My journey of re-discovery found fulfillment at the Sacred Spirit festival in Nagaur. Under the patronage of the Maharaja of Jodhpur, Nagaur a 12th century Fort in the desert hinterlands of Rajasthan with complex inner layers of courtyards, fountains and palaces has been painstakingly restored to much of its original grandeur. Lit by thousands of oil lamps this fairyland was our tranquil haven for three days from the hustle and bustle of the sub-continent.
Two days of stellar performers from Spain, Morocco, Mongolia, Northern and Southern India, Uzbekistan, Egypt, French Guiana and Greece kept us enthralled amidst venues that took full advantage of the spectacular surroundings.
The fusion of cultures in today’s chaotic world enforced the belief that the arts can lead to global harmony. A tribal dancer from French Guiana dancing and singing with Indian Kathak dancers and musicians provided one of the most poignant experiences of the festival.
The spiritual experience continued with a visit to the shrine of a Sufi Saint from the 17th century. A talk from the current leader displayed an intricate hand drawn ancestry chart that established an unbroken link to his ancestor. Following tradition we all tied prayer strings to the thousands already in place on the tree that forms a bower over his grave. We heard a traditional ‘Qawwali’, Sufi devotional music in a tradition stretching back 700 years.
Also, visits to Hindu and Jain shrines at Osian, a town on the way to Nagaur exposed us to the legend of the revered black ‘Durga’ statue. It is supposed to have risen out of the sands with prophecies for the town’s prosperity. Today long lines of the faithful wait their patient turn to offer and receive benediction.
As I make my way home this week, I am infused with the calm and spirit of our temporary abode in Incredible India. The whole journey has been so rewarding and revealing and I can see glimpses of enlightenment for the path ahead.
Adios till next time!
>Details of the Sacred Spirit Festival can be found at the website: Worldsacredspiritfestival.org
>The private and intimate festival continues as a public festival for 2 days at Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur (see my post on Jodhpur titled Royal India). The latter is available through ticket sales to the general public. Approximately 70% of the program carries over from Nagaur to Jodhpur.
>There are many fabulous hotels in the area, many of which are converted palaces. Google is a good friend to find a hotel that suits taste and budget. As mentioned, Nagaur is only accessible if staying at the Fort. The website provides all details.