The Temple in the Sea

20140322-100245.jpgAfter our plans for the day had failed, my friends and I started brainstorming some alternative ways to spend our day. I suggested going to “the temple in the sea”. I had only seen pictures of the Sewdass Sadhu temple and I’ve always wanted to go. A few of us had never seen it, so we decided to set off for central Trinidad.

The Sewdass Sadhu Hindu Temple was built by an Indian indentured labourer of the same name. His original temple was built in 1947. It was later broken down, he was charged with trespassing paid a fine and served jail time. He then decided to painstakingly build one on the sea, which he did by himself. Since then it has been reconstructed by the government and is still used as a place of worship and is an attraction for visitors to the island.

Getting there was faster than I thought and pretty straightforward. When we arrived, we made our way along the waterfront on foot and then up the walkway towards the temple, observing the trees, birds and muddy creatures swimming on the surface of the nearby waters.
The atmosphere there was very tranquil and inviting. The breeze blew gently, cooling us as we strolled along under the afternoon sun. The colourful flags that lined the walkway waved us in. Boats nearby and in the distance rocked softly on the water.

We spent time exploring the grounds, looking at the paintings on the temple and taking in the view of the Gulf of Paria. The calm waters surrounding the temple adds a special dimension to one’s experience there. After some nervous contemplation about entering, for fear of doing something that may have been disrespectful, I took my shoes off and went in. There was an alter with incense burning and statues of various gods. There was a friendly couple there who seemed to hold some official capacity. The man invited me to ask any questions I wanted and I did. He was very knowledgeable and they were both extremely pleasant to speak with.
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I met one of my friends sitting on a bench outside by herself. She was soaking in the peaceful atmosphere and in truth I think we could both have easily sat there in silence for another hour or two. It made me think that it may be a good idea to visit temples and churches on a fairly regular basis, outside of worshipping hours, to be alone with your thoughts, centre yourself and refocus on the simple and lovely things in life.

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~The Wandering Pier


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