Tuesday, January 13, 2009

India Part 2

December 23

The next day we drove from Agra to Jaipur stopping in Fatehpur Sikri along the way. Before entering the site, we saw a snake charmer sitting outside. Tourists can take pictures and give him a small tip. After the fact, I learned that the snakes are usually venomless but it was still cool anyways.

Fatehpur Sikri was the capital of India for fourteen years under the rule of Akbar during the 16th century. The emperor Akbar who ruled had three different wives: one who was Muslim, one Hindu, and one Christian. As a result he was able to able to bring the entire region under his rule.

December 24 jaipur

In Jaipur, we visited the Amer fort and palace. The city used to be along the silk trading route so large wall was built to encompass the entire city in order to keep the traders and merchants protected. The fort sits on the top of the hill and while we drove up to the entrance, in olden days people used to ride elephants up the hill. While this is still option, we decided against it, because some of the guidebooks mentioned that the elephants are treated poorly.

As I mentioned, it is normal to see four people crammed onto a motorcycle. Here is a photo I took after our tourguide made a funny face at one of the girls.

In addition to seeing the Amer fort, we also saw the largest sun dial in the world. The park had about 15 different sun dials which were used to figure out a person’s horoscope. Because most of the marriages in India are arranged based on people’s horoscopes matching, it is critical to know the exact time of birth when matching horoscopes.

December 25th jodhpur

On Christmas day, we flew from Jaipur to Jodphur. In Jodphur, we visited the Mehrangargh fort and the Jaswant Thada marble crematorium.

The crematorium had excellent views of the city and is where many members of the royal family have been cremated. Traditionally, their ashes are then scattered, often times in the Ganges River but the crematorium acts as a burial site in that people can build monuments and return to the site to honor their loved ones.

photo from the Mehrangargh fort

kids enjoying a camel ride

December 26th

Today we drove hours on hectic Indian roads from Jodphur to Udaiper. I have come to the conclusion that the most dangerous part about driving is the animals. On every road there are tons of cows, water buffalo, sheep, dogs, and boars. Cows are the most common animals and sometimes they will just stand in the middle of the road and some even lie down. This makes driving really crazy because there is no way to predict whether an animal will be crossing the street or which direction it will go. As a result we came to a couple quick stops when cows decided to stop midstream and stand in the middle of crowded busy roads.

On the other, the other drivers seem to have a controlled chaos system going on. Most of the roads we have been driving on have been two lane roads with one lane and in each direction. As a result, cars are constantly going into oncoming traffic to pass the rickshaws, autorickshaws, and bicycles. This systems works pretty effectively except on curving roads in which case in order to pass a car one must honk their horn before going around a corner to ensure no one is coming in the opposite direction. Occasionally it looked like were going to hit oncoming cars but at the last minute are car would finish passing another car and go back on the correct side of the road (which is the left side, a remnant from British imperialism).

Along the way we stopped at a Jain temple. The temple was made of white marble. Inside is an interesting mix of being inside and outside there are no walls just pillars and over hangs so there is an interesting play of light. No leather is allowed to be worn inside the temple and shows must be taken off. In addition there is a sign that says women who are menstruating should not enter the temple. Again, the temple was intricately carved with fine detail along the columns, interior walls and ceiling. I was entertained by two boys who were racing their match box cars along the walls of the temple.

One interesting thing is that you often have to pay to use a camera. The fee is not large only a dollar or two but this different from the other traveling that I have done. The money goes to restore the and maintain the buildings so I don’t mind. When I saw these signs, I was surprised that the Chinese have not started to charge to use a camera.

When we left there were tons of monkeys on the road. Someone had recently fed them and they were eating carrots. Monkeys seem to be pretty common in India but I am still fascinated by them.like most of the animals they are not disturbed by cars or people and are scared by the noise they make.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jaipur is one of the hottest and most famous tourist attractions of India. A trip to India can never be complete without a visit to this place of immense historical and architectural importance. In its time it was among the best planned cities in the entire Asia and was the first planned city in India. Jaipur has a very happy amalgamation of the new and the old worlds. The charm and magic of Jaipur lies in the fact that it has a bit of everything- science, art and architecture, culture, religion, and history, ingrained into every inch of it. The warmth and hospitality of the people make a visit to the Pink city all the more memorable, remarkable and cherished. The best part of Jaipur is that even the hotels in Jaipur and the resorts have the flavor and fragrance of the ethnicity and hospitality of the place and its people. Most of the ITC hotels in Jaipur are not just places of shelter, but an experience in itself. Most of the leisure hotels in Jaipur have the ambience, feel and style of its rich and colorful history and culture. The treatment that the guests receive in the budget hotels in Jaipur is one of royalty and at the same time one of genuine affability.