Every Thursday evening, the world stops for a moment inside Nizamuddin Dargah. A soul-stirring rendition of popular qawwalis set to lilting tunes and of simple yet poetic language, gushes forth from the proficient Qawwals who lead the troupe. You will be treated to some of the most popular songs as well as the classics. Once you drink to your soul’s content, take a trip to the nearest eatery that locals swear by, for a bite of yummy goodness.
Monumental domes that rise out of the ground, once thought lost to the overgrown jungles of central India, are remnants of what used to be a flourishing cult of Buddhism under the Mauryan Empire. A calmness pervades this UNESCO World Heritage Site as you weave through the morning fog and get a closer look at complex, carved panels and statues. As one of the oldest stupas in the country, the place offers insight into eras past.
The image of happy, rose-cheeked Buddhist monk babies, coloured Buddhist flags flying across misty mountains, locals clamouring around quaint shops, and hypnotic chants in the air, captures Tawang in a nutshell. It boasts some impressive virtues as the second largest monastery in the world. It makes you wonder if the Buddhists are proponents of ‘Go big or go home’!
Deities and mythos are entwined in the Indian psyche, and as much as it is an intriguing prospect to study their origins, daily rituals are just as enthralling. In the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, every night, song and dance follows the divine procession of Lord Shiva being taken to Meenakshi’s abode in a palanquin. While you wait for the procession to begin, we urge you to try the famous Jigarthanda – an anytime drink for the weary, sun-worn traveler.
The saying ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’ is taken to a whole new level at the Golden Temple where meals are served at any time of the day! Leave your labels at the door and dine with men and women as equals. Sikhs are also happy to invite people of all faiths to carry their Holy Book in a golden palanquin around the temple before returning it to its resting place. Partake in traditions as old as time and you just might find a little bit of yourself.