Today was a very very busy day. We started the day off with a bit of a walking tour around Chanderi. Chanderi is a small town (40,000 people) in northern India. Intrepid like to try and take you off the beaten track a little bit and show you some real villages were the people don't hassle you like they do in the cities. And this is fantastic. Instead of people constantly hassling us like they were in Delhi and Agra all the children wanted here was to wave at us and say hi and to get their pictures taken on the digital cameras. One of our first stops was at the ruins of an old royal guest house. It had a beautiful gate that was used as one of the entrances to the old city (I think). From there we moved onto an old mosque that was quite possibly one of the prettiest ruins that I think I have ever seen. It had a 300 year old fruit tree in the middle of it. Apparently these trees only grow in this region and if you plant one of the trees it then takes at least 50 years for the trees to
start fruiting. This is probably why the tree and its fruit have not become more popular.
Our local guide also took us to the local potters house where we watched while he spun some pottery out on his wheel. Everything was done by hand, no electric pottery wheels here, and it was really quite amazing to watch. He sells his bigger pots for 50 rupees each (US$1). We finished our walk around town off with a stroll through the local bazaar. It certainly was an interesting experience. You don't often find yourself sharing the pavement with goats, warthogs and cows when you do the shopping in Dubai or Auckland. :)
After we finished our walking tour we were taken off into the countryside for a picnic lunch. We ate our lunch at the ruins of an old royal hunting lodge. This was situated on the banks of a small lake and totally looked like it belonged in the middle of the african savannah. It was just gorgeous. The only downside to eating our lunch on the 2nd story of a hunting lodge overlooking a lake was when Jess leaned her head back against the stone and her sun
glasses fell off her head into the water. Our local guide was very chivalrous and dove in to try and find them, but he really didn't have all that much luck as the lake was pretty opaque and muddy. After we finished our picnic lunch we sifted around the ruins for a little while and then headed off to look at another Jain temple. This was had an enormous statue which was totally surrounded by bee hives. Since the Jain's don't believe in hurting anything living they do not collect the honey from the bees so the bees love to make their nests there. Apparently a little while ago they even made one on the chin of the statue which made it look like the statue had a beard! When you visit the Jain temple's you have to take your shoes off and it was so hot today that all the red sandstone was just boiling, and burnt our feet. Not so pleasant.
After the Jain temple we made a quick stop at the new Chanderi Museum to look at some of the statues that were there. My favourite is shown in one of the pictures. It is a
man made up of animals, and the idea is to say that the man has the legs of a lion ( can run fast) , the shoulders of an elephant ( can take a big load) etc you get the picture. However it had the 'willy' of a sea turtle. Go figure.
After the museum we finally headed off to the rock paintings that were the point of the entire excursion. This took us another hour to reach, but I have to say that the location was worth it, even if the rock paintings really were not all that exciting. While we were at the sight of the rock paintings a thunder storm rolled by and there was the most amazing fork lighting. It was hitting the ground in the distance and continued to light up the sky for most of our trip back to the hotel.
We only arrived back at our hotel at around 8pm tonight and we had to go straight up to the roof top so we could watch a display of local dancing and singing, this is before we were allowed to have any dinner. The singing and dancing display laste around 2
hours, so we only got our dinner at 10pm! And of course the display required audience participation, which meant that we all had to go up and dance with the local lady and make fools of ourselves. Man times over. Poor old Robin had to dance for about 15 minutes, which can't have been easy since his stomach hasn't been feeling the best for the last couple of days.
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