Temples of Marble and Motorcycles (Udaipur to Jodhpur)
Editor (that’s me!) NOTE – I realize I’ve skipped over days 1-3, just haven’t caught up to posting the first few days adventures and thoughts. Or – I had nothing interesting to say way back then, I will ponder that.
All pics on Instagram: @Topher_Vollan
Four days in and I’m plunked in a tent in the desert kingdom of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, granted a fancy tent with A/C and a marble shower, but its a tent yo! Nine hours by some crazy windy/bumpy roads with monkeys, goats, camels, pigs and cows all over the road. And “Rajasthan”! That just sounds pretty cool.
Today’s stuff in my head:
“Just say yes” – maybe not working so well for me here in India:My, dive deep and “just say yes” to anything while traveling. may not have been well thought through… given that, although really open to the experience, I’m finding I’m having to say “no” a lot, possibly less if I said it to start out with rather than being a polite’ish Canuck. So ya, four days in and I might need another suitcase and, what the hell AM I going to do with three pashminas?? I haven’t worn a scarf since I was 9.”Where are you from” – actually means “my uncle is a world renowned tailor and his shop is just down this street…” I did say no to all three suit guys and most of the jewelry guys and all three miniature painting craftsmen guys, but I did say “uhhh ok” to the waiter who offered me a massage at lunch today. Maybe a bit awkward, on a terrace, with just me and five hotel staff in this little place 100km from anywhere (and the ubiquitous wandering dog), but he was pretty good! it turned out to be a good warm up for an amazing chicken tikka (alternate title for today was “I’ve got tikki in my teeth”, and also “didn’t bring TP for the drive and its only four hrs to the hotel so hold on tight and maybe only eat protein”. And note to self, naan bread at every meal will have long term consequences.
Jain Temple, near Jodhpur
A temple is anything you want it to be:First stop today was a massive and stunning 100% marble 15th century Ranakpur Jain Temple, where even the priests (if they actually were priests) ask for money as soon as you step in the door. The first one was cute and he offered to chant for me, until I told him, I didn’t have my wallet because its leather and all leather goods, and shoes and cameras (unless you pay extra) must me left outside (which he knows – so likely given the sacred cow thing, only the occasional tourists must leave their wallets outside otherwise they should really be giving people chants and the sandal wood and saffron good luck dot (bindi) the next priest gave me, before I told him I had no wallet). Need to Google: the Jain faith are both the key business sector/money managers in India, but also take some sort of vow of poverty. I, remain, confused.Second Temple – as it was explained to me in broken English by Mr. Ram (my driver on this junket, to be introduced later!) it sounded like we had to motorbike to a golden temple which was very special. I was all geared up to finally hop on a moped (max people count that I’ve seen on one moped so far, four) but it turns out the temple is, a motorbike. Kinda understood that a royal son crashed bike #7773 and the bike,when taken back to the police station returned, on its own, breaking its locks, to the scene of its master’s demise, therefor making it both weird, and apparently very holy. I did what all the other guys did (it was only guys) and touched the marble base of the shrine for good luck.
Bike 7773 – The Motorcycle Shrine
Counting my blessings once again: young women and her child, in an almost empty restaurant, seemingly has at least one major source of income hoping for tips by providing paper wipes to the occasional tourist who uses the W/C.