Having the pleasure of visiting many Buddhist temples and monasteries, I was disappointed that I had merely paused at two Hindu temples. There always seemed to be a fortress wall around them so I could only take distant photos that I might later be able to enlarge to see the deities and mythological creatures.
Walking for some four hours I was sweaty and hot when I stopped to admire yet another Hindu temple. Much to my surprise there were several people around and I was beckoned inside. I was taken straight to the center where I was told to hold my hands in prayer fashion. Out came what I believe was a priest who carried a tray of what looked like ash dust with a small glass in the center from which smoke was rising. He some words and touched his fingers to the ash and then to my forehead. Copying the man next to me, I closed my eyes while fanning the smoke and inhaling the scent. When I opened my eyes I could feel them stinging as sweat poured down my forward. It began to get even hotter inside than it was outside. The salt was burning my eyes and the camphor I had been fanning toward them, no doubt, made it worse.
I was then taken around the room and told what deity each statue was, beginning with Shiva who is the Destroyer God. Not to mean that he is evil, but to destroy bad things such as bad habits or enemies. At this point I recalled that Shiva had cut off one of Brahma's five heads in order to quell his lust and help him to regain his right mind. I suppose another way to put it might be that with death comes a rebirth. He is usually shown having 8 arms and possibly riding on a white bull.
Next I was shown Vishnu, the Preserver God. In other words, protector of creation means preserving the universe and maintaining balance and order. Typically, he is depicted resting on a snake with a bow and sword nearby. Lastly is Brahama is the Creator God. He created all that is in cosmos. He split himself to create a woman and that story goes into how all the animals were created. To sum it all up, I was told Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma are a trinity god.
After the explanations and tour, I was given a bottle of water to quench my thirst and replenish the liquids I was rapidly loosing. I went outside and began putting on my shoes and as I rose, I was given a special packet of ash dust along with a small bottle of camphor. I felt so blessed for having been given this opportunity.