So far on this 2017 J-term trip to India the most fascinating things I have seen so far have been the temples. We visited the Iskom Temple in Deli our first day in the country and it was an enthralling experience. The Iskom Temple in particular was my favorite temple to visit. The Iskom Temple sits on top of a hill in New Deli. It is an open air building with many levels and alcoves. The architecture is so unique. The experience of walking barefoot up marble steps into the temple was so calming. Our class entered wide doors to see large motifs and artwork placed around the room. People chanting and playing music echoed from the high ceiling and the smell of incense filled the air. People sat on rugs and meditated. It was unlike any other religious practice I’ve ever seen.
I was fascinated by the Hindu temple which was open to the public with so many people coming together to practice the beliefs they all share. What I saw was a place for people to escape the chaotic streets of Deli and find a sense of calm and center. Additionally, this temple could serve as a safe place for people who have felt they don’t fit it with people around them who practice a different religion. Everyone who experienced the Iskom Temple with me seemed to be very appreciative of the experience. My classmates were amazed and mystified by what they saw. I heard one student explain her experience as “pure” which I thought was an excellent explanation of my emotional response to this experience.
The part of this venture I particularly liked was that I was able to experience a religious practice that was so different from anything I have ever witnessed, in another part of the world. It was such a great opportunity to gain perspective on another religion. I feel experiences like these make people more well-rounded and understanding of cultures different than your own.