TTC/April/2012 - Mumtaz

The Courtyard at Krishna Cottage - Rishikesh Yog Peeth
We all seemed to have similar stories. Whether we had travelled by day, or by night, we tried to explain the racing of our hearts and the shock in our eyes, as each of our chauffeurs had dodged… by inches…  whole families riding on motor scooters, trucks packed with people to the brim, and cows that were too holy to get out of the way. The ride from Delhi was, undeniably, a roller coaster! As new faces began to gather day by day - and meal by meal - in the dining area at Rishikesh Yog Peeth, the racing in our hearts and the shock in our eyes turned into eloquent stories that evoked bursts of laughter into the courtyard - so strong that many of us required tissues, amusingly quite unavailable in this place that they call INDIA. 

Light Traffic in Delhi
I’d heard from several people that you either love or hate India. Before I shed tears of laughter in camaraderie with fellow students in Rishikesh, I wasn’t entirely sure of my preference – for, India had already led me to shed tears of another sort. As my mother and I tried to explore Delhi, and get transportation to the Taj Mahal, we were scammed again and again by the infamous rickshaw drivers – arriving at the various “Government of India Tourism” offices and handicraft shops rolling out carpets, looking for the next big sale. As I finally broke down, one of the salesmen said, "India's hard!" "Money is nothing!" "Have some tea!" I quickly learned that tea is kind of a big deal here.

The "Government of India" Booking Office
Now, if you’re planning on travelling around India – let me suggest: book trains and tours, well in advance. I consider myself a “cunning traveler” – so, it was quite difficult to let go… and give into the system. However, after three attempts (and almost a half day lost) in the effort to buy tickets to Agra at the train station… my mother and I gave in and hired a car (which was unfortunately more expensive to an exorbitant degree). We arrived in Agra the next day, were dropped at a local hotel for the night, and prepared for a 5:00am pickup to visit the Taj Mahal the following morning. The driver suggested such an early start so we could see the Taj at sunrise. As darkness turned to day, the Taj became an oasis of peace, tranquility, and magnificence. Built by Shah Johan in memory of his wife Mumtaz (who died in childbirth after their fourteenth child), the Taj Mahal is both a symbol of endless, undying love – perhaps a representation of the downside of having 14 children - and also an absolute architectural jewel. It truly is Mumtaz - excellent.

Sunrise at the Taj Mahal
While everyone’s story varied in detail, it seemed that more similarities than differences arose not only between each of our stories of traveling to Rishikesh - and greeting cows and monkeys in town along the path at night - but also in the stories of what drove each of us to INDIA to develop our practice of, and learn to teach, yoga. It is clear that we all share a passion for, and look forward to developing a greater understanding of, life and love. In a sense, we are looking for the light - inner peace and pathways towards understanding each other, our world, and ourselves. 

Welcome Ceremony
On the eve of our first day in this journey, we attended an initiation ceremony where we gathered as a group for the first time and were welcomed into the program. As spirits were called in to assist, I began to realize that I would come to love India.  In Rishikesh, as darkness turns to day, everything seems to become mumtaz. As the sun rises, we start a journey that will certainly have a lasting imprint on each of us. Luckily, we shall be eased into the rollercoaster of India by experiencing it from a true oasis of peace, tranquility, and magnificence - Rishikesh, and Rishikesh Yog PeethMumtaz.

Sunrise in Rishikesh


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