This trip has truly been life-changing. I have met so many beautiful people who smile at you with their whole being and welcome you with open arms. I have seen phenomenal architecture with intricate artwork that you would never believe was made hundreds of years ago. I have interacted with a range of intentional communities who are changing the world one initiative at a time. I have been in awe of how well the animals and people live among one another in the cities. I have experienced some of the wildest drives of my life and am amazed at the skill of the drivers here. I have been welcomed warmly into mosques, temples, and gurdwara’s as if I was one of their own.
There is a famous saying in India, ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’, meaning ‘guest is god’. The hospitality here definitely does justice to this saying, it is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. We have been welcomed into the homes of strangers for dinner, gifted flower garlands and roses upon entry to businesses, invited to weddings, and given an abundance of food.
I cannot express my gratitude for this experience enough. Thank you to Indogenius, ENZ, Waikato Uni, and Jacinda Ardern for making this incredible adventure possible.
My highlights from this trip include:
- Pondicherry – Ganesh temple, sunrise with people playing in the water, flower markets
- Auroville – Matrimandir, Krishna’s solitude farm, B’s ‘Trash Mahal’, Babu, sound bath
- Coimbatore – Shiva light show, Isha Yoga Foundation, performing Bollywood for the school kids, pongal festival, Sathyamangalam reserve where we saw a wild elephant & drove through 27 hairpin corners
- Mysore – Infosys campus tour, visiting the palace where some children asked me for a photo and ran off squealing with excitement afterwards, night markets
- Bangalore – going to a retired chefs house and watching her cook us dinner, visiting Flipkart HQ, WeWork, and IIIT
- Mumbai – treasure hunt around the city, visiting Dharavi and seeing how their community functions, going to a Bollywood actors house for dinner, taking the metro and experiencing train rides in India, Imaginarium visit
- Ahmedabad – exploring Mahatma Ghandis ashram where he lived for 12 years, Manav Sadhana NGO with Nimo, university visits
- Udaipur – listening and watching to Indian musicians and performers on top of our hotel roof, meeting the prince of Mewar Lakshyaraj Singh, boating to Jag Mandir island (palace)
- Jaipur – visiting amber fort palace, exploring the pink city, getting a tour around a NGO called Akshaya patra that gives free food to school kids, visiting Fab India supplier that specialises in block printing, going to Jaipur foot and engaging with the employees and customers, filming our Bollywood music video
- Dehli – Maitreyi college rhapsody festival, laughter yoga, lecture on attention, Dilli haat markets, visiting multiple Hindu temples, mosques, and gurdwaras, visiting NDTV, attending the pacific shining reception at the New Zealand high commission and meeting Nanaia Mahuta, Svatyana NGO, Taj Mahal, Sheroes – cafe run by acid attack survivors, meeting Amitabh Khant
- Rishikesh – visiting the Ganges, seeing the Himalayas, learning about ayurveda medicine