Wow – time has gone by so quickly it feels like. It’s already Wednesday morning here in Ahmedebad; I cannot believe the week is already halfway over.
On Saturday of last week we had a free day to finish getting settled into the campus and get acclimated to jetlag. We spent the afternoon watching 3 Idiots – a Bollywood film about these three Indian students in a prestigious engineering college that struggle a lot with the cultural importance of being an engineer. The movie was really funny, but definitely hit an important factor that students here struggle with. Most families decide as a whole what it is the students will study and it ends up being engineering, science, or accounting – regardless of what the student is passionate about. But the movie depicts the hardships the students face while at the engineering institute and the struggles they have with their families and their future career. It was such a great movie – and I’m hoping to get a copy before I leave for the States!
Sunday we had a busy day ahead of us. All the graduate and undergraduate students departed from campus around 8 a.m. to visit three places around Ahmedabad. We first journeyed two hours to vist the Modhera Sun Temple. This was absolutely beautiful! The architecture of the temple was absolutely beautiful! The temple was built around 1026 A.D. for the followers of Hinduism to come worship the Sun God, Lord Surya.
Our tour guide mentioned that most of the detailing depicts a story for those to come and understand more about the culture of the area. There are different sections of the temple (on the outside) that depict different shrines, warriors, erotic art and goddesses – there was even a section in the architecture that depicts the proper way to bear a child with a midwife.
After the visit to the Sun Temple we made our way back in to Ahmedabad (another 2 hour drive) to visit the Adalaj (step-well). This well was created in 1499 A.D. by Queen Rudaba and was dedicated to her late husband and given to the community. The well goes down five stories under ground and you can feel the temperature vary up to 5 degrees different when you get to the bottom of the well.
It is no longer a live step-well, but the architecture is absolutely stunning. This is one thing that I keep noticing all around India – there is such a large presence of rich architecture! Everything has such exquisite detail – I’m just in awe every time we visit a historical monument!
And the last stop of the day on Sunday was to the Sabarmati Ashram. This was the location of the spiritual home that Gandhi lived in most of his adult life up until his assassination in 1947.
The Ashram now has a museum dedicated to the life and mission of Gandhi – and I believe there is also a school on the grounds of the Ashram dedicated to Gandhi. While visiting the Ashram we were able look around and see where Gandhi lived, and explored the museum that depicted different stages of his life and big events during his movement in India. I was given the opportunity to spin yarn on Gandhi’s front porch while visiting the Ashram. The guide even said that I was spinning high quality yarn! It was fun to sit on Gandhi’s porch and just envision him being there. Spinning yarn was something he did on a daily basis, so to be able to do that on his porch was just an awesome experience!
There were tons of families there visiting the Ashram – as it is a high tourist attraction of India. The kids loved taking photos – here’s a picture Allison and I took with a couple of boys. Even though there was a language barrier you can still sense how sweet and pure these boys are! The picture below is the view from the backside of Gandhi’s house on the Ashram grounds. It just looked so beautiful!
What more would Americans want to do to finish off the 4th of July while studying in India? Fireworks and music of course! Lauren brought the music out on her iHome and we had tons of fireworks. It felt so good to have a bit of home with me.
Well – this is an update on my busy weekend. I’ll try to post again on Friday about how my class is going and how our first corporate visit goes tomorrow! I miss you all so much and I look forward to being reunited with my family and friends when I get home. As each day goes on I am continually reminded how blessed I am not only to be studying in this country, but also to be an American.