Sardargarh Train Ride

22nd February 2014 (Day 14) Sardargarh, Rajasthan, India

 

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In the morning after breakfast, we boarded a train for a journey from a village near Sardargarh to the town of Phulad 44 kilometres to the north.

All images are as viewed from the train, or within the train, except for the last two where we have disembarked at the final station.

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We were in the end car and a large group of people joined us at one station, mainly young women.  They were very friendly and great fun and very happy to have their photograph taken.

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My partner Jools tells me that they were mainly daughters of working men, on an outing for the day.

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“The track passes through a breath taking scenery of Ravli Sanctuary, with 100 feet high bridges, two long tunnels, waterfalls, thick jungle, and above all an unchanged ambience of a bygone era. The track is cut on a cliff side and one comes down by almost one thousand feet. All along one can only appreciate the Herculean effort by the engineers in 1928.”

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This is at the stop where our fellow travellers left the train.

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Viewed from above in a small town, but still from the train.

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Now we have disembarked and are about to board the bus at the right for our return journey to Sardargarh.

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This is the ticket office at Phulad, with its curious sign.

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Ranakpur

21st February 2014 (Day 13) Ranakpur, Rajasthan, India

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We are approaching the entrance of the remarkable Jain Temple in Ranakpur, constructed between 1439 and 1458, in an enclave inside the Kumbhalgarh National Park.

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The intricacy of the carving is most remarkable.

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There are “about 1444” columns in the temple and they are all different.

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There are a number of these ceiling domes.  While they might look the same at first glance, they are also all different.

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The Jain religion is about as old as Bhuddism, dating from somewhere around 500BC.  Both religions were at one time much stronger in India than they are today.  Currently, about 80% of India’s population is Hindu, 13% Moslem, 3% Christian, 1.6% Sikh, 1.5% Bhuddist and 0.5% Jain.  However, Jainism is the strongest religion in Udaipur, so this region is probably its strongest corner of India.

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Mobile phones are everywhere in India.  Even in a corner of a Jain temple, we see a holy man in the background on his mobile phone.

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The Jain religion is essentially relativist, holding that all perceptions of truth and reality are different and can never be complete.  It does not postulate a supreme being or creator and rather seeks unity with Nature.  Jains are non-violent and vegetarian.  Jain ascetics hold to five tenets including non-violence, speaking truth, not seeking profit or material advantage, celibacy and detachment from people, places and material things.

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Outside, in a small sub-temple, was a Langur mother and child.

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Hindustan Ambassador

This is a Hindustan Motors Ambassador, at one time the archetypal Indian automobile and still manufactured in small quantities.  It is based on the Morris Oxford of 1955-58.

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The 600-year old sacred tree in the temple grounds.

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Udaipur to Ranakpur

21st February 2014 (Day 13) Udaipur to Ranakpur, Rajasthan, India

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Flute music with breakfast at our hotel.

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Indian road construction is not as mechanised as in developed countries.

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Still in Udaipur.  They are making concrete.  Sand, gravel and water.

We immediately noticed a great difference in arriving in Rajasthan after travelling in Delhi and Agra and the surrounding countryside – effective rubbish collection and no piles of rubbish lying around.  There were fewer obviously poor people and hardly any beggars.    There were also more people on motor scooters and motor bikes and fewer people with hand carts.  As well as that, there were a significant number of women riding motor scooters or motor bikes and hardly any in Delhi or Agra.

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DSCF2650 Now leaving Udaipur and travelling north….

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The oxen are turning a water wheel for irrigation which is hidden behind them.  We stopped here for a while and I was given the honour of sitting in the chair and going round with the oxen.

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If you look at the signs you will see that this is a campus for the Pacific University.

Well, OK, another explanation is that this village is visible from the road and they have some advertising billboards on their walls.

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We are now in the hills of Kumbhalgarh National Park and these are Common Langurs.

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