Day 09 - Saturday, November 5, 2016 - Overland to Jaipur; City Market; Textile Center
We were up before the sun and had breakfast talking with many of the travelers from the other OAT group. At 8:30 we thanked the staff at the tent camp and boarded the bus for our ride back to Jaipur.
Sujay gave us the morning's briefing and then put up a large map of India marked with the route of our journey. He presented a summarized version of the history of India.
The original name of the country was Hindustan. Dravidians, (native Indians), and Aryans mixed to produce the different shapes and colors of the people of Indian.
The cast system was originated in the early ages of the country. In 976 BC, the Muslims invaded the country. At this time the Indian women were veiled to protect themselves from the conquerors. From the 12th century onward, India was ruled by the Muslim dynasties.
In 1601 the British came to India from the east through China. In 1857 the Indians and Muslims fought together against the East India Company. In the 1920's a British general massacred hundreds of Indians.
Of course, there were great outcries especially by Mahatma Gandhi. Until independence in 1947, the country was in turmoil. When the British divided the country between India and Pakistan, the partition and the resulting conflict was called the holocaust of India. Sujay included stories of his own ancestral family and their struggles coming from Pakistan.
Referring to the map, Sujay talked about all of the states and their products as well as the politics of the area. He pointed out the northern state of Himachal Pradesh where the Dahli Lama has been given safe refuge from the Chinese. This is the primary reason for the present day conflict between China and India.
At 10:45 we stopped for lunch at Kuber Resort near the city of Bandarsindri, about half way between Pushkar and Jaipur. There were very clean restrooms, a large gift shop, and nice lunchroom.
We were there for about an hour and then back on Route #8 making great time. Sujay answered our questions about the dividing of the region and the two Pakistans and then the new country of Bangladesh.
Created in 1971, India helped the country to get their independence from Pakistan. Bangladesh is the poorest country in the world although it does have many natural resources.
He also explained the interesting liquor laws because there are 12 areas in India where the sale and consumption of liquor are prohibited. In those areas, a home brew is made and similar to our moonshine; it is called hooch. There have been many instances of serious illness and even death because of drinking this alcohol.
We arrived back in Jaipur to stay just one night at the Radisson Blu again. We had 90 minutes to settle into our rooms and then we were off again to explore more of the city.
At 3:00 we took the bus to the city center and then rode the rickshaws to the Chandpole Bazaar where we did a lot of people watching and bought a few trinkets. There were small grocery stores to buy spices, but they were not labeled nor were they sealed and we did not think US Customs would appreciate us bring them back into the country.
As we walked through the markets, we could smell the pleasant aromas of the spices and the street food being prepared. When we passed the chili vendors, Sujay warned us not to breathe in too deeply as just the smell in the air would burn our throats.
The rickshaws took us back to our bus that could not maneuver in the small crowded streets and we were off again to visit the Shree Carpet and Textile Mahal. Niki, our host demonstrated the art of block printing that is so prevalent in India fabric design.
The next discovery was the hand weaving of Indian carpets. We watched women weaving and also the trimming of the excess yarn from the carpet.
Following the handiwork phase we were taken to a gallery to see wool, silk, and camel hair carpets. Although they were lovely, only a few people were interested once Niki provided the prices.
The last display was the textiles where we saw beautiful table clothes, clothing, scarves and saris. We walked out without buying a thing and felt very good about our decision. Shopping is not our priority, but many people came to get great deals on India’s special products.
Traffic was a nightmare again – we are coming to know that this is a way of life in India. When we got on the bus we found out that the shorter route for dinner was closed so we had to take a route around the city.
By the time we got to The TownHouse, an Italian/Indio restaurant, it was almost 8:00. Our dinner was appetizers, pasta with a light red sauce, grilled chicken, a fish with Italian seasoning with diced tomatoes, and a light cheesecake for dessert.
We arrived back at the hotel at 9:30 ready to complete the journal and take a real shower. Living at the tent camp was exciting for two days, but we were happy to be back to our hotel and modern facilities.
And we thought traffic was bad in Sao Paulo, Brazil and in Cairo, Egypt… India’s traffic is a hundred times worse. According to Big Facts on India by the BBC News:
There are more road deaths in India than any other country in the world. This is a statistic that won't surprise many visitors, for whom the roads of India are often terrifying.
Accommodations: Radisson Blu Jaipur Hotel - - - Meal: B & D
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Your block print will be a very special memento! I was amused that they all their moonshine "hooch." That term was also typically used in Iowa too.
I still have my block print from our trip! I think India has a bit more shopping than some places for OAT trips. There were beautiful things, but nothing I really needed. It is fun to look, for a while! Looking forward to more postings.
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Your tales remind me of the horrendous traffic in China - hated it!
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