Learnings from a Trip to India

This past July I had the incredible opportunity to travel India with other young leaders from around the globe to participate in a learning through travel Programme called 360plus Leadership Collective. 18 of us spent 3 weeks traveling the North and South of India and the lessons I learned will stay with me for a lifetime!

Three Things I Enjoyed

A. Old Delhi: 

Visiting “old delhi” which is the version of India that everyone thinks of when they think of India. Spice markets, Flea markets, Rickshaws, many shops fitted into tight spaces, HUNDREDS of people, bare wires hanging across the top of the streets. It is INCREDIBLE. We drove through the narrow, densely populated market streets on Rickshaws powered by a single man, his bicycle and his will power to get us to our next destination haha

B. Gurudwara Bangla Sahib.

Our group visited a Sikh place of worship in New Delhi. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. The inside of the temple had walls carved with real gold, beautiful carpets, much singing, a pool of healing on the temple grounds and a sweet treat called Kadah Prasad that could not be refused! We participated in a tradition called Langar – a feeding kitchen at the temple where all can eat together. What an interesting experience that all was! Overwhelming but when esle would I have gotten that kind of opportunity, right? I’m so happy I got the chance.

C. Hampi River Boats

When visiting the historical town of Hampi, we went on boats in the river. We got to see temples and idols carved into the stones along the river from centuries ago and ended a hard day of digesting another culture by peacefully floating along the river bank.

Two Things I Learned 

A. Diversity

I don’t think I ever realised or gave thought to how diverse India is in and of itself. There are so many languages, religions, cultures, gods and even the climate differs in each region. We traveled both north and south of India and I loved getting to observe the differences. We flew to Bangalore and all of a sudden there were language barriers, every single sign had a Telugu translation alongside it and it was summer so women wore Sarees and had Jasmine flowers woven into their hair.

B. Worship

I had only read about people worshiping gods who had statues and temples but I had never seen it myself. Being a follower of Christ, it was interesting to process these places and experiences when I believe in a God that is not seen and does not reside inside a temple. It was also memorable to see people in India offering worship and asking for blessings from animals like cows and elephants. 

One Thing I Will Miss

The people

The most incredible part of any experience has always got to be the people you meet. I miss the friendships I built with participants and leaders of the trip from India. Saying goodbye always comes with the sad possibility of not seeing each other again. I try to stay connected as much as I can and continue to learn about the culture and their lives through social media!

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