Gentle Bamboo Solutions

How Many Pillars? 107 or 109?


I grew up in a small town called Gulbarga. There’s a bizarre story about a temple in a village nearby I want to share with you today.

The temple is about 400 years old and there is no deity worshipped there today. It is an eerie place and is mostly deserted. It is supposed to have 108 pillars. Notice how I say “supposed to”.

A fact as basic as the number of pillars in a temple should be easily verifiable, right? Wrong.

The story we heard growing up is that if you were to count all the pillars, you would always end up with either 107 or 109, and never 108. One more or one less. Never the exact number.

I thought it was scary. Many, rightly so, though it was dumb. To disprove this silly and frankly dumb story, a bunch of high schools science students planned an excursion. Exactly 108 of them. The idea was that each student was supposed to stand holding on to one pillar until everyone was part of this experiment.

After the students assembled back, it was found that one student was missing. She had disappeared without a trace. Never to be found again.


In hindsight, there are three things that stand out to me about this story.

  1. It seems silly now, but as an 8-year old, I was genuinely scared.
  2. I still don’t have the guts to go try that experiment if I was somehow able to bring together 108 people.
  3. Bizarre stories have a way of staying in your memory years or even decades later.

What’s my point? Well, I wanted to share this story with you. It was a big part of my growing up, and I have shared it with many people for years after I heard it. It makes me happy to share it with you as a grown-up, even though you are most likely going to laugh at how silly it is.

All right, that’s not the only reason to share it today. There is another point to it. There is a message in it for you too. To remember and collect stories you grew up with. They are a big part of who you are as an adult. The stories that have shaped you deserve to be told. Share them with the world. 

There is a lot of seriousness and stress in life these days. Add some fun. Add some silliness. Add some nostalgia to it. Make the world a better place – one story at a time.

Tell me a silly story from your childhood. Rack your brains. The sillier, the better. If you can remember it, it means it is significant. Share it with people who attend your training sessions. They will love them. I promise!

Listen to this podcast episode about the value of Anecdotes in your training sessions: