Since my childhood,alongwith other events of India’s freedom struggle,I have heard my mother mention many a times about the controversial disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose,the great freedom fighter of India.His alleged death in a plane crash in Taiwan on Aug 18th,1945,has long been a subject of dispute.Till date we don’t commemorate his death anniversary in India,rather only his bday on Jan.23rd.It is believed that Netaji’s ashes are preserved in an urn in the Renkoji temple(of wealth and prosperity), here in Tokyo.So,that made it one place we had to visit.
After browsing some articles,I came to know that the Indian Embassy doesn’t actually know where this temple is.Though,I can’t vouch for that since I didn’t try that way.I,instead called up the local helpline for foreigners here and enquired about this temple.And there,in a few minutes they had given me the exact address [Renkoji,Suginami-Ku, Wada 3 Choome, 30-20] ,the corresponding commutation and even the phone number.And since the interaction with the caretaker of the temple could only be possible in Japanese,these kind people even went a step further to call the temple themselves and confirmed me that the temple is open to public only once a year i.e. on August 18th, believed to be Netaji’s death anniversary.And so,being in Tokyo at that time we got further determined to definitely pay a visit.It was a Wednesday and hubby managed to take 2 hrs off at lunchtime.We took the subway for the Higashi-Koenji station.After coming out of the station,we turned right and again right to continue along a small road.First it got quite difficult to trace the route and after about 20 mins of wandering around and asking a postman,we were en-route a small lane through a very quiet residential area.When we reached the temple we observed that it isn’t like normal Japanese temples with huge orange Tori gates or orange pillars.Rather it is quite simple and really calm.The calmness around helped ease the anticipation within.This is the first look of the temple.
Some closer looks…
Netaji’s statue with his name inscribed in Japanese..and yes, we could read that !
Then we were directed inside by some people already there..It seemed the main rituals had just been over and people had gathered inside a room for some Prasadam.We went up the stairs for the main hall.And this is what we saw…in complete awe.Alongwith the local Deity of wealth and prosperity,was the framed portrait of Netaji.In front of it was an urn with incense and some holy powders.After offering our prayers,looking around we saw the pictures of former Indian Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru,Atal Bihari Vajpayee amongst others who had visited this temple.But photography was prohibited in that section.But we were more than satisfied with the other snaps we were allowed…
On our way out we signed the visitor’s register and took a happy look at the words of a co-visitor, Sri.Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minsiter of India :)
It was a really lifetime experience to feel so close to Netaji here in Tokyo,across seas from home.It kinda worried us that back in our nation while it’s all still draped behind controversies, atleast in some corner of this city across the Pacific, people pay him fond homage every year !