I have been putting off writing this entry, cause I was intending to do a little research first in order to better inform. Well, I have been too busy to get around to it, and don't want to miss out on writing it altogether, so here is the un-researched version:
Every year for some religious festival, thousands of folks walk hundreds of miles to a temple in Rajasthan. India hosts festivals for just about everything every other day, so I understand I am being very vague here.
Anyway, we were wanred that our travel through the region would coincide with this pilgrimage, causing tremendous traffic delays. It did slow us down quite a bit, but we felt incredibly fortunate to have been on the road at this time. It was truly awe-inspiring.
Throughout our journey, we saw hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people. Men, women, children, elderly, disabled. Traversing hundreds of miles, many of them barefoot. And a devout few, ROLLING on the ground, the entire way. Every few miles there would be camps set up offering shaded, blanketed grounds, free food and drink, music and various other festivities. You'd see people gathered together in prayer, eating, napping, dancinging in the streets, doing their laundry on the side of the road and hanging colorful clothes all across thorny bush fields to dry.
Cars would drive by, honking and cheering in support. Vans mounted with giant speakers would blast Indian classics for all to sing along. At the spot which marks entrance to the temple's vicinity, almost everyone still donning footwear will discard it here. They never come back for them, nor the city to clean it up, so thousands and thousands of identical sandals have piled up here over the years. That I wasn't quicker with my camera is incredibly disappointing. I also wish that I took better video of the event. What a sight.
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