One of the things I find most fascinating about mankind is how different cultures across the world have come to recognize and celebrate spirituality. India is often the place many people go to in order to explore aspects of this, and as much as it might be a cliche, it does seem to be the case that India is somehow more attune or open to the unfathomable.

Tiruvannamalai main temple.

Visiting temples and shrines here makes me feel like I’m caught up in a conversation among poets. I stand there and nod at random intervals hoping that nobody will realise that I’m faking it, and that I’m no poet, I don’t read poetry, and that it just isn’t really my thing. I do spirituality like I do golf. I know there’s a method and that practice will bring improvement, but on the rare occasions I find myself on a golf course I just slug the crap out of the little white ball in the hope that it will land somewhere relatively near the green.

Tiruvannamalai main temple.

Standing at the foot of one of the ornately decorated temple towers, called gopurams, I look up at the structure that dates back some 1,200 years and marvel at the fact that this was built to glorify the Gods. It is, in effect, a spectacular monument to mankind’s relationship with that which we cannot control or fully understand, to a drive that has inspired us to build radically different monuments all over the world and throughout all of time.

I can’t tell you much about the temples and shrines pictured here. Instead I’m sharing these photographs with you more for the opportunity to once again look upon them and wonder how it is that they came to be. How something that inspires such beauty can at the same time unleash such unholy horror.

Another temple in Tiruvannamalai.

A shrine to Nandi on the road around Arunachala, the holy hill.

Another temple on the road around Arunachala, the holy hill.

The temple like roof of a public toilet and baths in Tiruvannamalai!

Yet another temple on the road around Arunachala, the holy hill.

The roof of just one of the many temples in Tiruvannamala.

Somewhere away from the politics and power struggles of the various religions of the world, there is a faith and connection in the hearts of many that is so moving and powerful that it has led the creation of some truly awe inspiring buildings, shrines, and art works.

If God is a creative power, then maybe when we’re not blinded by our differences, mankind’s truest reflection of God is in our ability to create.