So this day was to be started with a long bus ride. And when I say long, I really mean it. What was planned to be a short trip to the ATM turned out to be a 2 hours joyride in Delhi’s hopelessly congested traffic system. At least we could get our eyes on some iconic New Delhi buildings like the presidential residence and the beautiful consular district.
After a short stop at a local mosque we continued our tour on foot. What we’ve experienced in the narrow back alleys of Old Delhi was beyond comparison to a common western European eye – and nose. The off odors in the streets, as well as their crowded and sketchy nature caused an uncomfortable feeling in some of us. However, it was undoubtedly a mixture of impressions that you could hardly find in any other Indian city.
As the traffic jam threw us a little behind schedule we made a cut here and hired a couple of rickshaws back to our bus which took us to a very decent restaurant for lunch.
The afternoon was supposed to get us acquainted with the world famous Indian spices and their effects on our health. First, though, we took a little walk through the whole spice market where vendors presented miscellaneous goods from all over the sub continent that kept all of our senses busy. At the end of our excursion we all had the opportunity to get hold of some high quality spices for their own homes.
After the spice market we drove outwards the crowded heart of Old Delhi in some of the numerous available rickshaws.
We were happy to finally reach the bus – it has been a busy day after all and it was time to head back to the hotel, or actually to the tailor shop for some of us. So the only thing left on the list was the long long ride back through the crazy roads of Delhi.
The first part of today’s schedule was the trip to the “Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Guruji Ashram “ an international center for the “Art of Living” organization which was founded in 1981 by a spiritual leader of the same name. So after a rich, but for the most of us rather short breakfast at the hotel, our bus driver fired up his engine to take us to what would be a very strange, yet interesting experience in many ways.
The foundation’s premises which are situated close to Bangalore’s city limits are generously framed by it’s large perimeter containing a diverse amount of plantations, trees and ponds. People from all over the world pilgrimage to this location in order to meditate and to find their peace of mind.
Correspondingly irritating was the fact that we were welcomed by a traditionally dressed indian employee sporting two BlackBerry smartphones who seemed to be pretty busy hammering out messages at that time.
However, eventually we took the tour to the site’s several spiritual monuments.
After learning about the backgrounds of the “Art of Living” concept and their Guruji it was time for some lunch. The lunch turned out to be not everyone’s idea of culinary excellence so the events at the organization’s canteen have inflicted mixed feelings within the tour’s participants.
Fully rested we approached the last part of this journey to our innermost thoughts.
One of the most important men in the foundation’s circles is a Swiss guy who patiently shared his comprehensive knowledge about meditation and also about his organization from a business perspective.
It was indeed a very enlightening discussion with critical as well as curious questions about his way of life and his decision to dedicate his life and his passion to the “Art of Living”.
Subsequently we had the honor to enjoy a short but strengthening meditative session which, as I’m guessing, was a rather new experience for most of us.
To finalize our journey we went on a little ride around the beautiful area where we were informed about the community’s self-sustaining setup.
All in all it was a very pleasant day with many new impressions which was perfect to top with a few cold drinks at our Hotel’s own poolside bar.