Recently I went to Narita-san (成田山); a temple which was founded way back in 940 AD. Ofudo-sama (God of Fire) is the main deity at Narita-San temple, which is not a common sight in Japanese temples. Every day, the Ogoma Kito prayers (御護摩祈祷) are performe d to call on the deity to bless and fulfil the wishes of people. Magnificent gold structure hangs from the ceiling, a drum as big as a man’s height is constantly beaten throughout the prayers, one can literally feel its vibration straight in the heart. The atmosphere is filled with the Mantras chanted by the monks and spiritual music played in the background. Chief priest sits right in the centre and lights the fire by burning gomasticks (made from wood) with the wishes written on it by the people. The spiritual ambience brings calmness and a sense of devotion in the heart, putting an end to our hovering worldly thoughts for a while. For a moment it felt like, I was sitting in the premises of a temple back in India. It’s absolutely a rare occasion in Japan to see such a religious proceeding carried out with so much faith and belief.
Apart from the main temple, a three-storied Pagoda, Narita-san Park (spread over 165,000 sq m) with a pond and waterfall and some more attractions add to the beauty of Narita-san.
PS After paying the visit, I was served a completely vegetarian meal (which was of course not on the menu) at a nearby restaurant named Oomiya(近江屋), famous for its eel (うなぎ)dishes! A perfect example of Omotenashi (おもてなし)!