Monday, September 6, 2010

Thoughts at Markanda

This weekend, I visited the Markanda Temple, built in the 8th century. I was completely astounded by the solidity of the temples as they stood, and the beauty of the stone carvings. I felt speechless marveling at the talent of our ancestors. Few from my generation, given all the technological advancements, could carve out such an architectural marvel or recreate the magic of Markanda.

It pained me though, to see how so many pieces had been damaged, and many were reported stolen. How much should we focus and invest on the preservation of these heritage sites? I wondered if our ancestors ever built these structures with the vision that they last for posterity. On a recent trip to Hastinapur, the local guide mentioned how any remains of the existence of Pandavs and Kauravs had been swallowed into the earth’s heart over time. A symbolic temple of ‘Karan’ had been built. Isn’t this the law of nature: There is nothing permanent except change? Should we choose to forget and move on? Are we actually doing wrong by holding on to these structures? While we learn about our ancestors from these preserved sites, do they ever push us to explore our creative energies, pursue perfection in leaving behind our culture, what our era stood for- besides information overload? Why else do we preserve these sites- if we don’t learn anything from their stories?

I am no student of history or archaeology- but it does pain me to see people washing their laundry on the steps of such a monumental wonder. I don’t think they are wrong, but I wonder, what our collective responsibility as a generation is.

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