We have traveled to India so many times that I have stopped counting.

Somehow, after a journey through the “motherland”, my perception of humanity becomes clearer; my enthusiasm for life feels renewed. The more we come to India, the less we intellectually plan our journey, and the more we expect to be surprised, astound, amazed.

The visit to the city of Madurai was already planned but we eagerly accepted our driver Raju’s invitation to attend the Thirukalyalam Festival. So often in the past we were able to discover unsuspected aspects of incredible India thanks to our driver’s suggestions.

The crowd was all gathered in the stadium to attend the wedding of god Thirupathi and goddess Bathmavathi. So many people were there that we were not able to see the actual ceremony, where statues of the divinities were paraded in front of the devotees.

Still, we were very thankful to take part in such a moving scene, where devotion was palpable and faith was true.

No need for us to understand; we focused on the beauty of grave faces, we read the gestures of hands, joined in prayer, open to receive blessings. And we saw a little girl with orange bows in her hair, perched on her father’s shoulders, with eyes full of wonder.

ABOVE AND AROUND: A crowd eagerly awaiting the holy marriage