Today’s Exploring Geography post comes from Kim, who blogs at The Educators’ Spin On It. An elementary school teacher turned stay at home mom, Kim shares her Educators’ Spin on the daily issues and concerns of parenting. Posts I have enjoyed reading on Kim’s blog include Books About India, Raising a Strong Willed Child, and Holi Fun to Welcome Spring.
The Front Gate in India
Growing up in the United States in a typical suburban neighborhood, I never knew what it would be like to live in a big city and to have a home that needed a front gate. Then, ten years ago, I married my husband who just happens to be from India. Since then I’ve had the chance to visit four times to stay with his family in New Delhi, India.
As I look through my pictures I noticed that, on my first trip to India, my son’s first visit, and my daughter’s first experience, there were lots of pictures of the front gate to our family home. I thought it might be fun to take you on an adventure through the daily life of India from the Front Gate in a typical middle income home in New Delhi, India.
For the first time you visit a home, many times you will find that there are garlands or marigolds and banana leaves hanging to welcome visitors. You feel so honored to be welcomed in such a manner.
There is also a special sign at the entrance of some homes with blessings and who resides in the home.
We were so excited to see that many days the cows and other stray animals would roam from gate to gate looking for food treasures of the day. Many homes keep their scrap foods for the animals that pass. It’s a simple way of having no waste and providing a blessing to those around you.
We were very surprised to hear the noises that would come about the neighborhood with the wild monkeys who would pass through. You have to be very cautious when they are present and generally most residents will go into their homes and shut the doors so that no unwanted visitors will enter.
Each morning you awake to the sounds of venders passing by with their various items that they are selling from their carts. We would go out and buy any fresh produce we wanted for our meals that day or the next day. Here’s a picture of my daughter buying bananas with her Dadi Ji from the vender.
We were fortunate enough that there was a local resident who would come to the gate each day and ring the bell to come and clean the house. She would sweep and mop the floors, even the outdoor area. It’s very dusty in New Delhi, India. My daughter was fascinated by the brooms that our housekeeper would use. She had fun practicing on her own by the front gate.
Diwali is the festival of lights for Hindus.I had the chance to visit India during this occasion and see how absolutely beautiful the streets become as they are all lit by candlelight and lights. Here’s the view from our front porch.
There were so many little gardens inside of each gate as we passed through streets of India. Many are marigold plants that were growing from seeds from the marigolds that had dried from the temple offerings. You will also at times find a special plant called “The Money Plant” growing too.
When there is a marriage in the house the tradition is to hang lights on the front of the house. I know technically it’s not the front gate but it is something you’ll see. It’s absolutely one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen as you travel at night. Here’s a picture of our home covered with bridal lights and one tired little flower girl.
When a groom leaves their home for a wedding they will usually leave with a baraat. A baraat can become a large procession, with its own band, dancers, and fireworks.The groom and his horse are covered in finery and do not usually take part in the dancing and singing. Here’s a picture of my brother in law as he climbed the horse at our front gate.
As a bride the front gate also become the last place they stop before going to their new home, often times the grooms parent’s home. I’ve been through the process twice in India and the feelings are overwhelming from the bridal party as blessings are shared. When the car pulls away slowly, the bride’s brothers and cousins will push the car signifying that they have given her a push ahead as she begins her new life with her husband. Here’s a picture of my sister in law as she leaves our home as a new bride.
Here’s a helpful link for more information about wedding traditions in India.
Unfortunately the front gate is there to keep families safe. As with any large city you have to be aware of others and protect your family. I think that it was an eye opener to me the very first time I went to India how much EVERYTHING needed to be locked up. My daughter was really obsessed with the locks while we were there and had fun pretending to open them.
The Real India Gate
At the center of New Delhi stands the 42 m high “Arc-de-Triomphe” like archway in the middle of a crossroad. Almost similar to its French counterpart, it commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army during the World War I. The memorial bears the names of more than 13,516 British and Indian soldiers killed in the Northwestern Frontier in the Afghan war of 1919. Go here for more info about India Gate and other Monuments.
Thanks, MaryAnne, for inviting us to be a part of your Exploring Geography Series! We love learning about the World and other cultures!
For more information about India we encourage you to
Visit our site at The Educators’ Spin On It
Thank you, Kim for this fascinating view of India from your Front Gate! I loved all of your photos, and learned so much from this post about life in New Delhi!