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India Trip – Day Ten

Day ten dawned just like any other day…  OK, that isn’t true, this one is our anniversary AND it dawned with Sridevi and I following a local guide into the hills near the Borra Caves on a jungle nature walk.  Truly, not like any other dawn for us!

The walk lead us (and a Bengali family) up a track through groves of mango and bamboo, past a tribal village.  The nature part of the walk turned out to be two birds, briefly glimpsed in the distance,  but the views were stunning.  The high-point was that we got to go through the huts that make up a small family farm, complete with goats, cows and the requisite dog.

After a leisurely breakfast of idly we placed our lives back into the hands of Satish (the family driver) and off we went.  Along the way we even got to see the local highway crew, basically a large family working by hand to move stones off the roadway.  As we approached the city, both the road and the traffic congestion grew, until we were back in the thick of it, so to speak.  The whole trek was about an hour, start to finish.

The afternoon was a perfect chance to rest up for the evening’s festivities.  In fact, it also gave me a chance to move the 762 photos from the previous day and a half onto the computer, and sort, cut and post them.

This was my first Indian Pudja (loosely a prayer ceremony) as we prayed to the gods for health, wealth and prosperity.  It was also about learning to sit cross legged on a hard surface for more than an hour and a half.  Luckily, my back and ankles held together and I made it through.  This priest seemed to have a good sense of humor and although he only appears to be about 30, it turns out he has kids in college.

We used liberal amounts of cotton, turmeric, cyan pepper, ghee, flowers, coins, rice and beetle leaves & nuts to feed and cloth the gods.  The ceremony is in Sanskrit which is a very interesting language to hear.  I’m not sure if it is only in prayer, but the prayer is a chant that is somewhat mono-tonal and pleasing to the ear.

The family elders play a large role and we received their blessings, along with those of the priest.  All-in-all, an amazing feeling to be surrounded by such good will.  An integral part of the festivities was a meal served on banana leaves eaten cross-legged on the floor.  This is for sure the culmination of the digression; moving from tables, chairs, plates and silverware all the way to the floor, no plates and our hands.  While I’m not giving up silverware for good, I do understand a connection to the food that comes from using our hands.

Tomorrow, off to Ellora and Ajanta…

From India Trip – Day 3

Posted in Family, India, Photos.

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