Berlin away from the city center is always good for surprises. In Britz, located next to Blaschkoallee, rises an extraordinary, very colorful building. Countless figures in all pastel shades adorn the roof. It feels suddenly like India, despite the extremely tidy neighborhood for Berlin standards. The Gateway to Sri Murugan Temple Mayurapathy is open. The religious center, specifically for South Indian and Ceylonese Hindus living here, can be easily entered.
Shoes have to stay outside, and we are greeted in a very friendly way and without any fuss. It takes place just a ceremony , in which coconuts, bananas and other foods be cleaned ritually. Or at least it seems that way. Jingle bells, incense smell. The God figure in one of the five shrines is being rubbed with curry, then thoroughly washed with water. Men and women are sitting, standing, or walking around casually. A relaxed atmosphere, without strict ritual such as among Roman Catholics.
Here runs the preparation for the Hindu chariot festival or temple festival Theer Thiruvila, which has its peak on August 24. Then the statue of the god Murugan will be carried around the temple in a procession. Everybody is welcomed here, no matter what religion. Even atheists can enter the temple, silence and tolerance is the message. Anyone can come to meditate.
Out there, in the Park around the corner, is yet another surprise. The children’s playground, spaciously built and not quite finished, comes up with an unusual structure. Klaus Kinski’s gigantic head, pale and white, just like in the movie Nosferatu – Phantom der Nacht, crowns a large climbing frame. The kids have certainly never seen the movie, and if so it would hopefully not affect their safe play.
There is also a miniature Alexanderplatz, apparently not all come every so often to visit Mitte to see the original from nearby. In Britz there seems to be unconventional urban planners and relaxed bureaucrats. This gives hope in this particularly in downtown always more regulated and hence more boring city.
Hindu chariot festival on August 24, starting at noon
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