By Serena Patel
When you think of India, you may think about the crazy traffic, the spicy foods, or the millions of people. You may not think about the history, the architecture, and the temples. In the midst of all this, all I feel when I go to India is peace. Complete peace in chaos, and I’ve learned to love it each time I go back.
This past summer, my family and I dropped everything for 20 days and travelled to New Delhi, India. We spent 20 days travelling in a caravan with our driver throughout Northern India. We saw sights such as the Himalayas and the Taj Majal and set out to explore the small towns of Shimla, Mussorie, and the most spiritual of them all, Haridwar.
Driving through the beginnings of the Himalayas was beautiful. Lush green trees surrounding you and there are mountain temples at the peaks. Once I got out of the car at the top of the mountains, there was not another human noise made. All I could hear was the sound of the wind and the birds.
Haridwar is the most spiritual place in India. Every single night, there are hundreds of thousands of people gathering around the Ganges River, bathing in the river in hope that God will grant them redemption from past sins or that their family’s lives will thrive. Wishes are granted here. It is a magical place to be. At 6 o’clock each night, the people all gather around the river once more and sing the aarti. We were lucky enough to witness a spiritual holiday going on while we were in India. It is called the holiday of Shivratri. Shivratri is a chance for the young boys in all the villages all over India to walk all the way to Haridwar and to bring water back from the sacred river to their villages. There were boys that had walked hundreds of miles barefoot with their brothers and friends to go get this water. It was incredible to see the devotion that is still present in Hindu culture today.
India has always been a home to me and will continue to be for the rest of my life. I left feeling a little bit better about some worries I had about senior year, and it was awesome to have a reminder of where I come from and how beautiful this world can be.