Posts Tagged With: Temples

RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK

We arrived at our destination, Ranthambore National Park near the town of Sawai Madhopur. The park has over a hundred square miles of forests and several large lakes and was at one time a hunting preserve of the maharajas. I bought Theo a tie, but later he bought himself a handsome red scarf and he is never without it.

After our long ride and lunch, we take a canter to the fort and spent the afternoon hiking to various historical sites. In a later blog, we will visit the beautiful Dargah Ganesh Temple inside the fort.

The Park is a UNESCO site and one of 11 tiger preserves in India. India tigers are unique in that they are the biggest cats; they are not speedy. They don’t chase distances for their quarry. They will jump from a tree or rock or attack near a watering hole.

We enter by this huge gate.  Mostly uphill from here.

I’m fascinated by this woman’s clothing and her ability to carry belongings on her head.

The fort was built in the fifth century A.D. Astounding that it still survives especially when you see the current scaffolding still used in India today.

We see this all over India, even on modern high rise buildings.

The men tie the bamboo poles with simple hemp ropes, then wet the ropes and tighten them.  The structure is very solid.

One of  many temples on the grounds. This one a later vintage.

This spot was over run with monkeys, fighting for territory or females. Not sure which.

They would race about and attack each other. You could feel a breeze as they hurtled by we human invaders.

Some of the attacking monkeys like this one, bared his teeth and growled.

None of my other grandsons I’ve taken on their special trip took pictures, but Theo took many.

Onward and up. Another temple is just ahead.

Another set of stairs was daunting, and none of us chose to go inside.

Sandy, is photo averse. She is beautiful, friendly and a joy to be around.

The steps are steep. And after awhile we get our “temple legs.” This step has a stone once used in another building.

Arches are more vulnerable, but these still stand.

At the top, everyone gets to look over the lakes and valley below.

This man takes tickets for the temple located at the far reaches of the hike.  You can buy food, water, souvenirs and flowers here.

People buy flowers as part of their ritual. I picked up a strand to smell and Ranvir, said, “you touched it. Now it can’t be used.  Nothing goes to waste. The monkeys will eat the flowers.” He paid for my mistake.

At the temple, you may not speak.

I came out  anointed.

Where there’s  food, there’s  rats.

The monkey enjoyed his treat.

On the way back, the monkeys get well fed. Everyone gives their flowers.

These little birds seem to find food where there is nothing but rock.

This is a squirrel. At home we’d call it a chipmunk or chicaree. They too, seem to find food where none exists.

More tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

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INDIA, DEHLI, CHANDIN CHOWK MARKET

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Dehli is the capitol city of India, a diverse, swarming polyglot of people, vehicles, shops and sights. I traveled with my Grandson Theo, who posed with our Dehli City Guide, Manju, as we loaded into bicycle rickshaws at Chandin Chowk Market.

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Here members of our group load in with a pre-arranged group of rickshaw drivers. Otherwise we’d be besieged by any driver trying to pick up a customer. The rules are, traffic is heavy, the driver may make a sudden stop. Brace your feet and hold on tight.

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As we begin, it is a bit disconcerting because our driver is going against the flow of traffic. Doesn’t it matter what side of the street you drive on?

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We are soon in the midst of the traffic and we are astonished at how varied and interesting the traffic is. Cars, along with trucks and people walking, motors, and tuk tuks, the green and yellow motors that serve as cabs are mixed together in what seems an impossible ability to get anywhere.

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Vendors walk among the traffic selling goods if they can.

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This is just business, nothing unusual.

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Traffic is slow. No one gets hurt and at some point you realize that driving a car might just be impractical. dsc09298-copy

These school boys, you know by their uniforms, are not the least bit upset by being crowded into a rickshaw and holding on to the outside.

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There are times the rickshaw is practically touching a tuk tuk and at one point a car was calling up to our driver,  indicating he wanted him to watch out for his side mirror which he was covering with his hand to avoid a miner collision.

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At an intersection we see one of those famous “loads” you see in pictures on the internet. People here work very hard and they carry impossible loads.

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We are getting closer to our destination but traffic never let’s up.

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The rickshaws take us to Jama Masjid, the biggest temple in India where 25,000 people can worship in their square. We will return by bus. More Tomorrow.

 

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DRAGON TAIL MARKET AND ATONEMENT

Many years ago, the King wished to make a European style road. A straight, modern boulevard right to the palace. The clever Chinese and French purchased Thai Homesteads and when the King wanted to buy them to build his road they asked an exorbitant price. Instead, the King purchased properties around them and ended up with a twisted road that resembled a dragon. Thus the Dragon Tail Market, And Dragon Tail Temple. The temples used to be a place where all social activity and business took place. But, you cannot lie, so they removed the business from the temples. Hmmm! Sounds familiar. Buyer Beware! The Dragon Tail Temple was a very small affair. Later I will present a slide show of Temples and another of street scenes of interest and so on.

This bustling market had foods we could not recognize, but fascinating all the same. Panu said these are sweets.

Wah?

This little boy eats his lunch while his parents ply their nearby wares, a tub of sticky rice cooked in banana leaves.
This woman is just removing a duck, with head intact from the fryer. They also have black skinned ducks here and bright pink eggs.

Motorcycles compete with human traffic in the narrow aisles, but no gets hurt or gets angry as we jostle for space to move.
We left the market for a stop at our first look inside of a temple, Wat Kaniga Phol, where you have to remove your shoes before crossing the threshold. It is a significant place because it was built and funded by prostitutes. At first, the Thai kept it a secret, (like most secrets are kept-hah,) then later they openly commended the idea that this temple was an inspiration to turn your life around and do good by your fellow man.

Wat Kaniga Phol has a replica of the famous Jade Buddha shown above. We’ll see the real thing later in the trip. At this temple we also learn about a stupa, a conical shaped edifice that holds the ashes of the deceased.
In the market, Panu bought a selection of foods to carry to our next destination, Tai Hong Kong. It is a prayer day and we participate along with the Thais in this ritual at an outdoor shrine.

First, they make their food and flower offerings and place them on the shrine. They kneel or bow and make three wishes. Most remove their shoes.
Then we purchased six candles and six sticks of incense. Above Mason and Sheila Yavari can be seen lighting the candles from a firey vat of burning oil.

The candles are used to light the incense and are placed around the shrine in these sand pits.
You then pray that your wishes come true. The offering of food that Panu brought was receipted and entered in a book. Below, a Thai woman burns her receipt and places it in the tub. Its a sign of faith not to use your receipt for a tax deduction and to burn it instead. Make points with Buddha.

If a Thai misses work, or drinks too much and scolds his children, he makes atonement. He must make offerings in one day at nine different temples if the infraction is serious. And, not just any temple, the main temples. Below is the temple with the largest sitting Buddha, Temple Wat Sutat. This Buddha with canopy sits on an ornate, beautifully carved base 8 meters high and 6.25 meters wide. It was built in 1807 and is the oldest and largest cast bronze Buddha in Thailand. Story art work covers the walls. I’m guestimating the building is about 5 stories high. Thais throw coins into 108 pots around the perimeter of the temple and ring the bells for their atonement. Some make atonement once a year on a festival day.


The story walls are undergoing restoration. The entire temple is painted with these stories and are an amazing work of art as well as the edifice that holds the Buddha.

Our next stop on the way to another temple was the Buddha store. Most of these Bhudda are commissioned sales, but many smaller ones can be purchased by anyone passing by. They have a variety of Bhudda and statues of generals, or famous people, their Kings, elephants, and so on.

Here a workman with a steady hand scripts his recent masterpiece.

Wat is the Thai word for temple. Wat Po houses the famous reclining Buddha and if memory serves me he is 127 feet long. Tough to get a picture, the post cards do a better job. He is a fine figure and this is the oldest temple.,

After lunch we visit the home/museum of Jim Thompson, a man who fell in love with Thailand during WWII. He returned and opened a silk factory and revitalized the Thai silk industry and expanded it to international markets. He had several typical open style teakwood houses. Thompson took a trip to Malaysia and vanished. His body, nor any trace of him was ever found. His houses were all moved to this spot and are now a museum. No pictures were allowed inside but we were allowed to take a picture from the outside. The grounds were beautiful as well as the antiques inside.
After respite at our hotel, we attend the Puppet Theatre. A nearly lost traditional art revitalized by a man called Joe Louis. This puppet show has won several international awards.

The Puppet Theatre is also a dinner house. The puppets each require three handlers and they visited our table. Mason was obviously enjoying himself.

As was Simcha Saul above and Wendy Aisley below.

Flat Stanley also attended the show and sat on the knee of a puppet master with a puppet king.
The costuming was fabulous. The show itself was in Thai with English subtitles on very visible screens.
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