The Imaginative traveller – Delhi, and another temple

I was pretty excited to join my first multi-day Imaginative Traveller tour, starting in Delhi with a group of 7 tourist (4 Brits, 2 Canadians and myself.) and a local Indian guide called Apji.

T – ‘Cool! Is that our bus?’ (pointing to the large schmick modern-day coach approaching but already knowing that the answer was no – Our bus was more like a family traveling van.

Jason, boyfriend of Scott, who are a lovely Canadian couple, responds ‘Now now, bigger does not mean better’, crosses his arms over his chest.

T, embarrassed and apologetic – ‘No no, of course not!’, afraid to have already offended a fellow tour mate on the first day.

Jason, leans in ‘no seriously, bigger is better.’

We laugh. Our Indian tour guide Apji totally missed the meaning behind our burst of giggles and continues to justify the tours cosy mini van.

The first day was a tour around Delhi, to Hindu temples, a sikh temple where devotees bathed and drank water from these holy, and might I add filthy, bathing tubs, pay our respects at the Gandhi memorial, whose birthday it had been the day prior, a war memorial, and a visit to the Indian Parliament House where monkeys were on the loose – what else do you expect from a political estate?!

To be honest, I had been templed out a long time ago, and these days if it wasn’t an ‘Angkor Wat’, I found it really hard to get interested in temple hopping, which is a bummer attitude especially being in India (No disrespect intended).

However, during our tour of the Hindu temple I came to realise that I had learnt far more from the ashram than earlier appreciated. As Apji briefly explained the top guns of the 330 million Indian Gods that derived from Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Operation) and Shiva (Destruction), I had already developed a deeper understanding and appreciation of the religion than those in my group.

Flash back to the Ashram as I struggled to understand why anyone would worship a God of destruction. It had been explained at a molecular level in one of the lectures

Israeli devotee and teacher – ‘Everything in life needs creation, maintenance and destruction. Look into your body, what it needs to do in order to survive. Your cells are created and if left to multiply without having the old cells destroyed, you get sick, you get cancer. Old cells need to die in order for new cells to generate and be healthy. That is living. You need to maintain, clean out the garbage, keep creating and moving forward.’

At that moment I understood that these 330 million Gods were symbolic/representative of the necessities of living life. Or at least the main-stream Gods seemed to be.

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