THE MAGIC OF INDIA :: where miracles happen

November 26, 2013

Last month I was in India,  Japan + Singapore – I thought I’d share with you a little about my adventures.

The first stop: New Delhi, India, for the Global Spa & Wellness Summit.

After 33 hours of travel we arrived to the Delhi airport to find that our luggage had not arrived; our suitcases with everything we needed for the next three weeks were still in Singapore!

Lost Luggage Counter

Lost Luggage Counter

So after filling out paperwork at the baggage desk, we wondered if we would see it again. It’s India after all, which means adventure + unexpected surprises. India is a magical place. Anything, literally anything can happen in India.

We arrived to our hotel at dawn and our hotel, The Trident, was totally unlike any of my other experiences in India. Supremely quiet, with subtle sweet incense burning everywhere, glass-like pools of water, blooming frangipani trees … the perfect place to land after such long flights + no luggage. (Luckily, our luggage got delivered to us around midnight that night!)

A swim in the pool revitalized my jet-lagged bones, a ritual that I would indulge in everyday – wake up with a refreshing swim in the silky water with a poolside meditation, flocks of birds flying overhead + the pool reflecting
the morning sky.

swim + meditation spot

My swimming + morning meditation spot

I spent the first six days in here Delhi for the conference, then traveled with Lisa to spend some time in Bodhgaya + Varanasi. We moved seamlessly from five-star hotels to dirt roads + chickens outside our windows.

Some of the highlights:

A Diwali-like festival at the Taj Hotel with traditional Indian food, decadent rose petal ice cream, live Rajastani music,  exquisite arrays of rose + marigold flower offerings, huge firework displays in the night sky + Bollywood dancing. All of us women wore saris + the men wore long shirts called kurtas.

Sparklers in Saris

Sparklers in Saris

I love wearing a sari – 6 meters of layered velvety fabric with sparkling jewels or patterns – it makes you feel very graceful + elegant. It’s one of the most beautiful + classy ways for a woman to dress. The secret to keep it from falling around your ankles is the tight-waisted “petticoat” underneath, a simple cotton draw-string underskirt that you tuck all the folds of fabric into. Add a pair of gold flip-flops + sparkling bangles around your wrists and you’re set.

Flower Offerings

Flower Offerings

At the end of the night I kicked of my shoes + danced until my legs ached. I couldn’t remember the last time I danced like that, shaking off all inhibitions + letting completely loose, laughing + enjoying friends.

On the third day of the conference, His Holiness the Dalai Lama came to talk. His words woke up insight, joy + compassion in everyone present, but it seemed less about the words + more about the immense energy that blasted the room – that is his presence. I could feel it moving through my legs as I sat quietly. His effect on the crowd is tangible – everyone smiling, laughing, tearing up.

HHDL with Bonnie (1)

His Holiness with my friend Bonnie

When he finished his talk we snuck out to the hall in order to meet him on his way out + to offer a khata. A khata is a white silk offering scarf – it signifies offering your pure body, speech + mind. Usually it’s placed back around your shoulders, signifying being given back your enlightened body, speech + mind.

Khata offering (1)

The Khata

In a whirlwind His Holiness walked by, surrounded by body guards; he took the khata I held out + placed it back on my shoulders. As he walked by friends of mine he did the same or touched them affectionately on the cheek. We stood + watched silently as he walked down the hallway – it was as if time stopped + hung suspended in the air – tears came to my eyes, watching people swirling all around him, this sweet-looking simple monk in robes, his presence as big as a football stadium, blasting everyone with love in the most gentle way.

Bonnie's Wedding

Flower Shower

When the conference ended we were invited to a friend’s intimate wedding – they’re from NY, but decided on a whim to get married in India, Indian-style. The hotel set up an incredible traditional wedding with piles of flower petals – part of the tradition is to shower the bride + groom with petals. It was so intimate – with only about 6 guests + the hotel staff. I’ve never cried at a wedding before, but something about this one got me choked up. The rituals were so touching + I was filled with love + wishes for the couple.

Stay tuned for more travel adventures throughout Singapore + Japan … and part 2 of India

AUTHOR: Katie CATEGORIES: flower power, magic travels
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Makeup Lessons Toronto

Katie,
Thank you for such an amazing story to tell. It brings me to such happiness to know that such beautiful events happen in the world today. Your experience inspires me that beauty does exist and even in the most slightest, dimmest parts of our lives, that there is hope in life, and humanity.
Sometimes we wonder if the things we do impact people but they really do when the intention is there to help make a difference. Thank you for your inspiration and please keep us updated on your life journey 🙂
Olivia.

Reply

Yvonne Freeman

I should have been with you. Sounds so idyllic. i am so happy for you.

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Terri Fedonczak

Katie, this was such a beautiful post, that it brought tears to my eyes. I would love to go with you to India someday 🙂 xo Terri

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Martin Chalk

Katie,
Loved reading your blog. You and Lisa are having a total India experience and you write so descriptively that I can picture it all only too well. You make me miss India.
Have fun,
Martin

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Liz Reinhardt

Hi Katie. Thank you so much for the great story about your trip to India. You have a wonderful way of enjoying life happenings and we really enjoy reading about your experiences and looking forward to more. Much love to you.

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Denise

Katie, you are so naturally poetic and eloquent! You are loved!

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Cindy

Joy, Joy, Joy…. thank you for sharing the Love, warms my heart…teary eyed…happy for all your wonderful, magical experiences!

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Beth

What an adventure. Love you!

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