Arrived last night at 11:30 pm Delhi time after a 19 hour trip tired, but filled with anticipation. When I arrived at the airport it was hot, busy, and crowded.
I got my baggage, exchanged some currency and had an hour drive to the International School of Jain Studies University where I am staying. Driving in the taxi was a harrowing experience. I went to put on my seat belt, and Shivam, the man from the university accompanying me said, “there is no need”. I’m not even sure it worked. The taxis weave in and out of the trucks traffic at very high speeds. They beep at each other a lot!
I fell asleep immediately! Breakfast at 8:00 was cornflakes, toast and bananas served buffet style. I was surprised to learn that we remove our shoes to eat even though we were eating at tables.
Jains are vegetarians and do not eat any meat due to their strict belief in “ahimsa” or nonviolence. My favorite thing at lunch was these round things that resemble meatballs (which of course was not meatballs). They are made from chick peas and fried and were in a slightly spicy sauce.
The Campus is beautiful with a main temple, dormitories and classrooms. Hoping to get a picture of the peacocks that roam the campus. Haven’t seen one yet. Wait, Just saw one!
Spent most of the day being introduced to Jainism and its rituals, festivals, and ceremonies. Daily worship is called “puja”. It involves mantras (recitations) and reverence of twenty four Tirthankaras who are considered enlightened humans who taught the Jain path before becoming liberated from the cycle of rebirth. The last being Lord Mahavira who lived in the 500s BCE. These Tirthankaras are also known as “exemplars” as their lives are examples for Jains to live their lives along the path.
Hoping to get a full night’s sleep tonight to help with the jet lag. Wish there was a Starbucks nearby, but sadly there is not. The chai tea is a lovely substitute.