“If I told you about a land of love,
Friend, would you follow me and come?”
If anything could be quoted to a foreigner about India, it would probably be this little couplet by Yunus Emre. For what is India if not a land of love? One that manifests in varied colours and cultures, temples and mosques, festivals and celebrations, palaces and ruins…
The cultural kaleidoscope of India is so vast that it gives you a fresh peep into new vistas every time you turn. From the great mausoleum of the Taj Mahal to the temples of Badri-Kedar in the Himalayas, Yoga Ashrams of Rishikesh to the tall temples of Kerala – your cultural footprint through India will remain one cherished memory.
The life in Taj Mahal
Sure, Taj Mahal is constructed in the memory of the dead, but what is this mausoleum-monument if not a manifestation of love, and therefore life? It celebrates the life of Shahjahan’s love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, one that flourished even in her death.
Badrinath and Kedarnath
The Badrinath and Kedarnath temples are dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Shiva respectively. While Vishnu preserves the life of this world, Shiva destroys it when the time comes. Devotees throng to these temples when they open (from April to November), chanting hymns and singing praises. Such is the love of devotees that even the elderly trek up the mighty Himalayan peaks to reach their destination.
Ashrams of Yoga
The culture of Yoga has been practised in India since time immemorial. Many foreign tourists prefer to come to the ashrams of Rishikesh and Varanasi in order to learn Yoga, find inner peace and be able to love themselves for who they are. Even The Beatles came here at one point.
Palaces and Temples of Rajasthan
The desert land of Rajasthan narrates the lore of Rajput bravery, those warriors who ruled, fought and died for the love of their people. The palaces here each have their own story to tell, from Udaipur’s City Palace to Jaipur’s Hawa Mahal. The temples are dedicated to beloved deities too, from Ajmer Sharif Dargah to Nathdwara’s Shrinathji Temple. Grand Indian festivals of Holi (colours) and Diwali (Lights) are celebrated here with great pomp.
Intricacies of Kerala temples
Kerala is a picturesque state of southern India, suffused with idyllic backwaters and coconut trees. It is also home to a unique set of temples that are so tall and intricately carved, they will leave you simply awestruck. The Padmanabhaswamy Temple is a brilliant burst of Dravidian architecture, while Guruvayur Temple holds a deity carved out of a stone that has medicinal properties. Devotees come from far and wide to participate in a ritual to feed their child its first grain-meal here.
These are just pin-points picked up from the greater tapestry that is India. But if one delves into the rich weaving of this ancient culture, it will be a dive sans bottom. There are so many more facets and so many more colours to be explored in India, yet most of them cannot be captured on a 2-D space with words as tools. It indeed is a land of love, and all you must do is follow your heart as it takes you to India.