Saturday, June 14, 2008
It’s tough when you’re a solitary person trying to acclimatize to an area of overpopulation. Personal space is a commodity that I can’t figure out how to buy. But it’s tougher still when you’re carted around like school children for 3 days with a group of 30 some fellow scholars. Stuffed into a bus for periods of 8 – 24 hours under the guise of a pilgrimage.
It’s not uncommon for pilgrimages to involve a certain amount of struggle and deprivation. After all, this collective minor suffering will only make your holy destination all the more divine. But we are not real pilgrims. We are not Jains. And we are not so pure of soul as not to detest each other at moments.
It is clear that the 24 Tirthankaras can’t answer prayers (see my 2nd post). Because I’ve been asking for some freedom and personal space for hours and I’m still stuck on this bus with someone’s feet in my back.
Regardless, we saw some pretty cool stuff en route:
A: A giant Jina (Tirthankara) in Mathura, just a few hours outside of Delhi.
B: Experiencing some serious vertigo at Gwalior. Home of several towering Tirthankaras carved right into the rockface. Miraculously, these thousands of years old figures survived the iconoclasm of Islamic Invaders.
C: Some inner temple archways at Sonagiri (Gold Mountain), our temporary home during the pilgrimage.
D: Sonagiri hillside. Home of 84 Jain temples all in one place.