Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Water and a climb

Leaving Udaipur, we moved on to Pushkar, passing through the beautiful hills arround Udaipur. This is much richer territory, green farms, gentle rolling hills, and many small lakes. In much of Rajasthan, water is very scarce and there are chronic water shortages. Although there seems to be more in the hills than in the desert areas, most people in the countrysides have no running water and there are wells throughout the towns and villages. We passed woman pumping water and filling up their water pots that they carry on their heads back to their little homes. Men and children wash themselves at the wells and both men and women wash their clothes at the wells or at the local river or lake.
In Udaipur we attended a dance show that was a wonderful demonstration of Rajasthani culture. Many of their dances deal with everyday life in the desert. One woman danced  with 9 pots piled on her head, telling the story of women who must go to the well every day and bring back the family's water supply balanced on their heads.
                                                           Dancing with water pots

The next day as we left Udaipur and stopped to visit a 10th century temple, a young girl passed on the road with her pot of water carrid on her head. The posture of the women here is perfect. They stand tall and graceful, moving with ease, even with heavy loads carried on their heads, either water, bricks, wood or large basins of cement. Such elegance despite the hard work they do.
                                                           Water carrier

Pushkar is a small town around Pushkar Lake, a sacred place for devout Hindus who come here to bathe in the lake and pray on the ghats (steps) leading down to the water. There are many people here anxious to give blessings and a Pushkar passport for a fee...that is you float some marigolds in the lake and then allow yourself to be blessed by what you hope is a legitimate holy man. For some rupees, the more the better, you will be given a red string bracelet..thus the "passport". Many of the local holy men look rather ragged and may have reached their Nirvana with the amount of bhang they smoke. But it is fun to walk around soaking up the smells, sites and feeling of India..a true awakening for all the senses.
The hike up a little mountain to the temple of Savitri, wife of Brahma, was a vigorous climb that allows for a spectacular view of the whole area, replete with many temples, camel tents, mountains and the beautiful lake. On the way down we met many people climbing up, holy men and Indian women, all carrying bricks on their heads, children in their arms and  climbing barefoot. I have no explanation for the bricks, other than to think that once at the summit, they would be constructing a simple temple. So many things are fascinating here.
                                                           Climbing to the temple

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