Monday, May 23, 2016

Kyoto the ancient imperial capital of Japan

Kyoto the ancient imperial capital of Japan

After enjoying a lavish breakfast of the hotel, we started for our day trip to Kyoto an ancient imperial capital city of Japan for more than 1000 years. It is an UNESCO world heritage city. We have picked up blue line train from the Nakafuto station and change the line from Cosmosquare for Yodoyabashi. It costs only 280 yen. From Yogoyabashi, we took a Keihan Rail (420 yen)for Kyoto. It took approximately 60 minutes to reach at the Shichijo Station of Kyoto. The trip was pleasant as the route was passing through the green range of mountains. After a vegetarian lunch at Asian Restaurant Kin Khao located at the river bank of river Kamo in Kyoto, we started our visit to a Buddhist Temple Sanjusangen-do (Renzo-in), the National Treasure of Japan.

Sanjusangen-do temple was established in 1164 AD but after it was lost in fire, again reconstructed in 1266. During last 700 years it has went through four renovations. It was made of wood with a Wayo style architecture of Japan. It has about 120 metres long temple hall carrying the idols of 1001 Kannon statues of Buddhas, with 28 idols chief deities (the guardian) of Hinduism and Buddhism placed in a straight line in the front row. The deities are Vayu, Brahma, Mahesha, Yama, Garuda, Mayura, Naga, Sanjay, Gandharva, Lakshmi, Vasu, etc, have their origin in ancient India. The images of the deities derived from the fear of the people and their gratitude to the nature. People worshipped them as deities who controlled rain and winds and brought about good harvest. The statues are made in an assembled construction methods, made of wood and lacquered with gold plating and colouring. Precious stones were placed so well as eyes in each deity to make them live, that each one has different expression suitable to their role. The main idol of Buddha with 50 hands was kept in the centre where people pray or chant manta. Some people offer Sake (rice wine) to the God as a pious drink.

The two small little garden within the campus made from the Japanese imagination of heaven, in which a beautiful centre island of trees surrounded by water and beautiful flowers.

From Sanjusangen-do, we took a taxi ride and went to another temple Kiyomizu Dera. The street was flooded with tourists and the shops located both sides of the street were offering best hand made products, foodstuff and souvenirs of Japan. The sweets made from green tea and other materials were very tasty. You can drink green tea and taste the sweets of all varieties free of cost. You need not to feel shy of tasting sweets of the shop and to enjoy a cup of green tea. It's a custom. If you taste, surely you will buy something. After a freshened walk of the street we went to the temple. It is also made of wood without using a single nail. The Chappal, pier made of iron of an ancient monk were very happy. I could lift the smaller pier but couldn't lift the bigger one. It is part of the Unesco world heritage sites. It is located in the lush green forest hill and surrounded by cherry trees. In the spring, during the first fortnight of April, the cherry blossom all over the area and the orange coloured temple look beautiful surrounded by pink cherry flowers. It's hill side location offers a impressive view of the city. Beneath to the hall, there is Otawa-to-naki fall where three channel of water falls into the pond. Visitors catch water with the help of long handle glass and drink water for fulfil their wishes. The Pegoda looks beautiful. It was used as library to keep the holy books. There are statues of kristigarbha, on which people put red baby caps in remembrance of the death of their child. There is another shrine (Sinto) in the campus dedicated to love God. It is called a match making shrine where generally the younger people go. There are two love stones kept 18 metres apart. With closed eyes after touching the first stone, if the visitor succeeds in touching the another stone, he/she finds his/her love, the true love. Love is really blind!

Shintoism (kami-no-machi) is an ethnic religion of japan focus more on religious rituals. It believes in God and people worship the nature, the Sun, the Wind God, the rain God, rock, trees, rivers, the energy, the divinity, etc, worship multitude of Gods, 8 million Gods (we count 330 million). Sinto temple don't keep idol for worship. It is a nirakar (non form) God worship through its natural me manifestation. The Buddhist temple and Sinto shrines are seen together in one campus. 80 % people believe in both, the Shintoism and the Buddhism. Both go together like Hiduism and Buddhism of India. Looking at the social structure of Japanese caste system Shintoism is in fact Hinduism of India. The Vedic religion. The word Sindhu/Indu/Hindu is there in Sinto/Shindo/Jindo. Jindo means live, the spirit, jindabad. We are Hindu, Sindu, Indu, Jindu. Whole universe is live, the manifestation of cosmic energy. Nothing die, just changing the forms. The world Kami may be used for the people who acts to fulfil their desires. And for that they follow rituals and perform practices. Buddhism, therefore started with the first sentence that the desires are the reason for our unhappiness. It proves that Hinduism was prevalent in Asian continent first, followed by Buddhism. We may not claim India as world guru but surely it has roots of Asian cultures and traditions. Let us claim at present, the Asian Guru!

The word Japan might have a link with Sanskrit word 'japa', the country of worshippers of God doing japa with thread notes.

We have enjoyed a long walk of five hours through the streets of Kyoto, tasted sweets, bought souvenirs and finally went to the railway station Gion Chijo to pick up our train to Yodoyabashi. Again following the same route by changing three lines we reached to our temporary home at hotel Hayaat Regency, cooked khichadi, enjoy the taste of Gujarat and went to the bed happily.

16 May 2016

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