India – Temples Tombs and Traditions

Image by Bishnu Sarangi from Pixabay

Even with all of the traveling we have done there are still some destinations we have missed. Many are small, out of the way places that could be easy to overlook, but one in particular stands out as a very big missing link in our chain of journeys… India.

When we got to thinking about going there the Taj Mahal jumped to mind, but as we dug a little deeper into our research we found that the Indian subcontinent is packed with many other marvelous monuments that easily rival that most famous mausoleum.

That led to us wondering what would be the best way to travel around in India to see them and Indigo was the airline that kept coming up. With flights to over six hundred cities we can get almost anywhere.

Image by shalender kumar from Pixabay

So we decided that we should begin with the World Heritage Site Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi, which while it is not as well known, is nearly as impressive as the TajMahal.

New Delhi is also home to the Hindu temple Swaminarayan Akshardham. This more modern landmark was opened in 2005 and features several unique attractions to go along with its spectacular architecture that is a blend of styles from all across the country.

We love boats, so the Sanskruti Vihar is definitely something we won’t want to miss. This twelve minute boat ride travels through ten thousand years of India’s history using state of the art robotics to depict life in the Vedic Age.

The temple also houses Delhi’s first and only large format screen theatre, showing the movie Mystic India. The film chronicles the pilgrimage of Swaminarayan across Indian subcontinent as an adolescent.

Before leaving Delhi we would certainly want to stop at the Bahá’í Lotus Temple as well. This is another modern marvel and is modeled after a lotus blossom.

Image by harmeet9000 from Pixabay

After that we could book a flight ticket to the city of Junagadh for a visit to the Mahabat Maqbara. This magnificent mausoleum holds the tomb of Bahaduddinbhai Hasainbhai and incorporates elements of Islamic, Gothic, and European design.

Heading back up north to Agra we could finish up at the Crown of the Palace, the Taj Mahal. Made of white marble, the mausoleum dates back to 1632, when it was commissioned by the emperor Shah Jahan.

UNESCO has called it “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.” We just call it one of the last major items to check off of our bucket list.

As we investigated Indian culture further, we discovered a few traditions that could come in handy when we travel to India.

First, it is important to take off your shoes when entering all mosques, churches, and temples. While this is common for mosques throughout the world, in India it is considered rude not to remove footwear in any house of worship.

Image by swamiananda from Pixabay

We will also want to perfect our Namaste, meaning I bow to you. This is perhaps the most popular of all Indian customs and is one of the five traditional forms of greeting that are mentioned in the ancient Hindu scriptures.

Lastly, we were excited to learn that it is almost always time for a festival in India. Because the country is home to so many diverse religions and groups, celebrations happen all throughout the year.

We can hardly wait to join in ourselves.

David and Veronica,

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