Sunday, October 29, 2006

Jodhpur to Udaipur

The road from Jodhpur to Udaipur is across the mountains. It starts off with a smaller road through some ethnic villages at the base of the mountain. The resort where we stayed offered a so-called "village safari", which is basically a drive through the villages to get in touch with local village life (it is not sightseeing as it is said).

It is good to get off the bigger road for a while and see more of these villages. We went through numerous and saw mixed Hindu and Muslim together. In the picture here you see a young sheep-herder. He is part of one of the villages on the mountain-side.

The whole point of taking the inner roads is to get to the Raknapur Temple. This is a Hindu temple somewhere in the middle of the mountains and bushes. In the time it was built it must have stood right between the trees as well. As you can see in the picture, this temple has enormous delicate artwork on the sides. Inside, it is filled with pillars with artwork engravings and on each side of the temple a carved elephant.

The temple is not even-floored, it has numerous steps and different levels in the flooring. There are some dome-like ceiling structures with more artwork. On each side, there are large windows or sitting areas that look into the mountain side or across the mountain (but not far). The air in the temple is full of incense.

Going more up the mountain, I suddenly saw a very old watermill. The idea is that the water is used for irrigation and flows to another part somewhere after the water is lifted from the area with small bucket-like things a couple of feet higher into a trench. Cows were used to rotate the mill, accompanied by two workers.

Closeby some elders were watching along (what else can you do on a sunday afternoon at the top of a mountain?).

We're in Udaipur now, which has a lakeside. It is known as one of the most romantic cities of India, but I'm not yet personally convinced. In the middle of the lake is a hotel and restaurant, the Lake Palace, owned by the Taj Group. Tomorrow we are going around the city for sightseeing.

I'm staying in room 404 (and yes, for any IT-nerds out there, we actually FOUND the room).

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