On our trip to Mount Abu we stopped at a couple of sites, including this stepwell. It was uncovered recently, and it is in remarkably good condition. The well would have contained a great water supply, but it is almost completely dry now.
Archive for March, 2008
For 850 years a small group of families in the town of Patan in Gujarat state have been practicing the art of patola weaving. We were fortunate to receive a tour of the home of one of the families, who demonstrated the technique and showed us samples of their work. The weavers tie cotton knots on top of silk thread, then dye the thread in stages. The technique produces different patterns and colors, which determine the design of the weaving.
All over India last night, Hindus marked the beginning of spring with the ritual bonfires signaling the start of the festival of Holi. The story, which comes from Hindu mythology, is a reminder of the cyclical rhythm of nature, of destruction and renewal. Long ago there lived a demon king Hiranyakashipu who was angered by the death of his brother at the hands of Lord Vishnu. The king spent many years in disciplined spiritual practice, praying, performing pujas, and practicing yoga. His piety was noticed by the god Brahma, who agreed to grant him a boon. From that day forward, he could not be killed during the day nor at night, not by human nor animal, not inside nor outside, and not on the earth nor in the sky. He then ordered the subjects of his kingdom to worship him instead of god. The king’s son Prahlad refused, insisting that only god was worthy of worship. The king’s sister Holika had been granted a boon that she could not be destroyed by fire, so together they hatched a plan to kill Prahlad. Holika tricked Prahlad and dragged him into a fire set by the king. But they had forgotten that Holika was immune to fire only if she entered by herself. So Holika was destroyed, while the pious Prahlad was saved. The king in his anger smashed a pillar, out of which emerged a beast that was half lion and half human. The beast dragged the king to the doorway and threw him onto his lap. The last thing the king saw was the final sliver of the setting sun as the beast slashed his belly. The people of the kingdom rejoiced for their freedom from the tyranny of the demon king. They celebrated with a great feast, and decorated every home and building with the colorful flowers of spring.
Returning from my morning walk with Daffy, I was happy to see the sun peeking over neighboring rooftops. Living on the west coast of India, I am blessed with many breathtaking sunsets but I rarely witness the rising sun. This was a special treat for me because today… I am thirty-two years old. I smile at the synchronicity of viewing the sun rise on the first day of my new year.
After two weeks of clumsy and awkward attempts to learn the steps in my body conditioning class, I finally mastered “the routine”. I realized that my body was doing just what it was supposed to do at the same moment my instructor noticed. She gave a huge smile and a thumbs-up, and my heart absolutely soared. The experience is still a little too fresh to convey the depth of the healing I experienced in that moment. Freedom, not just in my body but in my mind. This morning I took a great big step-kick-cha-cha-cha toward remembering the perfect healthy wholeness that is my body united with spirit.