Sarah: Step Foot into India

It’s not often we look down and take a mental note, let alone a photo, of what our feet are walking upon. Nick, the programme director of IndoGenius (and soon to be friend), mentioned on one of our first bus rides to look at what we are standing on to get an idea of the incredible diversity. Not only does this make an interesting perspective but also shows how much diversity and contrast there is in India. From marble tiles in popular temples to carpeted multi-storey business buildings to litter strewn streets… the contrast is not only vast, but densely concentrated. You don’t have to travel very far at all to see this abrupt change. So enjoy many photos of my toes and the places they have been.

Infosys visit in Mysore – Tech consulting and outsourcing company that has an incredible campus for an international internship program. The campus is impressively big, with nods to European architecture and the accommodation buildings even spell out “INFOSYS” on Google maps.

One night in Delhi, a bunch of us decided to visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib which is a Sikh temple. Upon entering the temple grounds, we covered our heads with shawls and took off our footwear. After dipping our feet into water to wash them, we walked along cold marble around the serene area, observing people worship and contemplate in silence. We were allowed to walk around inside the stunning temple full of gold adornments and luxurious carpet, seeing people authentically pay respects and worship. It was a beautiful experience, especially in the dark of night with friends to accompany you.

Walking through streets in Old Delhi, seeing and smelling the flower & spice market. Chaos on the streets and taking small pathways with stray dried chillies that got left behind getting crushed beneath our feet. Atop one of the buildings, we got a good view of the surrounding area – buildings packed in tight with temples and mosques in the hazy distance.

Pink evening light reflecting off the Taj Mahal at the end of a day trip to Agra – a tourist must see in India ticked off the bucket list.

We visited one of the places that makes hand printed and dyed products for FabIndia. Intricate patterns are printed with wooden ‘stamps’ using natural dye or with mud, depending on what part of the fabric is being coloured. Seeing a transparent part of the supply chain and the natural dyes made shopping at FabIndia much more meaningful. It’s so important to know where your purchases are coming from, what resources are used and how workers are being treated.

Exploring through the beautiful Amer Fort in Jaipur. So many different views, towers and courtyards to explore, not to mention the flocks of birds swooping all around. Definitely an underrated destination, especially compared to the Taj Mahal, with very interesting stories behind it’s construction and living quarters.

Morning yoga sessions with Susie. Even after an exhausting day the day before, an early morning rise for yoga was worth it. Not only centring and balancing your body but also your mind. A regular routine that I would love to continue back in Aotearoa.

This is the sort of photo that media would convey as the prominent sight in India: trash everywhere. I felt it is important to also show the sights that we may not be used to seeing back home in New Zealand. Here is the rubbish I was walking on in Old Delhi and similar scenes could be seen in most places in India. While this is common, there is so much beauty to hold all around in India. This perspective does make me increasingly grateful for the clean public spaces in New Zealand but also encourages me to do more to reduce my impact on the environment in any way possible.

A kolam drawn early each morning in front of almost every home or business in Pondicherry, Southern India. It is a geometric design that is tradition for many locals to partake in, often as part of their routine for aesthetic purposes but also for spiritual reasons.

The red earthy grounds of Auroville in Southern India where we saw many different sustainable solutions for basic needs, such as water recycling, clay brick construction and organic farming.

Sarah Goedhart

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