During a recent visit to Indore in India, one evening we walked into the 9th century Annapurna Devi Temple. The goddess here symbolizes food, blessing devotees to be always abundant with food at home. We were greeted with peppy drum beats in front of the main shrine. A group of saree clad women across different age groups were surrounding a hesitant man in a blue shirt brandishing a small sword rather shyly. On closer look, his henna decorated hands and feet gave way that he was the groom, accompanied by all the women in his family, seeking blessings from the mother goddess for a happy life ahead. Within minutes, 2 young married, beautiful ladies, covered their faces with the edge of their saree and danced with gay abandon at the beat of the drum. The fleeting expressions on their faces beyond the veil gave away the joy that they experienced as they swung their arms showing off their beautiful henna lined palms, bending their bodies and slightly swinging the hips as they twirled around but an image of grace and beauty in totality. Soon they were joined by an older woman who danced away with a child on her shoulder fearlessly and gracefully without losing balance for a second.
The 4 giant sized elephants at the ornate temple gateway and the wall sculptures depicting mythological scenes are a welcome break on an otherwise busy street. We walked around the main shrine and the other smaller temples dedicated to Shiva, Kala Bhairava and Hanuman. When I think about Annapurna Temple, I remember the image of the happy dancing women alongside the image of the goddess !!