INDIA, Jan. 2009


Photos © Ruud Leeuw

Our very first visit to India... At the airport of New Delhi we were met by a chauffeur and he drove us through Rajasthan. After visits to Jaipur, Pushkar and Udaipur we were on our way to Jodhpur.

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One cold morning
We left Udaipur early as we were in for a long drive. Travel is slow due to other traffic and people &
animals in the road, but this time we also had to cross a mountain range. People try to stay warm but
one doesn't see many jackets. A simple draped cloth is still the basic attire for many Indians. Men
generally wear a dhoti, which can be worn full length or as 'pants' depending on the region.


Women at work
The women wear a sari, which is worn with a blouse underneath, with the material ranging from cotton to silk.
Here one sees women at a waterpump; fetching water is a main feature of the household chores. It made me realise that getting water from the tap in the house is a luxury not enjoyed by billions of people on this planet


Woman at roadwork
Women are often involved in roadworks, doing menial work.
She is probably involved in moving rubble and stones from A to B, earning a few rupees.

If one looks closely, the features of the woman on the right can be distinguised through the veil
Women in Rajasthan

There is significant discrimination toward girls and women. While young girls are expected to help with the women's work (which consists of fetching water, preparing meals, cleaning, and caring for animals) as well as care for their younger siblings; boys have it much easier.
They may be required to herd goats and other animals to and from the fields, but in general have it much easier than their female counterparts and this discrimination doesn't end with adulthood.

Roadside temple

A roadside temple. It is often hard to distinguish the derelict and abandoned ones, and the ones that are still in use.

Green fields
A women is seen carrying water to her house. In the distance one can see another woman doing the same thing. No doubt fetching water will be repeated a number of times during the day, over considerable distances.

At home, tap water (running water) is a normal part of indoor plumbing, which became available in the late 19th century and became common in the mid-20th century.
The provision of tap water requires a massive infrastructure of piping, pumps, and water purification works. The direct cost of the tap water alone, however, is a small fraction of that of bottled water, which can cost from 240 to 10,000 times as much for the same amount.[Wikipedia]

School is out
These kids look good and well-taken care of in their schooluniforms.
But notice all kids in this photo don't wear shoes.

Mother and child
To the foreign traveler, one of the powerful attractions in India is the colorful and diversified attire of its people. The silk saris, brightly mirrored cholis, colorful lehangas and the traditional salwar-kameez have fascinated many a traveler over the centuries.

Getting water..

When a woman marries, she leaves her birth family, often without seeing them ever again. She will live in her husband's village and becomes part of his family. 
Note that cute puppy in the foreground of the photo.

Crossing a mountain
Suddenly the road climbed steeply and we drove zigzag-roads up the mountain
We noticed bamboo growing in these parts
What a splendid view! Alas, there were no facilities to stop and enjoy that view at leasure.
Splendid view

Monkey land
The driver had no job as a guide, he was not fluent enough. But he did take the trouble pointing one or two things out to us every now and then, such as telling us we were travelling through a National Park here. The park contained a large population of monkeys.



Temple of ranakpur
We made a stop at Ranakpur, a huge temple complex in the middle of nowhere.
Rules and Regulations
Rules & Regulations
We did not bother going inside, the exterior was impressive enough

The dating of this temple is controversial but it is largely considered to be anywhere between the late 14th to mid-15th centuries.

Ranakpur is a village near Sadri town in the Pali district of Rajasthan in western India. It is located between Jodhpur and Udaipur, in a valley on the western side of the Aravalli Range. Ranakpur is easily accessed by road from Udaipur.
Ranakpur is widely known for its marble Jain temple, and for a much older Sun Temple which lies opposite the former.
Magnificent door

This Jain temple is dedicated to Adinatha.
Light colored marble has been used for the construction of this grand temple which occupies an area of approximately 60 x 62 meters.
The temple displays distinctive domes, shikhara, turrets and cupolas and rises majestically from the slope of a hill.
Over 1444 marble pillars, carved in exquisite detail, support the temple. The pillars are all differently carved and no two pillars are the same.


Temple complex at ranakpur

There are four subsidiary shrines here. The main temple is called the Chaumukha Mandir ('Four-Faced Temple') and it is dedicated to Adinath. Within the complex there are 2 more Jain temples (Neminath and Parasnath) and a Sun temple. Outside, about 1 km from the main complex is Amba Mata temple (we did not go there).
[Lonely Planet guidebook]

I had not heard of the Jain religion, except in a book which I started reading during this trip, "American Pastoral" by Philip Roth. The daughter of the main character embraces this religion, which is not for the faint-hearted.
Jainism is one of the oldest religions that originated in India. Jains believe that every soul is divine and has the potential to achieve enlightenment or Moksha. Any soul which has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state of supreme being is called jina (Conqueror or Victor). Jainism is the path to achieve this state. Jainism is often referred to as Jain Dharma or Shraman Dharma or the religion of Nirgantha or religion of "Vratyas" by ancient texts.
A main point is that every living being has a soul and every soul is divine, with innate, though typically unrealized, infinite knowledge, perception, power, and bliss. Therefore, one should regard every living being as yourself, harm no one, and manifest benevolence for all living beings. [Wikipedia]

ranakpur temple complex


Cultures meet
We had a pleasant and endearing encounter with a schoolgroup, who were thrilled by meeting westerners. They filmed and photographed us, posing with the group.



Holy Cow
Magnificent animal!
Cow awaits food
It is a good thing for your karma if you buy leaves from this woman and feed it to the cow


Repairs While our driver added pressure into a tire, using a long line from the shop, I had time to make this photo of a (tire) repairstation.


Women in Rajasthan

Waiting for things to come

No drainage
No drainage on the roads in Rajasthan, not even in the towns and villages

Indian streetscene
Just another town

Water is vital

Our car and driver
Our driver, Vinod, took good care of his car.
And kept the windows clean, which was good for my photography.


Helpful links: (Dutch)
Lonely Planet