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Attached to this place

As told to Jonathan Donovan

Our life here revolves around looking after the deities. To us it is not a piece of stone or a piece of marble, a piece of metal.

Attached to this place © Jonathan Donovan Attached to this place © Jonathan Donovan

The deities or the sacred images are treated like real people. So we believe it to be our great honour that we have had the fortune to be able to serve God in person in this way.

Typically the Sadhus who live here, our first worship is at 6 o'clock in the morning just after the deities are woken up.

Then the second worship after the deities are dressed and adorned with clothes and garlands and depending on what festivals are being celebrated, maybe some special ornaments.

Then again at around 11 o'clock the deities are given their main meal, the midday meal.

So after that there's another service at 11.45am. Then the deities are put to rest for the afternoon from about half 12 'till about 4 o'clock. And then again the deities are open for the devotees to come and do durshan. At 7 o'clock we have our fourth service and 8.30pm when God is put to sleep at night, that's when we have our fifth service.

It is seven days a week; we don't get a day off as such.

So I've been here for almost 20 years – this does become your home.

When we go away to India or, say, we go away teaching devotees around the UK or Europe, when we come back we feel, yes we're back home.

On a spiritual platform we cannot afford to be attached to this place; any temple is our home.

So today I might be in London, tomorrow I might be told to go to USA or to India or to Australia. So wherever we go, whichever temple we are placed to do our duties or service, we must consider that to be home.

This photograph and interview is part of a series called No Place Like Home by Jonathan Donovan. It is part of the Museum's Documenting Homes collection.

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