We passed a wedding along the way. Hari stopped the car so that I could take a few pictures. These celebrations go on for a long time. Hari is missing out on a wedding party today. I was interested in seeing one of the tuk tuk’s kited out with a system. It was blastting Hindi music through its amplified set up. We continued along to our next stop an old temple built in the 9th century. It was destroyed by the invading Muslim rulers bit some of it remains partially restored. One of the attractions of this place is the deep pool that acted as a water cistern.
The shadows played with the geometry creating a wonderful pattern. It was hard to capture it fully. I succumbed to getting a guide and after some exchanges he confided to me that he can’t taste anything after a motorbike accident he had a number of years ago. He showed me his scar and asked if an MRI could help. I said to him that an MRI won’t cure the problem it could only show what is suspected already that that particular part of his brain is damaged. I went to check out the partially and haphazardly rebuilt temple. The carving of the stone is superb. All the intricate detail found in the stone is really good. This area is renowned for this type of work. We drove by many shops displaying their work on our way to get here.
I’ve become a total tourist. Camera in hand, backpack, sunglasses and an indifference to the hawkers all around me. I’ve also become aware of a certain power posessed by me and the others travelling these roads from overseas. That is the desire for them to get what I have money.
We kept driving and our next stop was a palace and mosque complex built by one of the rulers in the 16th century. This place was magnificent. It was built by the great grandfather of the guy responsible for the Taj Mahal.
Some of the spaces were truly grand. This place was slick especially by today’s standards. The vast courtyards and spaces provided a leisurely existence here. The palace is surprisingly well preserved with some restoration work happening.
I spent a while exploring this complex occasionally waiting a while for the tourists to pass out of the shot. There was a recurring theme filled with the repeting pattern of arches creating a sense of distance. These repeating patterns brought a sense of cohesion to the palace. It was well thought out. All of the upper stories were off limits.
I had a sense of déjà vu sitting there listening to the thunder in the distance. I wondered if rain would reach me here and if that would force us visitors to huddle under the structures around us. I liked the building above. It was tucked away in the corner and had a nice feel to it. I wandered over to the mosque complex by the palace.
The entrance is essentially free for this place. As I walked toward the entrance another of these “tour guides” approached me. I told him that I was sick and tired of people coming up to me wanting money. He said that he wasn’t that type of guide and that he wouldn’t ask for any money. I agreed to his guidance. He explained that a priest blessed the ruler so that he could have a son. Because a son came the ruler built this complex. There is a built in water collection system and impressive imposing structures above.
The guide showed me some things that were very interesting like the alignment of the vaulted ceiling and the carved marble screen in the white mosque. Many people prayed for things inside myself included. The ritual involved a donation of cloth and flowers as well as tying a string to the marble screen inside representing the wish. It was a ritualistic excersise steeped in some mysterious symbolism.
The guide skillfully directed me to a marble carver or salesman. He was selling some neat things but I wasn’t buying any of it. He looked a bit disappointed as did the sales guy. He even wanted me to give my used ticket to a kid so that he could resell it. Nope. I told him he did a good job and got onto the bus back to the parking lot.
We drove to the hotel and made plans for the morning. When I got to the room my thoughts once again turned to the agent. I have a plan that I will execute once I get home. Today when I saw my room I was going to call. I went downstairs as it was not possible to call from the room. I told them that I wasn’t happy and they upgraded my room to a bigger one. I told Hari earlier that I am probably too nice and he indicated that was the case. I told him that I don’t want to be un-nice. I don’t like where that takes me.
After puttering for a while I stepped out for some food and l saw wedding celebrations taking place in the distance. I checked it out for a while as the music was blaring from the loud system. I saw a McDonalds and decided to eat there out of curiosity as the sale of beef is prohibited in India. At least I know what to expect from them. The meal was cheap and had an interesting taste. I had the Maharaja Mac meal. It was essentially a chicken burger. Satisfied I went back refusing rides from the tuk tuk drivers offering their services. I now am dealing with the poor wifi as I write this I just don’t want to loose these words…