thought of someone making this, that many years back, stuns me into steep silence. I continue staring. A 1000 years back ! How did the men and women back then, have the idea to build something like this ? Only to put it in a box?

Was the town under attack or something? Was it a gang of masked hoodlums who stole it from somewhere and forgot where they hid it? Or was it a Ganesh propogation society ? Could be!

I realize that it sure must have been a ‘Mackennas Gold’ moment for the chap that discovered the treasure in 1998! Wouldn’t it be? In a jiffy, my mind races back to thinking what would have been the reaction of the folks that opened box and seeing the idol of solid gold? How different would the reaction been, if all they found was a battered cycle tyre or something like that ? Anyway, they discovered. Well and truly so !

Anyway, here is a list of stuff that’s inside the temple ! A ganesh idol made of stone, and kept inside a cage like structure. ( Don’t ask me why ). Thats the main deity. The golden ganesh in another glass cabinet. Some assorted jewellery that they found in the copper box. A clock. A trophy.

(A small trophy like the ones that I used to compete for in arbid school elocution contests on topics that shaped my career, like ‘If I became Prime Minister’). Don’t ask me what a small trophy is doing in the Ganesh temple. It is there.

The temple itself is small and non descript. We missed the temple as we drove past it, looking for a building of prominence. But simple structures are the essence of this place.

But heres the big piece : Its PEACEFUL and leaves an indescribable feeling of calmness. We are there on Ganesh Chaturti. But there isn’t much of a crowd. A small assortment of people and ofcourse the swatted flies. We amble around.

Outside the temple there is a big black ape shaped dustbin, with ‘Use Me’ written on. In the opposite side of the road is a small temple for Hanuman with asbestos roofing and all of that, beyond which is the green fields and blue mountains! That’s about the temple. Peaceful. Simple. Serene.

We shuffle our feet out of the temple, with another couple and their wailing son. Tourists like us. I hear the wife ask her husband : ‘Whats the latest price of a tola of gold?’ ! The husband whips out his phone, presumably to check.

Our feets shuffle out in a hurry.

9 thoughts on “Suvarna Ganesh !

  1. There are stories and stories of finding treasure , particularly in areas of Kokan, which have been greatly frequented during the periods of Shivaji and later, the Peshwas. The difference between what happens today, and what happened then, is in the “marketing” of the find. The Diveagar stuff is relatively recent.

    Old houses in Pune city , often have wells within the premises, now unused. Post the 1961-62 Panshet floods, I know of one such that had to be cleaned, and they found perfect swords at the bottom. The 92 year old patriarch then told us about his folks having to throw old weapons into the well, to avoid detection by the British authorities sometime in the lat part of the 19th century.

    I am sure many other things were found. The difference was, they donated it to the Museum.

    But the existence of the Diveagar temple speaks volumes about how society and people have evolved….

  2. Insignia says:

    ‘Anand Anybody’ carving out ‘Sumita Somebody’s name 😀 Hahahaha

    The temple is soo simple to notice. And it makes sense to have a glass cabinet for the box in such a simple temple 🙂

    Seems a secluded and virgin place. Right place to be for Ganesh Chathurthi

  3. Neha says:

    hmmm, interesting place..1 kg of gold used to make the idol is indeed always, I loved your description of the place.. 🙂

  4. radha says:

    I can think of a lot of monuments that need to be protected by a huge glass covering to preserve it from the scribbling public. Who ever can say that our nation has the highest number of iliterates? Nice post.

  5. I’ve heard about this Suvarna Ganesh, but have not seen him.

    Isn’t it wonderful that the person who discovered this idol did not care about the sum that the gold would fetch if sold- but kept the Ganesha in the temple!

  6. manuscrypts says:

    any visarjan plans? 🙂

  7. RGB says:

    A priceless treasure it must be, if it’s that many years old and that too, made of gold!

    I almost thought the temple (pic) to be a waiting shed. So used to seeing the typical temple structures, that I sort of expect every temple to look like a temple!

  8. Jeevan says:

    It’s Interesting to think, and get a view about the place and peace.

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