The pictures of our pilgrimage to India only tell ¼ of the story. It is the sounds and the smells of India that truly make it a rich and transformational experience. Start with the sounds of the temple chanting, the drums, cymbals, clapping and overall enthusiasm of every chant. Back up a little in the day – say 3 am – and the dogs are barking and the sounds of the villagers wading up stream are heard through my bedroom window.
Clanging bells as they prepare the temple, roosters crowing, cats fighting, motorcycles starting, crows and other birds beginning their morning chant. Morning in Ganeshpuri is filled with the scent of fires starting, incense, sulphur from the local hot springs and chai brewing. Are you here yet?
As the day goes on, the air is filled until the sounds and smells of life. Children laughing, racing for a spot at the front of the temple. Conch shells announce the next round of prayers; bells and drums fill the air! Beggars motion for food outside the temple, shop keepers raise their metal doors, more fires are lit to cook food, burn garbage and provide a little heat in the morning.
Dressed in saree’s, the women carry water in jugs on their heads and flat pans with bricks in the local fields. The smell of dust and hot earth begin to fill the day. Just like there is a rhythm to the temple and village life, there is a rhythm to the smells and sounds. All you have to do is close your eyes and take it in.