The Temple of Dendur was built around two thousand years ago near the banks of the Nile. It’s a relatively small shrine to the gods, simple in its elegance. On the outer walls, between earth and sky, are carved scenes in sunken relief of kings and deities wielding scepters and the ankh, a symbol of life. 19th century travelers were enchanted by the temple’s romantic solitude. “It repeats with admirable clarity the twelve syllables of an Alexandrine verse,” noted a French painter in 1829, impressed by the way that echoes resounded through the site, “and replies to gunshots with frightful claps of thunder.”
It was in the shadow of this temple, transplanted to New York’s Metropolitan Museum six decades ago, that Ishaan proposed to Bhumika last November. Not long after he trembled and asked, and she startled and said yes, an older gentleman approached the newly engaged couple. He shook their hands and said that, in this same spot eighteen years ago, he had proposed to his now wife. Their children were running around the temple complex at that very moment.
It felt right. Bhumika and Ishaan come from a diverse set of geographies: The Yankee North and Dixie South; all four corners of India; the city and the country. And it was here — by an ancient Egyptian sanctuary transported to America’s teeming metropolis — that their union began, before the old gods and the new, in nostalgia for the past and joy for the future, among strangers and the most dearest loved ones.