RPE INDIA 2019 Day 2

Day 2 entailed an early start and a bus ride across the city to the Swaminarayan Akshardharm Hindu Temple complex, the third largest in the world. This was an extraordinary architectural feast spread out over many acres of land with fountains, vast walls of carvings and traditionallt sculpted pillars and domes. Next we took a short bus ride over to the iconic Bahai Lotus temple, set in well manicured gardens. Once inside peace and silence descended and we found time to prepare ourselves for one of the highlights of the visit. The next spiritual venue proved to be perhaps the most challenging as we entered the ancient Sufi shrine complex dedicated to the saint Nizramudin Auliya. Here students were confronted by an intense crush of humanity in all its shapes and forms and all focused in devotional acitivity around the central shrine which was packed with pilgrims and accompanied by the vocal acrobatics of a group of Qwalli musicians…many of us were faced with having to come to terms with an entirely alien and other way of belief and for some it proved to be an uncomfortable but ultimately rewarding experience. Later the tensions of euphoric panic were dissolved as we found ourselves bathing in the melodic serenity and peace of the city’s central Sikh Gurdwara where students got involved in preparing food in the Gurdwara’s charitable kitchen or langor.

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