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46 ~ “Wall to wall” crowd : Deogarh to Pushkar

Day 12 : Now you see me ... now you can't


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Breakfast then another foggy misty day was waiting us as we drove out of Deogarh towards Pushkar. Not many people were up yet. Besides the odd cattle, the shops and streets were kind of deserted.

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Rubbish was being collected. The truck goes around with music blaring just like a "Mr Whippy" ice cream van and out came the householders with their rubbish.

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Rubbish truck

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School children being taken to school.

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Now you see me ... now you can't

Got to Ajmer at 1pm / 13:00 and first stop was the Soniji Ki Nasiya Jain Temple. Not being Jain, we were not allowed into the temple itself but next door was something that I had not expected.

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Ajmer is a green oasis on the shore of Ana Sagar Lake, hemmed in by barren hills.

Historically, It was founded in 7th century by Ajaipal Chauhan. He named it Ajaimeru the ‘invincible hill’. The Persian saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti who came with Muhammad Ghori from Persia in 1192 settled here. Thus, the place where he was buried is today known as the Dargah Sharif. Construction of the shrine was completed by Humayun and the gates were added by the Nizam of Hyderabad. Later Shahjehan constructed a mosque of white marble, it has 11 arches and a Persian inscription running the full length of the building.

The Dargah Sharif is Ajmer’s main attraction, the most sacred of all Muslim places of pilgrimage in India.

So, it was out of the car and with the “wall to wall” crowd, walked along the streets plus knowing that no camera was allowed inside. Nothing was in my pockets. Took nothing except my i phone.

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Next asked Ashok to stop just below a lookout to see back over the lake and Ajmer itself, then onto Pushkar.

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Posted by bruceontour 01:08 Archived in India Tagged ajmer jain_temple soniji_ki_nasiya dargah_sharif Comments (0)

35 ~ Ranakpur Temples

Day 9 : “Selfie, selfie” the call went out


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After breakfast was the drive through to Udaipur.

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Pass a celebration of some sort so it was a short stop. Being the only non-local, I stood out like a sore thumb as the procession pass. “Selfie, selfie” the call went out. Again I was asked by the locals to have their photo taken with them. Why me?

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Not too sure what this procession is for. But the guy on the horse looks like that he may be a politician or related to a party celebrating the win after polls. The badge he carries are commonly used for special occasions such as political procession from a specific party.

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Three hours after leaving Luni, reached Ranakpur Temples. Non-Jains can enter the temple from 12 noon / 12:00 to 5pm / 17:00 so there was no point in leaving Luni really early today. Mornings are reserved for prayers.

Renowned for marvellously carved “Ranakpur Jain temples” in amber stone is one of the five holy places of the Jain community. These temples were created in the 15th century AD during the reign of Rana Kumbha and are enclosed within a wall. The central Chaumukha or four faced temple is dedicated to the venerated Tirthankara Rishabhji. Open on all four sides, it enshrines the four faced image of Adinath.

Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

Jain temples are known to be the most elaborate in India, and the temple complex at Ranakpur is absolutely astonishing. Dedicated to the first Tirthankar (savior and spiritual teacher) who founded Jainism, it's the country's biggest and most important Jain temple complex. The main temple, Chaumukha Mandir, is made out of white marble and was built in the 15th century. It has sprawling over 48,000 feet 29 halls, 80 domes, and 1,444 engraved pillars! Allow about an hour to see the temple complex. Conservative dress is required for both men and women (legs and shoulders covered). Leather items (including belts), shoes, food, and cigarettes are not permitted inside. Women who are menstruating are considered to be unclean and shouldn't go in either.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/interesting-places-near-udaipur-1539757

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"I can see what you are doing ..."

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Spent just over an hour here. Actually, it was the smaller temple outside without the tourists that caught my eye. I suppose that it was the bright sun as well that helped casting shadows on the columns.

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A short way along the windy mountain like road, so unlike the previous days of flat desert, it was time for Ashok’s lunch break at Casa En Ranakpur.

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Leaving at 2.30pm / 14:30, it was just after 4pm / 16:00 when we drove into Udaipur.

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Posted by bruceontour 01:29 Archived in India Tagged ranakpur jain_temple Comments (0)

25 ~ Pay no tax, no rent : Jaisalmer Fort

Graffiti with a difference


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Onto the Fort itself.

Standing 76m / 25 yards above the town, enclosed by a 9 km / 5.5 mile wall with 99 bastions, it certainly was an imposing sight.

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Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

There aren't too many places in the world where you can visit a "living" fort but Jaisalmer, in the Thar desert, is one of them. The city's mirage-like yellow sandstone fort is home to thousands of people who have been residing in it for generations. The fort also has a multitude of shops, hotels, restaurants, a palace complex, old haveli mansions, and temples inside it.

Bhati Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal began building Jaisalmer fort in 1156, making it one of the oldest forts in Rajasthan. It eventually expanded to cover the whole hill and transformed itself into a city, which swelled in population during times of conflict. The fort survived many battles. However, its condition is now rapidly deteriorating due to illegal construction and poor drainage. Waste water has been seeping into the fort's foundations, making it unstable and causing parts to collapse.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/top-palaces-and-forts-in-india-1539345

Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

Jaisalmer's ethereal sandstone fort, which resembles a massive sandcastle rising from the desert, is the city's focal point. The fort was built in 1156 by Rajput ruler Jaisal, who also founded the city at the same time. What really makes it unusual is that it's one of the few living forts in the world. Thousands of people reside inside its walls. It's also home to numerous hotels, guesthouses, temples, handicraft stores, restaurants, and the former maharaja's palatial palace. The palace is open to visitors for a fee, although it does get crowded and could be better maintained. Tickets cost 500 rupees for foreigners, including an audio guide. You'll need to pay 100 rupees extra to take your camera inside. It's pricey, so you may want to skip it!

Unfortunately, the condition of the fort is rapidly deteriorating, as drain water is seeping into its foundations. Hence, many people now choose to stay outside the fort in a hotel with evocative views of it.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/places-to-visit-in-jaisalmer-1539657

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Poha, made up of flattened rice which is steamed and served with spices. Gently tempered with mustard seeds and fennel.

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Entered via the east Gopa Chowk, through the First Fort Gate (Akhai Pol), then up the ramp: Suraj Pol, Ganesh Pol, Hawa Pol and finally Rang Pol.

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Suraj Pol

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Palace of the Maharawal

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Jain temples

One of the main attractions inside the fort is a stunning series of seven interconnected Jain temples that date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Carved out of sandstone, the detail on them rivals that of the marble Jain temple complex at Ranakpur. You'll need to remove your shoes and all leather items before entering. The temples are open daily from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., although foreigners may only enter all the sections after 11 a.m. Timings are prone to changing, so do check first. Tickets cost 300 rupees for foreigners. Indians don't have to pay but there is a camera charge.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/places-to-visit-in-jaisalmer-1539657

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Pagdi (Turban) is a Rajasthani headwear worn by men and made up of cotton (printed).

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Pagdi and Mooch (Moustache) are the pride of Rajasthani men.

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Then a climb to the roof top for a great view over Jaisalmer.

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Instead of visiting the armory, Prem showed me where he lived and sipping chai from the roof top had a slightly different view of Jaisalmer below.

Prem is one of the 3,000 people who live within the fort. Looked like more than 3,000. Was told that they pay no tax, no rent. Now approximately 150 hotels and many restaurants are located within the fort dotted around the narrow winding alleyways.

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Prem with his sister's wedding invitation

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Note: For some unknown reason, videos are "foggy" at the bottom.

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Palace of the Maharawal

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Palace of the Maharawal

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Looking south

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Graffiti with a difference

In Jaisalmer, the unique practice of painting wedding invitations on house walls continues.

Caught between the expectations of the world to nurture the rich legacy and the growing aspirations of its youth to take a giant leap forward, Jaisalmer is holding on to many unique customs and traditions.

One of them is the practice of painting wedding invitations on the walls of the house. Tracing the remnants of the past, in the narrow winding streets of the Jaisalmer Fort – oldest living fort in India -- home to old havelis, exquisite stonework and a multitude of narratives, the painted wedding invitations make one of the most intriguing sights.

At the entrance of almost every house is painted Lord Ganesha - the deity invoked before embarking on anything auspicious – announcing the date of the wedding and inviting one and all. “In the case of bride's house, the girl's name is written first and then the groom's name while in the case of groom's house, its vice-versa,” says a middle-aged Anita, who is visiting her parental house, where a wedding has just taken place.

Standing against the backdrop of the colourful invitation her Vasu Family extends, Anita helpfully adds, “The trend of distributing cards began as late as some thirty years ago. Jaisalmer was a small city where everybody knows everybody and this was the perfect way of inviting people and spreading the word around. A family in one street would see it and then pass the message to the others living elsewhere.”

While some prefer to do simple crisp ones in Hindi, a few families pep it up with amusing one-liners. The residents claim it's a tradition that's specific to Jaisalmer in Rajasthan but something that cuts across different Hindu castes and sects living there. According to Tarachand Vyas, the practice runs common to Pushkarna Brahmins, Bhatias, Khatris, and many more. “I was born here in 1940 and have seen these invitations ever since. Marriages or saawas, as we call them, are an auspicious occasion and how do we forget Ganpati on such an important event. So, we call a local painter three to seven days before the wedding, to paint. And it's important to note that the invite stays on the wall till a new wedding is announced and replaces the old one.” Another local citizen chips in, “That's why our weddings used to be so huge, around 2000-3000 people and still are…”

Practiced for centuries, the tradition's popularity hasn't faded a bit. The younger generation considers it an integral part of their culture which is indispensable. “Wedding cards are there but nothing can replace the charm of these wall invitations. Our grandfathers did it, then our fathers did it and now we will do it,” says Prashant Acharya who works as a guide.

https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/graffiti-with-a-difference/article2931600.ece

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Posted by bruceontour 01:08 Archived in India Tagged jaisalmer jain jain_temple pagdi mooch jaisalmer_fort sonar_quila golden_fort Comments (0)

19 ~ Bhandasar Jain Temple : Bikaner

Beautiful leaf paintings, frescoes & ornamented mirror work


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Bhandasar Jain Temple is a three-storey temple, famous for its beautiful leaf paintings, frescoes and ornamented mirror work. This temple is constructed using red sand stone with beautiful paintings and yellow-stone carvings on walls, pillars of the sanctum and mandapa. On the walls there are illustrations depicting the lives of the 24 Jain tirthankaras. The temple consist of garbhagriha, antarala, mahamandapa and ardhamandapa. The sanctum is pancharatha (five rathas) is covered by shikhara having karna-amalakas and amalakas at top.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhandasar_Jain_Temple

Jain temple is one of the oldest temples in Bikaner, and was built in the 15th century. It is decorated with mirror work, frescoes and leaf paintings. The temple is built of red sandstone and is divided into three floors. One can see the skyline of Bikaner by climbing to the topmost floor of this temple. It is believed that the temple was made with 40,000 kilograms of ghee instead of mortar, which locals insist seeps through the walls on hot days.

https://www.tourmyindia.com/states/rajasthan/jain-temple-bhandasar.html

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Posted by bruceontour 02:47 Archived in India Tagged jain jain_temple bhandasar_jain_temple bhandasar_temple Comments (0)

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