I just spent a wonderful afternoon!!! It is just amazing how any new thing I’m doing here in India seems like making the last I did fade in comparison… so many things to see, to realize, to be happy with!
Yesterday I was told by friends about a very big and old Banyan tree located just outside Mysore. You might not know, but I am f a s c i n a t e d by big trees, the bigger the better, than I immediately decided I couldn’t miss it. So here we come…
2pm and 2 of us on the scooter headed to the Banyan tree, a couple of stops to ask for the way and 40 minutes drive when we saw it appearing on our right-hand side in its majesty! But just the time to park the scooter and it started to pour down L … well, this is still monsoon season here so you might say ‘you should expect it!’ but actually in one and a half month here I just saw one big monsoon like that. So… no time to waist, run under the tree but still taking care to leave shoes away in the field and approach the Banyan tree barefoot, as it is considered very sacred… Banyan is actually considered to symbolize the Hidu Trimurti: Lord Vishnu is believed to be the bark, Lord Brahma the roots, and Lord Shiva the branches. It is also called Kalpavriksha, the tree that provides fulfilment of wishes and other material gains.
Just the view of it, approaching it made me feel so contented… touching it was overwhelming! When you bring your hands to it you can feel such a strong pulsation. Vibrations had same length as my heart beats. A m a z i n g !
For a while the tree took care of us and protected us from the rain but then the latter started leaking from the branches and I had to recoil even more ‘inside’ the tree. Actually it is made in a way that provides a few sheltered repairs to people, almost like small caves where you can come in and – in better weather conditions – sit and meditate. In my case, the soil was wet, so no chance to get a sit though I would have loved it. But in the end also that was not enough and I had to bring out my umbrella, sharing it with my friend. An Indian person was sheltered below the tree as well and when I asked how long the monsoon would last, his answer was: ’30 minutes’. Useless to say, he was right!
When the monsoon was over, it was time to go around the Banyan to appreciate it even more, to get impressed even more… So I could see spots where people come to do pujas (offers to the Divine) marked in red and yellow colours, with several small oil lamps now over. In other corners a few representations of Shiva… overall a great feeling of Holiness.
While pondering to leave, rain started again and so quickly we had no other chance than to stay. A few minutes and a shepherd with 2 sheeps joined us. He was rather old, dressed in shorts and shaking from head to feet: indeed, it was windy and rather cold! He didn’t speak a word of English, but he made us understand that the Banyan is 400 years old and that the rain would not last longer. And so it was…
So finally back on the scooter, praying to have a respite from rain. But maybe I should have prayed not to get stacked in traffic as well! 4.30pm is actually the worse time to cross Mysore city centre as all children and teenagers are getting out of school and the already bad traffic becomes impossible… yes, even though you’re driving a scooter! And even though you’re from South of Italy and you have been driving in India for months now! And when I got off the known way, an Indian biker was so kind to drive me back on track leading the way… and all this while the sun was saying hello!
But it didn’t last too long 😦 Ten minutes from home and another big downpour… unfortunately this time there was no Banyan tree to shelter us, so I got soaked in just about one minute. But once home, a looooong hot shower taken, a cup of tea and salted biscuits in front on me, a big smile on my face… I felt like being in Heaven!