Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Chanoud Garh to Udaipur

We had breakfast served to us in the dining hall again at Chanoud Garh on Tuesday morning (8th October) where we were joined by J’s wife and sister and J’s 4 and half month old baby boy.

While still quite early it was already incredibly hot and steamy as we were taken on a walk in the village by J’s younger brother. He was warmly greeted by everyone and we were invited in to a number of dwellings where we were struck by the beautifully dressed women, the neatness and tidiness of the village and the healthy looking children and babies. 

We saw many goats and enjoyed our visit to the family shearing their sheep. It seemed like a real men’s club - we were offered opium as honoured guests (I want you to know that none of us inhaled!) while many of the men were smoking local leaf wrapped cigarettes and their grand looking pipes.

The family is very involved with the life of the village and actively support and fund the local public school and hospital. We enjoyed our visit to the little school of around 70, year 1 – 8 students (and two teachers). The children clean their own school (well the girls do anyway) and it looked very clean and tidy if somewhat austere. The children were extremely well behaved but friendly. We left some pens and stationery behind which will be used as rewards for good work, apparently!

We were on our way to Udaipur by around 11.30 after making our farewells to the wonderful aristocratic family who provided this unique  “home stay” experience for us.

After two and a half hours on the road and finally into dense greenery as we started climbing the Aravalli Hills, we arrived at Ranakpur, the site of a remarkable Jain temple, the finest in Rajasthan. Carved from milk white marble the 29 halls that make up the temple are supported by 1444 pillars (no two alike). The main temple dedicated to Adinath was built around 600 years ago.
Jains believe in a very austere life and will not eat or kill any living thing, including those foods that grow beneath the ground. 

There were a lot of rules about entering the temple – no leather, no shoes, no umbrellas, no bags, bodies covered etc etc. We enjoyed seeing this amazing place but halfway around the rain started falling in torrents. With our soaking in the flooded Lodi Gardens in Delhi still fresh in our minds we tried waiting it out…but after half an hour we decided to make a run for it when it looked like the rain might be easing a bit. We rescued our flooded shoes from the front of the temple and made a run for the bus, copping another soaking in the process. We sat and dripped over the floor of the bus for the rest of the drive to Udaipur. 

We arrived at the rather grand Trident Hotel around 5.30pm, shoeless (they were all too squelchy) and looking rather bedraggled. A hot shower, change of clothes (and footwear), a few G&Ts in the bar and a few laughs together really made us feel much more civilized by the end of the day.


Maxine said...

Incredible images Judy. What a journey you are all having!

Roslyn Lawrence said...

They certainly don't believe in less is more do they in decorating their buildings. I'm loving the bright colours the women wear. What an amazing experience you're having.xx