Going on faith

Abraham Verghese writes for T Magazine of The New York Times on a recent visit back to Kerala, a visit that is blessed in more ways than one.

The morning I arrived in Trivandrum, the capital of the south Indian state of Kerala, I met my friend Vinita, a Hindu, who promised to accompany me on a visit to the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple, a place that is generally off limits to nonbelievers. Though my family is from Kerala, we are Christians, a community dating back to A.D. 52 with the arrival of St. Thomas on these shores. “Doubting” Thomas converted Brahmins to the faith, who are now the so-called Syrian or St. Thomas Christians. And that morning, one of their fold was proposing to enter a Hindu temple.

I had always wanted to see this legendary Lord Vishnu temple, and not just because it had been very much in the news. One of the six vaults under the temple, dedicated in 1750 by the Maharaja of Travancore, was opened recently by court order and found to contain gold and jewelry worth a staggering $22 billion. more

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