It’s early Thursday morning as we board the bus for the seven hour excursion to Jaipur. Remember, miles mean nothing in India, it’s the time it takes that counts…and that’s dependent on the time of day, the day of the week, the whim of the sacred cows, the holiday, and on.
Today is the Jain Festival, tomorrow is Good Friday and Sunday, Easter. It’s a four day holiday in India as everyone celebrates everyone else’s holidays.
The Jain religion is one of the smallest in the world, but extremely strong. It is a community mostly of business people with a reputation of honesty. In fact they control 60% of the business in India. They are also strict vegetarians, even covering their mouths so they don’t accidentally swallow any insects.
Mangal Haladeva Temple is also a rest stop on our way. The statues of the Hindu Gods are enormous and beautifully maintained.
As we move on into Rajasthan Pradesh toward Jaipur a more desert environment is evident.
Cows are sacred in India because they represent the Mother. The sacred cows we see wandering on their own are abandoned because they no longer give milk. The others, still considered sacred, work full-time. On the other hand water buffaloes do no work other than providing milk.
This family has been rounded up and exiled from Jaipur, but they keep finding their way back…to join their “gangs” in breaking in and ransacking homes. People have to put bars over their windows to prevent the monkey scourge.
As we reach the outskirts of Jaipur we see the sugar cane juices for the first time. Raw sugar can is ground into a pulp in the open air (along with flies and other assorted insects), mixed with water and other “things”, and sold. We’re advised not to try. OK.
As we approach the city the traffic becomes thicker and thicker, and turns into an chaotic “dance” impossible to comprehend by an “outsider’s” mind. Horns blow incessantly, mostly more as a courtesy than a threat. Aggressive jockeying for advantage is basically ignored. Nary an extended finger or a threatening glance. How do they do it? And they do it unscathed (for the most part).
We arrive in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. It is a colorful city that thrives on it’s businesses, gem stones especially. The old part of the city is painted pink, the color of wealth. the women wear incredibly beautiful clothing (silk saris, etc.) even to do the dirty work like making cow dung patties. More of that next time. In the meantime I’ll be posting the second in the series of facts and factoids shortly.