Raas Haveli, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Over the years, Indian ceremonies have become more elaborate as hotels realize that guests enjoy being treated like visiting Maharajas. Trumpets blow; women dressed in colorful saris sprinkle rose petals at your feet and place necklaces of sweet smelling jasmine around your neck and a dab of red on your third eye before escorting you to a sofa to await a cool washcloth and a welcoming glass of sweet lime juice.
Why are these rituals important? Life is endless and fluid like a river, and rituals are punctuation marks along the way. They are the commas, the periods, exclamation marks that make us stop, breathe, and become aware of the magic of the moment.
If you take life down to its basics, all we do is stand up, lie down, and move along the earth horizontally (I have to give author Byron Katie credit for pointing out the obvious) That’s what we do. Stand up. Lie down. And move…until we can move no longer, and then we die and return to stillness. In our lives of standing up, lying down, and moving, it’s these details that make your life unique.
So don’t miss them. Don’t be so rushed to get to where you are going that you forget to smell the roses along the way. Especially the rose petals that are scattered upon you when you arrive at an Indian hotel.
Many hotels offer this welcome ritual, but there’s only one hotel I know that has created a ceremony to say goodbye, too. Raas, the ultra-modern sleek contemporary Haveli hotel within the mazelike inner city of dusty Jodhpur, does this, and a lot more. If you haven’t stayed in Raas, do so. It’s worth it.
When you say goodbye, you don’t just pay your bill and get into an awaiting car and drive away. You sit down for a moment to gather yourself together, to think about where you will be going and from where you have come. You are then given a small grain of salt to put under your tongue and a small teaspoon of yoghurt, which symbolizes substance and soul. Then you place your hands together in front of your heart, bow to the staff who have gathered to wish you well, and your journey begins again.
What is an event but a modern day ritual. My next blog will explain how.