Rani Sati

October 2005, I find myself in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. It’s early evening and I’ve just had one of the most moving experiences of my life. The elderly lady in the photo below has hugged me, put a red bindi on my forehead, and entered the temple I’ve just left.

I’d seen an Aarti ceremony in the Rani Sati temple, after  the congregation offered puja. The temple is at least four hundred years old and was built in memory of Narayani Bai who self emolliated and became Sati Ji.

The ceremony was incredibly loud, with drums and bells reverberating through every cell in my body. Water was sprinkled around, some of the crowd ran heir hands through flames, before circling the central shrine. We were welcome to take part but there were no expectations. Caught up in the atmosphere and the heady incense, I followed, with thoughts of Rani Sati, who was beloved to be an incarnation of the goddess Durga, running through my mind.

I have no words to describe the feelings, my journal that day had a line, ‘if I have to go home tomorrow, then it’s okay because I’ve had the experience of a lifetime’.

This post is for Paula’s Traces of the Past.



13 thoughts on “Rani Sati

  1. Wow! This temple looks like something from the future but also a step back in time to the past.. I can’t quite put my finger on it. The photo is amazing and it definitely sounds like an experience.

  2. It is indeed some photo, and a wonderful account of another part of your rich life. Sending you a weekend hug and the sound of Potato Point surf, and a bit of sarong weather.

  3. I always think that the local festival and ceremony are a wonderful way to get to know local people and know their culture. This must be moving experience. Thank you for sharing it with us, Gilly!

  4. And you have painted it beautifully in your image! 🙂 I must say that this is the most original take on the theme. Thank you so much, Gilly.

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