Today, I pick up my imaginary round-the-world journey that I started yesterday with a visit to Gorakhpur, which is the closest point in India to Bhutan. As usual, there is no connection between the photographs and the story!
My experiences on this adventure have already been much different than I expected. When I embarked upon it, I believed that I was taking a grand tour of the world, albeit in my mind. But now, I realize that this journey is also a quest for spirituality. Hence, I chose to visit Buddhist temples and monasteries in Laos and in Bhutan. Because I needed spiritual renewal in these beautiful and peaceful places.
Gorakhpur was named for Saint Gorakhshanath, who was one of the founders of the Nath Hindu monastic movement in India. He lived in the eleventh century, and he was a guru. He emphasized yoga, spiritual discipline, and living the practice of self determination. There is a very large temple that is dedicated to Saint Gorakhshanath in Gorakhpur.
In the next few days, I will visit the large temple and a few other places in Gorakhpur, which include the Archaeological Museum, the Gita Press (where Hindu religious materials are published), and the railway museum. After that, I will get on a train and travel to Kushinagar, which is where it is said that Guatama Buddha achieved Parinirvana after he passed away. Kushinagar is the place that Buddhists all seek to visit at least once in their lifetimes. There are temples and many ruins to see in Kushinagar.
Well, you know that my imaginary adventure has to include food, right? So, the blogging challenge today is actually all about food. The dessert kind, actually. What’s my favorite dessert? It’s black forest cake. My mom used to bake it for me on my birthday. It was spectacular. So much chocolate and cherries and the frosting was whipped cream. My mouth waters at the thought.
At this stage of my journey, however, black forest cake is not something that would be served. The cake originated in Germany, and it is named for the liqueur that comes from that country’s Black Forest region, which is made from tart cherries. At this stage of the journey, I would eat something from the Mughlai cuisine, which would include such foods as Mughlai Paratha, Kachi Keema, Biryani, Keema Matar, Reshmi Kebab, Mutton Rogan, Josh, and more. There’s a lot of mutton in the food, and it is cooked in a variety of ways with all sorts of spiced.
I am happy with my food and with my adventure. I am happy to be where I am, at least in my adventure. In my real life, I am beset with loneliness and with a restless type of wanderlust that cannot be satisfied when a pandemic is raging. If times were normal, I would now be on a walk across New York State, with people from a variety of countries, all of whom are focusing on a nuclear-free future.
But times are not normal. They are strange indeed. So here I am on my imaginary journey that has taken me to eastern India. In my mind, I eat dessert there. It is Sheer Khurma, sweet and creamy, full of dried fruits and nuts. It is heaven on a plate. I focus on each mouthful of sweetness and try to forget the bitterness of the unbalanced, troubled. and unkind world.
This story will pick up on Monday!!!