Our tour guide, Ian, was resting at the Hotel and we continued on with our Indian Tour Guide Yuraj who showed us many sights in the streets of Udaipur. He pointed out various details that were of interest like the way that the houses are all decorated and usually have the god Lord Ganesha somewhere near the entrance of the house as he deflects bad luck and is always worshipped first. The Ganesha vandana is sung first while invoking the gods of which we were told there are 33 million. We saw many examples of people painting the front of their houses with red coloured dye and there were yellow marigold prayer flower garlands everywhere and also sold on the streets. People use these during their religious rituals and pluck the flowers as they pray.
We saw many vendors selling all sorts of wares and in tiny little shops where they literally have to sit down in the shop to sell their goods. There were tailors and leather wares, shoe cleaners, flower girls, embroidered bags and textiles, jewellery and various traditional crafts. I believe we were walking in the Lake Palace Road which is renowned for it's bazaars and food.
We came round a corner and found an example of a painted holy cow which I believe is part of one of the Diwali ceremonies of cow worship. It had a great deal of attention from us as we all tried to find the best angle to show off this already unique sight.
Below the cow is being fed by the local people. A folded chapati!
Would you walk into this scene below? We did and Jeff got pinned against a car as these cows aren't all as docile as the pink chapati eating cow.
We arrived at the Jagdish Hindu Temple in Udaipur which is dedicated to the Lord Vishnu. After removing our shoes in a special shoe storage area, we walked around the temple and admired all the stone carvings on the outside of the temple and the unique architecture dating back to 1652. The temple is three storeys tall and decorates the skyline of Udaipur as the spire is some 79 feet high. It is visible from nearly anywhere in the old city centre. The street square at the base of the temple steps is known as Jagdish Chowk. Inside the temple there are beautifully decorated ceilings and paintings.
We were allowed to enter the temple and sat on the floor rugs while people were chanting and singing. There was a singer who was leading the chanting. It was beautiful inside and very nice and cool. I admired the ladies sarees and bangles as they all looked like they took time to wear their best to come to the temple. On our way out we were marked with the red powder paste on our foreheads as you can see below on the lovely Jane.
Above is the carving of the 'Footprints of God' right by the outside of the Temple. Inside it is the ceremonial sandlewood paste used to mark the forehead. The marble slab underneath it is believed to cure ailments and you can see people rubbing their knees or other aches and pains against the marble. As it was around lunch time we were told that people bring food offerings to feed the gods at lunch time. In the morning they come to wake the gods up and at sundown they come again to pray for rest and peace.
A brass image of Lord Vishnu's transport Garuda (half man and half bird) is placed in a separate shrine in front of the temple.
Below is a very unusual dwelling also on the site of the Temple as you walk around.
After we visited the Jagdish Temple it was time for some very sweet Chai Tea in a cafe off the street. We were made very welcome and was glad to sit down for a little while before we continued our walk around Udaipur. Below are some scenes in the streets.
If you have read this blog previously you might remember that I was having a struggle with myself feeling unable to relate to people around me at this point, I was getting quite panicky thinking that I just haven't got it in me to capture this amazing experience and connect in a meaningful way that will show the experience and people for what it is and who they are sensitively and creatively. So much so that I could not bear to look at my images when I got home and it has taken me nearly eight months to have courage to start editing the images I took. However as I am re-living week by week I am seeing my own emotions in some of the people's faces that I photographed. I was envious of my travelling companions' beautiful close-up portraits of happy, smiling, engaging faces. I was just feeling so awkward and wished for some vision or epiphany which of course never comes as we are in charge of our own aura around us to which people respond. This was where I remained for almost two whole weeks of the journey, but maybe it had to be my journey and something I had to experience to understand more about others and explore it through the photographs.
Indian black salt, or kala namak, is an Indian volcanic rock salt and apparently tastes a bit like eggs which is therefore popular with vegans.
Below the vibrant fruit and vegetable market. Women in their wonderfully colourful sarees sit surrounded by the very plentiful produce while children and animals roam freely. The women were very friendly and happy to show their produce. Yuraj bought us some type of fried crisps at one of the stalls and they tasted and smelt great.
At this point I had enough and so did Jane. It was getting extremely stressful trying to dodge all the people, carts, bikes etc and the noise was getting overwhelming. Poor Jane was also feeling totally stressed out by all the noise and we were so grateful to get out of the streets and back on the mini-bus back to the hotel and some well deserved drinks (I had to learn to drink beer!!) and feet up.
Next week come along to the City Palace with some incredible architectural details and history.