There was still time for me to visit the Rani Sati temple before the sun went down.
I left my shoes at the shoe room, as one must do when entering any temple. Once I passed through the first gate, I felt like I was entering the Magic Kingdom.
The festive ambience was heightened by beautifully painted decorative gates garlanded with marigolds.
I hadn’t been there long when a pretty lady and her daughters walked by. I admired the daughter’s sparkling fuchsia colored salwar kameez. They didn’t speak much English, but they understood the compliment. It prompted the lady to take me by the hand and lead me all around the temple complex. She pointed out various sculptures and symbols for me to photograph. I rang the small overhead bells in a corridor along with the daughters. It tells the gods that you are there. They smiled at me when they saw that I knew to do this.
They took me into the white marble temple, where no photography was permitted. Inside the temple the air was filled with the scent of incense. People were praying, singing, dancing and playing music that reminded me of the kind of music the Hare Krishnas in California used to play in the Summer of Love. Had these lovely ladies not taken me with them, I wouldn’t have felt right intruding on the religious celebrations.
One of the daughters applied a red tikka to my forehead with vegetable color which was on a plate near the shrine at the front of the room. Prem told me when I returned to the car that it was a good luck sign.