The ITSA interns took a tour of some sights around Ahmedabad; we went to the Sun Temple, the Step wells, a replica of a famous temple, and the Gurudwara. It was amazing to think of how old all the landmarks are. India is one of the oldest cultures in the world, yet I know so little about it. I need to learn more!
There were some beautiful carvings in and around the temple, depicting various scenes. I find it fascinating that there are over 3 million gods in Hinduism, and that the same 3 million gods are still a part of the Hinduism today.
I think that of all the places that we saw that day, The Sun Temple was my favorite. It still amazes me that something that old could exist, but kind of in the middle of nowhere. It is centuries older than the entirety of the United States! It puts history into a very different perspective. To see how much has changed from the original culture in India, while in America is seems like it is stuck in the past sometimes. Some of the carved scenes showed how revered women were in Hinduism, because they were the ones who birthed the children. Now, India is known for being dangerous for women. Where did that change happen? I guess that if a culture is around for a long time, there is more room for it to change. Change is necessary, but how does a culture become more conservative than how it started out?
The Step Wells were also very beautiful. It was not what I was expected. I thought there would just be a few wells, with a simple temple around it. I did not think that the temples would be built down into the ground. They are five stories deep!
We didn’t have a tour guide for the Step Wells, so I had to do my own research when I got back to the ITSA flat. I found that even though the wells are very beautiful, they were used for somewhat ordinary purposes. People went there to bathe, drink, and wash clothes; they also held rituals there.
There is also a legend attached to the Stepwells. A Hindu king, Rana Veer Singh, was attacked, and killed by a Muslim king, Mohammed Begda. The Muslim king took over his territory. He wanted to marry the Hindu king’s beautiful wife, Rani Roopba, so he proposed. She agreed to marry him, but only if he would finish building the Stepwell. He agreed, and finished it. He reminded the queen of her promise, but because Rani considered her goal completed, which was to finish her husband’s Stepwell, she drowned herself in the well. Tragic, like all legends seem to be.
After this, we went back home and even fit in some work later in the day. Workshops are still being made, we can’t believe that there are only 2 weeks left of workshops!
Sadie Rain is a student at Brown University. She was the Publicity Director for ITSA in 2013.