Experiencing Cultural Diversity

A place of worship houses idols, breathe-taking sculptural carvings, paintings, religious texts and priests. But beyond these religious artifacts, beliefs and clergymen, it houses an aesthetic sense of tranquility, calm and peace. As soon as one enters a place of worship he is flushed with a feeling of happiness, serenity and inner peace. This holds true for every place of worship be it a Mosque or a Temple. A Monastery or a church. A Gurudwara or any other place of God. Recently, we were taken to various religious places as part of our class trip. The trip was a real eye opener. It made us realise the overlapping cultural and religious practices, customs and traditions prevailing in our country. India is a secular country and one is free to follow any religion he wishes to. The true meaning of secularism was brought out to the fore by this trip. At first we visited the Lotus temple. The Lotus temple is a house of god where the followers of the Bahai faith of come to worship. The Bahai writings describe a single, personal, inaccessible, omniscient, omnipresent, imperishable, and almighty God who is the creator of all things in the universe. It emphasizes on the unity of human kind, religion and god. Followers of all religions and even atheists are welcome here. The temple was bustling with hundreds of visitors yet the temple's inner hall had a pin drop silence. The silence swept away all the negativity from our minds. Later we hopped onto the bus and set course to the Free church, Sansad Marg. The Church is a laid back archaic building, built on a sprawling site. It is nestled in the maddening in commercial vicinity of Connaught Place. It dates back to 1927, yet it is very well kept and is pretty well organised too. We all went into the prayer hall and sat down. There was silence all around. People picked up the Bible and started reading it, this carried on for sometime and then we all decided on offering our prayers and leaving the hall. This was followed up by a visit to the other buildings in the Church. After a little botheration from the bus driver's side and a bit of delay, we all started off towards the Nizamuddin Dargah. The most anticipated place on our itinerary for the day. Nizamuddin Dargah(mausoleum) houses the tomb of one the world's most famous Sufis saints, Nizamuddin Auliya. The tombs of poet Amir Khusro and Mughal princess Jehan Ara Begum are also located within the Nizamuddin Dargah complex. It was an absolutely fantastic place, everything about the Dargah stood out. Be it the food vendors, the Qawwali singers, the frantic praying, the glorious architectural detailing, everything was out of the world. A completely new experience for all non muslim people. We visited the Dargah and sat down to hear the Qawwali singers, who amazed us all by their intuitive expressions and sonorous voices. The Dargah was photographed from every possible angle. It was beautiful to see such intense devotion on the faces of all the visitors. The market right outside the Dargah was almost like a living organism. It was filled with life, activity and had a rhythm of it's own. On our way out we helped ourselves to some delicious and spicy kebabs to delight our taste buds with. The last place we visited was the Gurudwara Moti Bagh Sahib. Once Guru Gobind Singh Ji camped at this site with his army. Earlier it was known as Mochi Bagh and later the name was changed to Moti Bagh. An old story relates that the Guru, an accomplished archer, shot two arrows from a colony of cobblers in Moti Bagh which hit the 'Divan' (throne or bed) of Prince Muazzam(later Bahadur Shah). The Gurudwara left us on a very soothing note.

It was still a highly contenting day. united by our love for our great nation. It made us realise the way our Indian society is weaved together into a culturally and traditionally rich society. As brothers we stand and as enemies we fall. divided by religion. . The cherry on the icing was seeing people of different religions visit various religious places. The existence of all major religions and their almost perfect convergence into one culturally diverse society is something that amazes one and all. We all experienced some of the finest places of worship in Delhi.

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