Category Archives: Holy Curiosities

Holy Curiosities / ,

Stepping on Human Skulls in Bangalore’s Black Magic Graveyard

As I stepped over the leg bone, I laughed. I’m no bone doctor, but it looked human to me. Orthopaedist, is that what it’s called? I’m no orthopaedist.

Must be from a cow, or maybe a dog. Do dogs get that big? Not a human. Definitely not a human.

But then I tripped, and I stepped on a skullcap, that really nailed it for me.

This Bangalore graveyard was covered in human bones.

“Maybe the dogs dig them up,” suggested Kaveri, as she led the way to the high priestess of the graveyard. “Or the rats.”

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/ by Dean Pickles / 4 Comments
Holy Curiosities /

This Hindu God has 1,000 Vaginas!

So I’m in the middle of R.K. Narayan’s condensed version of the Ramayana — one of the great Indian epics — and I have to re-print the amazing story of Ahalya, Gautama and Indra. It’s too amazing.

The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)

List Price: $16.00 USD
New From: $4.92 USD In Stock
Used from: $2.26 USD In Stock

Now Ahalya was gorgeous. Like, insanely gorgeous.


Brahma had created her from the ingredients of beauty, itself. Of course this led to problems.

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/ by Dean Pickles / 6 Comments
Holy Curiosities / ,

Another Little Bangalore Boat Church

53 weeks ago, I posted about my first boat church. The other day — deep in Bangalore’s Austin Town — I found another.

So what does this represent? St Thomas coming to Kerala? Or Jesus and Mary coming to India? Is the boat a little Fisher of Men? Or the stormy trip to Gerasenes?

How many of these boat churches are there? And when will I find one that’s not empty?

/ by Dean Pickles / 4 Comments
Holy Curiosities /

So this guy walks into a bar…


(Thanks to Julie for the lovely pic of Woo at the Kumbh Mela.)

/ by Dean Pickles / 1 Comment
Holy Curiosities / ,

Hindus Are Buried…?!

I didn’t know Hindus were buried. Like, they’re always cremated, right?

And then we stumbled on our local Hindu graveyard. And realized how wrong we were.


The Bangalore architect laughed at me when I asked him about it later.

“That’s the great white myth,” he said. “You Westerners still like to romanticize us Indians like the colonialists. But it’s not true. These days, most of us Hindus prefer to be buried.”

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/ by Dean Pickles / 16 Comments
Holy Curiosities / , ,

Gorgeously Gory Paintings in a Burmese Temple

Most people visit Ananda Phaya to see the massive gold Buddha. I’m not surprised: it’s remarkable.

But hidden in a side-alcove, propped up in the ceiling, I couldn’t help noticing a series of paintings. Gloriously gore-filled paintings of demons wreaking havoc on mortals: boulders rolling over bloody victims, body parts dangling from coatracks, quartered corpses splayed out for crows, body part littering slabs of tile.

What was this?

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/ by Dean Pickles / Leave a comment
Holy Curiosities / ,

The Ancient Roots of Swamp Thing?

This weekend we trekked down to Shravanabelagola, to see the 57′-tall statue of a naked god, apparently carved from a single piece of rock. It was big. It was holy. It was awesome.

But at the same time, something about it looked so very familiar…

/ by Dean Pickles / Leave a comment
Holy Curiosities / ,

Sweet & Holy “No Pissing” Signage

If there’s a wall in India, someone’s planning to treat it like a latrine or a dump.

Official signs, unofficial pleas, it doesn’t matter. Notice the dribbles of urinet spray below.

What if you tried painting a Hindu god or two on the wall? Surely that would help.

Is that spray diarrheal??? Really?!!?!?

In Bangalore, to keep your sidewalks clear, you really need more God. Much more God. In fact, bring all of them!

That’s right: Hindu, Christian and Islamic symbols, arm in arm, side by side, under the banner of a urianate-free sidewalk.

Honestly, who in their right mind would soil all three of these symbols at the same time?

This guy barely drew his crescent, misspelled garbeg, and actually forgot his “don’t” — yet I dare you to drop anything here. Go on… I dare you.

/ by Dean Pickles / Leave a comment
Holy Curiosities / ,

Jesus and Mary in a Little Indian Boat

It’s Good Friday, and so why not mention this delightful little boat I pass every day? It gives passage to Baby Jesus and Mama Mary, who endlessly sail the open seas of Bangalore’s Shanthinagar district.

Of course, by “open seas” I mean a dirty, dusty, honking, traffic jam. And by “sail,” I mean sits on top of a little concrete chapel.

But what I love is how India can turn a crummy concrete chapel into something so endlessly endearing.

My only question is: why a boat? I guess only the founders of St. Mary’s Chapel Shanthinagar know why…

/ by Dean Pickles / Leave a comment
Holy Curiosities, Somewhat Perverted / ,

The Cockiest Shrine in Bangkok

At Bangkok’s Goddess Tuptim Shrine, there’s something prickly going down.

At this veritable penis park, there are whoppers, dongers, cocks and dicks, carved-off woodies and sleek shiny johnsons in stacks.

Every last one is circumcised. Even the cocks of cocks.

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/ by Dean Pickles / 11 Comments
Holy Curiosities /

A Good Sign

/ by Dean Pickles / Leave a comment
Holy Curiosities / , , ,

Creepy Mianshan Devotional Statues

One of them even looks a little like Ving Rhames…

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/ by Dean Pickles / Leave a comment
Holy Curiosities / , , , , , , ,

Sweet gruesome statue asking for donations

(Also known as “The most bad-ass ‘donations please’ advertisement ever conceived” – io9)

Halfway between the hippie-mainstay Pondicherry and proto-Jonestown Auroville lies this incredible 15-foot-tall Indian shrine of some awful crime in progress.

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/ by Dean Pickles / 5 Comments
Holy Curiosities, Theme Parks / , , , ,

15 More Pictures from weirdoid Tiger Balm Park

AsiaObscura friend Dawn Xiana Moon ( sent over a pile more pix from the absolutely incredible statues and terrifying dioramas at Tiger Balm Park aka Har Paw Villa. See our original story here, or click on her pix below for full-sized versions….

/ by Dean Pickles / Leave a comment
Holy Curiosities, Theme Parks, Top Stories / ,

The Creepiest Amusement Park of All Time?

Singapore is bland. It’s a high-priced row of shopping malls and fine eateries, with a few hawker markets thrown in. “It’s soooooo boring,” warned my hairdresser Miss P.

But then you stumble on something like this. The Tiger Balm Gardens: The most disturbing theme park of all time.

There’s sex, violence, bear-maulings and scabies. Statues of slutty immoral crotch-grabbing wenches, and creepy animals dressed as humans. Down a dark musty cave, a terrifying tableaux displays every vengeance that awaits you in the hell you’ll surely meet.

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/ by Dean Pickles / 11 Comments
Holy Curiosities / , , , , , , , ,

Giving Babies The Right Way

Okay, okay, I’ve been dwelling on the dark side of Taoism for too long. Sure, 19 Incredible Taoist Gods was an awesome series of sweet court officer pix, and Terrible Moments from a Taoist Temple was a collection of terrifying dioramas, but what about the lighter, cuter side of the religion? Is there one? OF COURSE!

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/ by Dean Pickles / Leave a comment
Historical Wonders, Holy Curiosities / , ,

This Chinese Temple is Filled with Insanely Disturbing Sculptures

A few weeks ago, I posted about the Incredible Taoist Gods — cool court officers tasked with enforcing rules of life and the afterlife.

Well, to further display how far traditional Taoism strays from the mystical romance of the Tao Te Ching, here are some of the darker views of the Taoist “Way.”

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/ by Dean Pickles / Leave a comment
Historical Wonders, Holy Curiosities, Top Stories / , ,

19 Incredible Taoist Gods at Beijing’s Dongyue Temple

So the rapture left you behind, eh? Feeling cheated? Looking for a new deity?

Try Taoism. These gods will kick your ass!

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/ by Dean Pickles / 4 Comments
Holy Curiosities, The Occult / , , , ,

The Modern Afterlife

With Melaka being a culture mix of Indian, Malay, Chinese, Dutch and Portuguese, amongst others, local customs are very much honored and preserved. Buddhists, keeping up with modern times, offer their ancestors the very best in the afterlife. Apart from the expected cash to spend and incense to purify and keep them from harm, the modern dead are blessed with all of life’s daily amenities and enjoyments including cigarettes, a complete wardrobe, soda pop and beer, as well as lingerie and extra set of dentures, and the latest iPhone!

“I’m surprised you already have the iPhone4 here!”
“We have everything!”
“You really do!”
“Here, look at this!” the shopkeeper’s wife interjected and thrust into view a life-sized paper iPad (with faux leather case!)

Everything here is made of paper to be burned. It’ll end up in heaven with your ancestors, that way. The washing machine, the clothes, the iPhone, the old man. Okay, not the old man. He’s real.


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/ by The WooLand Hotel / 2 Comments
Holy Curiosities / , , , ,

Celebrating Easter in China…

When you’re in a country that doesn’t officially celebrate Easter, like China, sometimes you get nervous.  Will the Easter Bunny get his visa yanked at the last-minute?  Are you sure those chocolate eggs are melamine-free?   Is the holiday even legal here?

Well, we had those same concerns too, but finally decided China’s gonna love Easter!

Good Friday
First, start your Easter right, with a large order of “Holy Fries” for Good Friday.  Weren’t chips Jesus’ favorite snack?  Even if they weren’t, they’ll go great with your Friday fish.

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/ by Dean Pickles / 3 Comments