Sunday, March 27, 2011

A day in a Bishnoi village near Jodhpur.. .

Jodhpur is mostly famous for places and forts. However, I wanted to see and meet the local people. We got lucky. The Haveli we stayed in, organised a trip to a nearby Bishnoi village.

"A Bishnoi Hut". Bishnoi community is known for their dedication towards conservation. Somewhere in the 18th century, the "Construction Minister" of king of Jodhpur needed wood for some construction project. Back then it was not an organised community, but 100 villagers stood up and tied themselves to the trees, stopping the Minister to continue with his plans. The Bishnoi's believe in conservation and respect for other animals and plants. They do not support the idea of destroying (killing) life for satisfying human needs. About 50 people were also killed. This incident got the attention of the King, and since then the village and its surrounding area was protected or marked out from any future extraction.

Pottery is not unquie to Rajasthan, but this is the first time, I actual witnessed the whole process outside a TV.
The pile of freshly made pots after it has been burnt for few days.
I was quite impressed to see the variety of things they end up making with just that spinning wheel! The variation in color comes from the duration of heat and water used in the soil.
The Master and His Wheel with few curious tourist's.

Yes, totally touristic ...

It felt like baking a cake with hand. Something between funny and interesting feeling for the hands.
Ghungat ke aarh se (Behind the veil). The Veil Culture of Rajasthan. Women are not allowed to show their faces to anyone but their husband and children. I don't know how they can carry out with such exclusive creative work behind those veils. If it was me, I am confident that I would have made a mess of things around.

Jodhpur is also famous for 'Darri/Rug'. To put it in simple words, a "Rug" made of sheep or camel hair, dyed and weaved into beautiful pattern. It can be used on either side and folded back into a small size. Its mostly used as a spread on the floor, table or wall, depending on your necessity.
I am pathetic and hopelessly drawn to such stuff. I am using them as my mouse pad :)
Now, right there we have '5 Camels'. The brown ball held in mom's hand. Camel hair from 5 camels. Coarse, hard but very warm. It's hard to dye camel hair. Hence camel rugs are mostly very dull in color. It's mostly used by the locals and does not seem to have a market outside Rajasthan.
Dal Bati Churma - traditional food from Rajasthan. Had Bhakri (the local bread) for the first time. We could not find the same dal or bhakri, anywhere else for the next 7 days!!!
Pigs and Piglets eating :)
Any guesses on what that man is holding.....????
That was "Opium". Five grains or produce from Rajasthan (Jodhpur). Mustard, Cumin, Opium, and Sangri (the only vegetable, its like beans). Cannot remember the other ones. Unlike other places where opium is smoked, here its drunk. A Bishnoi (the local community around Jodhpur) practice or ritual in the evenings.
Crack the fruit to extract the seeds. Crush them with a pestle. Clean or filter it through water couple of times. Then drink the water from those oval bowls, if you are a man, :)
The Opium Factory
"Asta la Vista". Time to say bye to the family who shared their home with us for a day. I don't think I will see them again in my life. But their warmth, gesture, affection and welcoming attitude will remind be of the beautiful people of "Rural India". Something, that I really miss, since I completed my PhD and have settled down for an urban life!

Our guide and his Land Rover. Must mention he had a "Black Beery "!

So, that was Jodhpur. We head north west from here (Jaisalmer and Bikaner) into the Desert.

The Green Rajasthan (East) that we are about to say Bye

The West, where we are headed for next 6 days..
The Landscape that comes to our mind, when we think of Rajasthan.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Back with Columbus... !

After 2 years.. it feels if I am home... Thanks Mateee..

View BikeRoute2 - Jordan River Trail in a larger map

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Time is running short...

Daughter's grow up faster than their dad want them to...

Unlike, photography where you can take care of back logs over time, child care does not provide such a possibility. We need to keep up with our hyper-energetic duracell children :). I am sure some parents badly seek a charger for themselves to keep up. I know my parents badly seeked for one!
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R.a.j.a.s.t.h.a.n - a dream destiantion

After years of dreaming I was finally able to visit Rajsthan, this Feb. It was a very hectic but wonderful trip. We spent a week in the camel country roaming aroung the palaces and forts, like the Kings and Queens in the past. And I clicked almost 800 pictures. Satiated for now, would love to go back again. Here is a brief review of the first day at Jodhpur.
The Haveli we stayed. Yes, the sight of this place at 6 am was just amazing. Despite her knee problem my mom was all enthusiastic about climbing those stairs and exploring the place.

Anu, peeking out from our window..

The Haveli's dining area...

Despite the hard life and dryness, Rajasthan is a place of color. I cannot think of another equally colorful place visited till date..

The Haveli - from inside..

View from the window. These are old traditional houses (~500 years old), mostly used by the owner to entice tourists like us. :)

Even the camels are colorful !

Jodhpur is mainly famous for Mehengarh Fort and Jaswant Thada. We were lucky to be able to see both along with a quick visit to the Bishnoi Village too. The following snaps take us back to the Fort and the Old city sprawling around it.

Entrance of the Mehengarh Fort
Painting on the Fort wall. In the past they used natural colors. Today they are maintained by chemical colors. The Fort and Palaces in the past used to have 10 -12 painter's to keep up with such intricacies. Art and culture was at its prime during our princely era. The story is little different today.

"Tradition and Modernism Hand-in-Hand"

Inside the Mehengarh Fort

View from the top..
Jodhpur the "Blue City"

Jaipuri Juti - the most colorful shoes you can find anywhere in the world.. Did I tell I have a things for shoes!
Yup, so that's my **th, pair :P

Instead of a CD or MP3 player, real people were playing music in the Palace..It was amazing..

Family is all about making fun of each other and laughing at each other. Human's and Ape's together :) ...Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Woman's Day !

The one who inspires me the most...
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