India is awesomely Incredible!!
Well, i mean it! Its totally not a lie. India really is incredible as far as i can say. Many unexpected things just happen in India. As a slum area stand tall behind modern metro with super fast train, and as countless homeless people all around the city. It was nice, it was bad, it was disgusting, all were mixed up so that you can not predict anything to be. Cows could walk slowly in the middle of the road, a holy man sleep calmly near the platform. Another time a couple of squirrels might jump right in front of your face. India is where you can saw peacocks like seeing chicken in Indonesia. Indian people didnt eat pig, it was only for pauper who cant even work out some vegetables. Anywhere you can hear honk race against another. The rickshaw driver speed up his auto to catch nearest tourist. The people smile friendly saying namaste and eat capati with their hand and drink Chai, Indian tea with milk and spices. And your choice here, to be non veg, or vegetarian!
Agra: Taj Mahal
Its around 47 degrees. A giant area with big white mausoleum, mosque, guest houses, super large garden, and perfected by yamuna river as the back border. This mausoleum was built by Shah Jahan, the mughal emperor in the late 16 century of India. He built it for his lovely pretty third wife who died while giving birth to their 14th child. The whole mausoleum decorated with precious Persian marbles with Lotus design topped by a gilded finial. Exterior decoration was full of beautiful calligraphy of Ya Sin and another Surah from Al Quran. The gorgeous of Taj Mahal, been described in words by the King:
…Should a sinner make his way to this mansion,
All his past sins are to be washed away.
The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs;
And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes…
The entry tickets for tourist are ridiculous, 750rs compared to 20rs for local. No wonder the entry queue is so long. Security do baggage and body check. And inside, wow, its no market, No?
Inside the mausoleum, its clear white. The Persian marble looks so precious, with black, red and orange gemstone which were cut and designed to make sun motif in octagonal entry. In the first level, it was the duplicate of the original graves that lied underneath.
In this place, we got a chance to see the real slum area of India. Its not as disgusting as the movie Slumdog Millionare pictured you all -it was in Mumbai though- but this place, which named Bata Basti, also tell much about India at lower level. There is a small sand dunes behind the village and i bet you to guess what did we see. Hell to the No, its people bringing out a bottle of water, finding a place to squat down, and -i am sorry- they just poo! No boundary, no fence and absolutely no toilet. Its and open air area, for real!
We get into one of the house, which thanks God, much much more clean and tidy compared to another one. They served us Chai, and allowed us to get some pictures. Along the road, the other villager just did their routines, brushing their teeth in front of their house -no toilet noted-, another ladies just sit and talks with each other while give us curious look. A man walk down his bicycle behind some goat and cow that walk freely. And the kids, yeah, they ask us 1rs for any picture of them that we take -_-!
Jaipur is the pink city, the largest and capital city of state Rajasthan. In the old time, most of the building in the city were painted pink during a visit from Prince of Wales. Originally there were nine blocks, which consist of road and square. Now, after some restoration, renovation, and the growth of population, the pink fainted and mixed up with another colors. But, still, the old wonderful historical building is in pink, such as the Hawa Mahal, Rambagh Palace, Maharaja Palace etc.
I rewarded this city, as the most comfort city i ever been while in India. The people, the food, the weather, its all just perfect to stay long and relax. The city which also known famously as Lake city or White city has an extensive Palace near the Lake side with several enjoyable cafe and exclusive boat. This place looks like Legian Street in Bali, Indonesia. Lots of tourist choose to stay here since the city center is only that tiny place around City Palace.
City palace consist of Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal. Chandra Mahal houses a museum which need another entry fee, and also royal resident which has limited access. To get into the City Palace Complex, we should pay 50rs each, and additional 200rs for camera *sigh. The palace is total BIG and LARGE. So sad that many people had suffer to built this incredible building back then in 17th century. Inside were crafting, painting, and also memorable item of the king and its army. And to be noted, up there at upper level, there is a garden. Yes, with a pool in the middle and several trees surround it. Classic!
This is the city of Desert. A Far ranging desert lie in this golden city. Its pretty hot, for sure, as the weather can reach 50 degree or more. We run into a Camel Safari, paying around 1700rs or $34 for two days one night tour. Its including the food, the jeep, village tour, camel man, and unlimited water. For us, it also including a free room for the next day before we catch our late night train. The camel safari tour, for me, it felt like riding a horse, with a taller and bigger ride. My camel’s name is Radja, while the kid who was coming with it is Jalu. New things I just know about camel, they love be in the groups and they love each other. When one camel start eat, another will doing so. My camel start walking, the other will follow. Its so unique and its more fascinating when the camel start to run! You should hold tight and feel the bump under your butt.
When the sun goes down, it is no perfect sunset, but i did marked this as one of my precious moment. It felt like in mars, with unlimited landscape which was beamed by the red round sun. For few minutes, the sun looks perfect. Some misty cloud make it even beautiful. But soon later, the sky started to dark, some cloud swinging in, and then we finally lost the sun behind cosmical line. Then, after having dinner with hot Chai, and a sand mixing capati -i can only swallow small piece of capati and then buried it under the sand-, the camel man suddenly said that tonight might going to rain. We all felt afraid since the wind almost sound like a storm already. They kindly bring us to move to their village, but we should not say any words to the tour agent about it. They worried if the tour agents will cut their fees which only 1000rs A MONTH . Its even less than the amount we paid for one person per visit!
We went on night camel safari, and experience what we appreciate the most, riding camel, under the star, in full dark desert, and listened to some kind of desert musical instrument from the camel man phone. We arrived after one hour ride, and slept outside under a dry tree in front of their dome. I cant barely sleep. Its too dark and some weird bell keep ringing. In the morning, voila, we opened up our eyes and see the sun slowly rise, with the view of large sand dunes, camels, and donkeys, and the shrill voice of Jaisalmer kids.
And the bell i heard earlier was the tag of a cow! hushh!
We all touched by the kids here. Jaisalmer kids less money oriented compared to the one in the city. They ask us to play, and school pen, and never ask for money. Some also tell us about their school, whilst the other have no enough money to pay for the school. Since their childhood, they already asked to help their family, just like Jalu, by being a camel man.
At my first glance, this city looks so terrible, messy, dirty and full of homeless people. It was because i first saw it on our way to Jaisalmer from Udaipur. It was so early in the morning and we pass through the wide road at the outer ring. Then when we come in, its much more, much more fantastic!
There is this location near the clock tower and the fort where lot of hotels, shop, and restaurants take places. We checked in to get some rest at noon and to get clean. The rooms rate quite cheap, the food taste more regular than what we had earlier in the desert. We got an offer to visit Bishnoi Village, a place outside the city where the people live peacefully with any living things. The people here famous for their self sacrifice while the government about to cut off their trees. They even embrace the city just like it was their family, to stop the clipper. They also love animal so much, killed not one life, eat only vegetables with wheat chapati. Here we can find peacocks and antelopes anywhere like some pet.
To honour the guests, Bishnoi people did a tradition here. They usually set an opium party while celebrating the event such us wedding and tourist visit. We only need to give him some money as compliments and he will prepare us some opium mixed in with a lot of mineral water. After three times filtering, he gave it first to his God, in the look of Goat and Dog miniature, and then he allowed us to drink some with our right hand. Well, it taste like a medicine when i lick my tongue on it. No effect and no sensation at all.
As the country capital city of India, we did expect more from this city. Aside from our very bad first impression when we arrived in India, we really expect another face of India here. New delhi is different slightly with Old delhi, and much different with its previous country capital, Mumbai. Some part of New delhi can be seen near Connaught Place and Presidential Palace or Rashtrapati Bhavan which was originally built for the Governor.Its very clean, well guarded, and tidier compared to another part of India. There is a giant gate in the middle of city with INDIA word on it. Its look like the one in Paris if you know it. And between this giant monument to Presidential Palace, stretch out a large and clean road, with a super large garden at both side, where the couple and raven could play along. I am again so amazed with the architect this country had in the past. The building looks so gorgeous from outside and i cant really imagine how it looked like from the inside. We also give a glance to Jamak Mosque, Red fort or Lal qila, and the square. All are amazing!
We stay long here. Two days and one night just in this city. we plan to visit Akshardham, the larget Hindu Temple in the world but we can not make it. We stay near Main bazaar in Paharganj where there are alot of hostels, foods, restaurant and accessories shop. The bangle, the necklace, and ring, its all unique and totally cheap. I wonder if i can bring the whole shop back with me to my hometown ;p
There are many unforgettable memories about India. In Agra, groups of monkeys hastily opened up our bag and eat all snacks we had. In Jaipur, a lot of rickshaw driver forced us to use their service. In Jodphur we played and tried to catch some peacocks. . In the market at Udaipur, a seller force me to buy her bracelet. In New Delhi, we watch Transformer 3D in the cinema. The movie was great, the 3D effect was not so great, but what miraculously amazing is the break happened in the middle of the movie. They said, “take ur munchies break for 20 minutes” o.. o.. :))
In India, the woman work harder than men. Some poor women from outside village might seen doing hard labor work. Bringing up some brick with their head, hoeing a pole next to some pedestrian, or doing another hard worker things.
And behind all incredible things, lied down incredible journey with another four members of the team. We set up, we mingle, we laugh, we get mad, we exhausted, while keep protecting each other. Big hug from Indonesia!