Ethnic groups from various parts of India, a country with many cultures, have made the Capital their home. There is a mini Kerala in Mayur Vihar and a mini Kashmir in Bhogal. Tamils have their address in Rama Krishna Puram, or RK Puram.
The popular stop for the city’s Tamil community, Sree Uttara Swami Malai Mandir is situated on a hillock (malai means ‘mountain’ in Tamil). North India ends at its entrance gate. No, at the shoe rack, which keeps Tamil newspapers.
The courtyard buzzes with the musical sound of spoken Tamil. Men sport white veshtis; women have fragrant gajras woven into their hair. Here, you witness the joys of traditional family life. Mothers run after children, newly married couples take each other’s pictures and old people eat the prasad.
Shiva’s son Karthik is the temple’s chief deity. The shrine at the foot of the hill is dedicated to Shiva, though there are other gods beside the silver-plated lingam. The black statue of Goddess Meenakshi Devi is always dressed in bright Kanjeevaram sarees.
Midway up the hill is the Adi Shankaracharya hall, the venue for assemblies. Near the top is a little shrine dedicated to the snake god. Milk is offered on its hood everyday.
The main temple on the hilltop was built in 1973 from blue granite. Showing influences from the Chola era, the walls are sculpted with images of gods. Alas, there’s no good scenery to see. RK Puram and Vasant Vihar look disappointing. The hill’s slope, however is taken over by pink bougainvillaea bushes that make for a lovely sight.
Temple timings: 6.30 am to 12 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm