It’s Independence Day in India and yesterday we had a day of travel.
Yesterday we drove to Jaipur. First, the sights leaving the city of Agra. Kind of a dirty little city, built no doubt to support the visitors to the Taj Mahal. Small openings showing the meagre and minimalist size and belongings of families living on the edge. Shops are really just counters with some wares displayed behind the vendor and people – mostly men = standing around and talking. About one in 10 or 20 are women carrying children or packages and seem to be going somewhere. We see school children in uniforms and even some schools are seen from the road.
Everything seems dirty. No recycling and the streets and side alleys and properties strewn with packages and refuse. Long bristled brooms sometimes seen to be sweeping a piece of land near a property worker, who is looking after his own site. It’s breath taking to see the amount of garbage that goes to the environment to deal with. Animals, pigs, cows and dogs mostly rummaging for foodstuffs in the rubble and filth.
On a cheerier side we see vendors pushing brightly coloured and ample Vegetable carts, filled with cauliflower and all manner of veggies that look fresh and in contrast to the grey of the garbage and dust that surrounds them.
I won’t soon forget the sights of this day. I try to let the vision of the poverty and filth enter and move through me. Much gets stuck in my heart region. I hope in time I can let it release back to the world. I send out Ho’oponopono wishes in repetitive fashion as I take in another view and another view and another, sigh after sigh, breath after breath.
As we distance ourselves from this city, we are in rural India. Still hazy and cool in the morning and feeling full from another exquisite breakfast at this 5 star fabulous luxurious hotel.
Luv, our tour director tells stories of the royals and this royal region as we enter Rajisthan, and he happily answers questions from the gals.
We stop for lunch and are ushered outside into a fantastic garden setting. Trees and flowers in this oasis from the mornings sites that still haunt us. The owner shows us his turban, how it is tied and worn … Meters and meters of fabric carefully placed upon his head. It was so interesting.
We are in the country now and on a major toll highway so we still go by many animals grazing in the fields and along the road sides. We are excited to see the elephants and camels, now, less so for the cows that once delighted us. We are becoming more used to the unexpected in India, having been here over a week.
How does this all change me as a person? What will I think of in terms of my own life and meaning? This is a haunting place in so many ways and the intense eye contact from the locals contributes to the messages getting directly into my heart. Young boys in the back of a big truck, under blankets and a goat curled up the corner. The boys are delighted to wave to us, we wave back, they giggle and wave again. Do they think we are someone famous? To them, I guess we are!! Feeling privilege and honouring that they think we are special. It is a moment, a postcard … A memory of this place.
Luv says 80% marriages are still arranged in India. Matched by families using the horoscope. Not as concerned with caste as in perfect fit based on date and time of birth and location of birth – which directs the families to find the mate for their sons and daughters for life partnership. Large elaborate ceremonies, even the time of the wedding is dictated by the horoscope. There are expert readers of this ancient art of the mating game, and we will be meeting such a one on this trip.
We stop at the very old abandoned palace and city – a ghost town really, in India, in Rajisthan – very famous and picturesque. With the mist still floating in the air we wander and take pictures and imagine the magnificence of diamonds and gem stones and how this magical place must have once sparkled in glory. Each wife of the Emperor, all different religions including a Christian wife, a Muslim wife and a Hindu wife, all have different living quarters. We can see remnants of what life could have been like with the help of our expert guide.
Fatehpur stop, abandoned city. Photos safely stored in my trusty iPad.
We moved on and had a few hours to drive in the afternoon, through rural countryside. Bright coloured sarees worn by the local women and turbans of the region by the men. Apparently the colour and shape of the turbans changes and can be identification of every 15 miles in this region. The women wearing bright saffron colours, oranges, peach …. You can see them for a long distance away, often carrying heavy loads upon their heads as they walk and go about their business of the day.
As we arrive in Jaipur there are thousands of kites up in the air, and many more hung up on trees and wires. This is part of the national day of celebration for India’s Independence.
We arrive at another oasis hotel, in the Trident chain about 545 pm local time we arrive. We have 45 minutes to prepare for our evening venue, a hosted dinner and then dancing and puppet show entertainment for us. We dress warmly and put on our Deet as it is an outside event. When we arrive they provided heaters and a cover for our groups tables. Food is authentic and lovely, the colourful and talented dancers and puppeteers and musicians keep us entertained. A man does some fire swallowing, there is snake charming demonstration as well. About 6 of us got up to dance at one point … I feel clumsy next to their expert skills.
Attached to that venue is a very famous bar. Turquoise painted ceiling and walls with white trip, bright lights and fantastic chandeliers, candle lit tables and Italian themed meals served. It is lovely open to the air. Quite the setting! We have a group photo and laugh.
Home late and exhausted. Such a big day today now …. Independence Day, shopping, elephant ride, the Amber Fort, gem cutting and more. Phew. This is a full and exhausting tour and yet, I would not have wanted to miss a thing!!!!
Wish you were here,
Photos later! Internet is sketchy.