BANGALORE, India (RNS) — In the pre-dawn light, Srikara Sudarshana circumambulates the Gali Anjaneya Swami Temple at a busy intersection in this city in southern India, known as the country’s tech capital.
The 20-year-old priest chants Sanskrit mantras in front of a 700-year-old saffron-colored idol of the god Hanuman. According to ancient tradition the priest then bathes the deity, but instead of using water from the nearby Vrishabhavathi River, Sudarshana cleanses the idol with 30 liters of filtered water from the temple’s kitchen.
The temple, one of Bangalore’s historic treasures depicting scenes from the Indian epic Ramayana, is flanked by factories producing lead acid batteries and textiles. The Vrishabhavathi, choked with industrial waste, gives off a noxious odor.
“It’s no longer a river but a