The original plan was to go on a wine tasting (since the Nasik-region is famous for some of the finest Indian wine). The plan changed, however, and we went on an excursion (in our private bus, guided by some Indian friends) to the temple of Saptashrungi Nivasini, located in Vani, about 60 km from Nasik.
To some extent, I had no clue what was really going on when the Indians bought stuff – coconuts, colourful powder, flowers – at one of the barrows in the village, telling us we had to bring it to the Goddess. However, I never thought I’d ever say that…but climbing 500 steps without shoes in the middle of a crowd already felt very spiritual. The holy site was kind of built into the rocks of a mountain. We were guided to the shrine directly, passing by an enormous queue – special treatment for foreigners, obviously. And there it was – the image of the goddess. One by one, we approached, gave coconuts and flowers to the…what are they called? priests?…and got the blessing of the goddess in the shape of a spot with red powder on the forehead. And there it was again, sitting on the floor afterwards and staring at the image, when I felt some kind of spirituality.
Back downstairs in the village, I experienced what the others had told me would happen…several people on the street, mostly young girls, would ask if they could have a picture of me. So for once, my deep-freeze Irish skin colour made me famous 🙂
We decided to have a “lunch break”. In a house, that somehow seemed to belong to the religious community (but honestly, I was not able to identify what it was exactly), we could use the bathroom, sit down for a while, eat the fresh guavas from the market…and had our private little “wine tasting”. And yes, Nasik wine (especially the white one) is really lovely!
On the way back, we stopped at a spot in the mountains with a great panoramic view…and a small stall selling freshly made sugar cane juice, and then at a restaurant where we stuffed ourselves with chicken, fish, salad and Kingfisher beer.
We were late for the evening ceremony at the wedding, so again, I am not able to tell a lot about that. I spent most of the rest of the evening dancing with a bunch of little girls, embarrassing myself between the 6-year-olds that perfectly knew their Bollywood-movements.