Category Archives: Holy Curiosities

Holy Curiosities / ,

You’ll Have to Watch Out For Human Skulls in This 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.

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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.

Now Ahalya was gorgeous. Like, insanely gorgeous.

Ahalya-600x600

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 /

So this guy walks into a bar…

mela

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

/ by Dean Pickles / 1 Comment
Holy Curiosities / ,

Did You Know that Hindus are Actually 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.

graveyard1_zps09ce07ef

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 / ,

The Best Way to Stop People Urinating On Your Wall

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

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

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

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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 (dawnxianamoon.com) 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 /

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 / ,

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
Historical Wonders, Holy Curiosities / ,

The Story of (These Creepily Awesome) Big Head Buddhas, with video

Michelle’s spent a slew of Chinese New Years here in Beijing, but she’s never seen these before — 大头娃娃 (Dàtóu wáwá or Dai Tao Fut) — incredible paper mache masks that we found in the back of a junk store, in Bangkok’s Chinatown.  In English, they’re called Big Headed Buddhas, and for just a few dollars each, how could we resist picking them up!?!

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/ by Dean Pickles / 2 Comments
Holy Curiosities / ,

Strange Moments in a Bangkok Temple

Wat Suwannaram, a 12th-century temple, is hidden on the far side of the river in Bangkok. It’s remote — no tourists, only two praying women in short skirts (they’d left their high heels outside.) The real draw here is the mouth-dropping murals, which tell the most bizarre and glorious tales. While we tiptoed around, a couple of masked women carefully touched up the murals, many of which were fading and cracked.

An old hag gets waylaid:

Old Hag Gets Waylaid

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/ by Dean Pickles / 3 Comments