Archive for December 2017

ThE EXPERIENCE BEGINS IN OLD DELHI   3 comments

First of all I want to challenge the date I mentioned in the previous post. According to our guide, Muslims invaded India regularly to rape and pillage until 1142 when they decided to stay, destroyed churches and turned some to mosques. And that leads me to point out something about our first sightseeing day in Old Delhi. Right from the beginning there’s the evidence of a mix of religions — not just side by side, but seemingly more intimately connected than that in some cases.

I’m not sure it shows well in the photo, but monks were a common site wherever we went, including at the Gandhi memorial (below). look at the far end.

As the label of the photo indicates, Ghandi was assassinated  on January 3, 1948, shortly after he had accomplished his goal of independence for India.

Assasinated January 3, 1948

There is no doubt Ghandi is revered in India. Each person who did a presentation for us started out with the story of his accomplishments and assassination. In a later blog I’ll take you with me to the site where he was murdered.

Add to this memorial the statue in the same location.

Now on to our next experience. One advantage to being a real grownup is that I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do — well, mostly. Like I don’t have to do that scary thing of climbing long flights of stairs with no railing — unless I really want to reach the goal (In which case there were wonderful people ready to hold my hand.) In the following case, the goal was the Jama Masjid mosque. Karanveer, our guide, was good to me. He helped thread me through the crazy Indian traffic so I could get a photo of the mosque from the bottom of the steps. I left it up to the others to climb to the inside.

But I think I may have had the more memorable experience as someone else threaded me back to the bus so I got a photo of the mosque with a good view of the traffic.

As for the traffic, it’s no news to anyone else who has been there, but the fact is the roads are shared by cars, busses, bicycles, rickshaws, people, cows, motorized rickshaws, and dogs — many of who were sleeping in the middle of the road — all of whom seem to be going wherever and whenever they want to go. But they all survive. Even the cars seem dent free.

We figured out it’s a dance, the rules for which we are not familiar. But on another day, as I was trailing along with the group, following the leader across the street, there was suddenly at my right hand a car. I stopped and threw up my hands (like any good American would do, I guess) and I think the driver did the same. It dawned on me as I made it safely across the street that I had interrupted the dance. If I had just kept going at my pace there would have been plenty of room behind me for the car.

That wasn’t the end of our days adventure. There’s a rickshaw ride to come. But I’m ready for bed now, so that story will have to wait for my next entry.

NAMASTE   10 comments

Namaste: the divine presence in me acknowledges the divine presence in you — hands pressed together with a bow.

Such a beautiful greeting, and such beautiful people to greet. I wish everyone could travel and discover there really is no “other.”

One of our earliest stops was the Qumwat-ul-Islam Mosque in Delhi.

I won’t risk reporting too much history — definitely not one of my strengths — but according to our guide, the Muslims decided somewhere around the eighth century to go beyond plundering forays into India and just move in. One of the fascinating things to observe is the apparent intertwining of Hinduism and Buddhism. In the beginning, rather than a military effort to replace Hinduism, Muslim invaders appealed to what seems to be partial conversion, or  a comfortable blending, with individual differences, of dedication to Hinduism and Buddhism. So it was that we spent time appreciating the sites representing both religions — sometimes, it seemed, at the same time.

Notice the “namaste” greeting in this photo as we first entered the Mosque. And that’s where it started — selfies with Mona. Apparently the Indians like little old American ladies. It started with a group of young people, but soon there were groups wanting selfies with me. Thanks to David Osmundson, one of the members of our delightful Smithsonian group, I have this photo of folks taking photos. Oh my goodness, aren’t they beautiful?

Off to the right of this photo, another woman in our company was entertaining her own group asking to be photographed with her.


But it didn’t  end there. Joyce and I found a quiet place to sit while the photographers among us were exploring possibilities. Again, it began with the young folks, but grew to a regular stream. I did get one man to take a photo on my camera so I could have a record of the love and joy I felt.

And besides. It proves I was there.

There’s more. Doug just sent me a few from his camera. Raw and unedited, so a real gift from him who is so professional.

Now I’ve started. I hope it won’t be too long before I’m back with more for our fabulous days in India and Nepal

 

 

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