Ambi Khaireni (Nepal), May 3: Jolted by the devastating earthquake, many in the Nepalese countryside seem to have deserted their gods. Or so it seems. For a tion known for its rich heritage, grand temples and strong religious roots, hundreds of small and mid-sized temples as well as places of worship have been abandoned. In the few places this IANS jourlist drove through or trekked to, temples along the highways and on the outskirts of villages clearly bear the mark of being deserted in the last few days. Residents say these were shrines for locals till the time the devastating 7.9 temblor struck Nepal on April 25, killing and injuring thousands and causing widespread destruction. A Ganesha statue in a small temple on the roadside near this village has developed cracks. Dried vermillion and rotten flowers are the only signs of the reverence the place till not long back. People say this was a well kept temple until last week. Locals used to offer small symbolic ‘trishuls’ (tridents) here for prosperity and safety.
“Villagers used to come here to offer prayers. But many have now left for safer places. Those who have stayed back are too petrified to venture out,” Alis Maharajan told IANS. So have people turned their backs on their own gods? A fellow villager told IANS: “In such times, such behaviour is worth forgiving.” The powerful April 25 earthquake has shaken much of Nepal, killing more than 7,000 people, injuring thousands and displaced millions in the Hindu-majority Himalayan tion. The disaster also destroyed or majorly damaged numerous Hindu temples and stupas, both in tourist havens such as Kathmandu and in rural areas. As of now, no one has a fair idea how many temples big and small have suffered major damage. And when will they will be rebuilt - along with the thousands of homes and other buildings that crashed on April 25. (IANS)