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India has long been recognised as the birthplace of Hinduism. With a bustling population of 1.22 billion it continues to be ‘the’ destination for yoga, meditation and spiritual practices.
For me, India brings images of peaceful looking yogis sitting under shady mango trees sharing their wisdom with spiritual-seekers, or beautiful sari-clad women with silvered noses and bindied foreheads serenely picking marigolds.
I see ashrams where people from all over the world can find inner peace, gathered together in dawn-lit rooms, their bodies in lotus positions, faces glowing with serenity.
I recall colorful images of India with its bustling cities, crowded streets, stifling heat, impossible traffic and all over beautiful, smiling people.
I love India and want to go back - to re-experience the sounds and scents of this amazing country. My last visit was 17 years ago – here are some of the things I’d like to discover on my next journey, which I’m hoping will be sometime soon...
1. Experience life in an ashram – Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ came about after living in an Indian Ashram – opening this new world to many others.
Although the practice of yoga and meditation can be anywhere it would be transforming to set aside some time to really just focus on my spirituality far from the Western world and immerse myself within the spiritual center of the world, India. To be in the now, learning from a yogi master, living simply each and everyday, only to be occupied with meditation, yoga and the simple practice of service.
2. Have a Happy Holi – If there’s ever a more colorful, festive and enjoyable holiday in India, it has to be Holi. With masses of people candidly throwing coloured powder at each other on the streets then being doused with buckets of water, seemingly without a care in the world.
You’ll see a rainbow of colours in the midst of a Holi celebration. The significance of the holiday itself is as exuberant as its colorful rituals. Celebrated as a day of goods victory over evil, Holi is a vivid reminder of the importance of being truthful and honest in our daily transactions. Now isn’t that something worth celebrating?
3. Ayurvedic healing – What better way to experience true Ayurvedic medicine for your wellbeing than in its country of origin India? This alternative form of healing has always fascinated me, not just because of its ancient roots but also because of its holistic approach to health. Ayurvedic massages are transforming, therapeutic and relaxing and I’d love try one in India. Ayurveda is popular in the southern parts of India, particularly Kerala with some beautiful retreats such as Rasa Ayurveda Retreat; this has to be one of my stops.
4. See the Taj Mahal – One of the worlds seven wonders. Few come close to the grand structure, beauty and intricate design of the Taj. They say the very sight is enough to bring even the most cold-hearted to tears. It would fascinating to reach such emotional heights just gazing at a living reminder of a man’s immense love for his wife.
Famous quotes on the Taj Mahal:
"It appears like a perfect pearl on an azure ground. The effect is such I have never experienced from any work of art." British painter, Hodges
"I cannot tell what I think. I do not know how to criticize such a building but I can tell what I feel. I would die tomorrow to have such another over me." British officer, Colonel Sleeman's wife
"Did you ever build a castle in the Air? Here is one, brought down to earth and fixed for the wonder of ages.” American novelist, Bayard Taylor
"On a white marble terrace an immaterial light shell like the apartments of the blessed, whose foot does not touch ordinary ground.” Swiss Art Historical Luminary, Heinrich Wolfflin
"A massive marble structure, without weight, as if formed of ether, perfectly rational and at the same time entirely decorative, it is perhaps the greatest art work which the forming spirit of mankind has ever brought forth.” German Philosopher, Count Hermann Keyserling
I could take forever to give breath all the wonders there are to experience in India; I would love to hear yours... Namaste!