This showed up as one of the top places to visit in and around Hyderabad on TripAdvisor as I looked around for things to do with my sister, when she visited us from Switzerland. I used to go to the Ramakrishna Math in Bangalore with my friends after classes as it was pretty close to my college. It was right beside a bustling bus-stop, but I remember it being so serene, I’d forget I was in the heart of the city and not in a remote village.
I was curious to check this one out. The Math is in Lower Tank Bund area, which isn’t too far from my place. As soon as I entered the premises, I took my camera out (as usual), but I couldn’t capture more than a single picture.
A security guard came running towards me asking me to put my camera inside. I felt angry and sad that I couldn’t capture the beauty of the building or the serenity of the manicured lawns or the wise sayings by Swami Vivekananda displayed all around the campus. I seriously can’t fathom why photography is prohibited anywhere close to a temple; Not allowing it within the temple is understandable, as some people might start taking selfies with the “Gods”, which is kind of tasteless. But why not outside? A few well-taken pictures that show a glimpse of the temple might attract more visitors to it, or is it to ward off unwanted attention? I know not.
After meandering through the serene campus, we entered the main meditation/prayer hall. It felt warm and cozy inside. There was a well-lit, life-like idol of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa at the head of the hall. I thought I could gaze at it for hours, examining my thoughts and life, as I did so.
But I couldn’t, thanks to a couple of rambunctious kids, who were too excited to allow their mommy to remain seated and meditate. So, we slipped out. But there was more to explore.
First, we entered the Swami Vivekananda Institute of Languages to know what languages were being taught at the moment. We were told that Sanskrit, Hindi, German, French, Spanish, Japanese apart from English classes were being offered there at reasonable prices. Learning French has been in my wishlist for quite sometime now. Let’s see… I might join a class.
Then we checked the bookstore, which is moderate in size and holds a good collection of books on Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, his wife, Sharada Devi and his disciple, the well-known Swami Vivekananda. My sister and I bought a few biographies of Swami Vivekananda, stories of renowned Indians for Medha and posters of Swami Vivekananda before heading out.
Exiting the Math to join the throng of other vehicles, their blaring horns, as we drove back home felt like being shaken awake from a beautiful dream.