back at apk after agra. taj mahal was rubbish. bet no-one ever said that before! ha ha. no really, the views of taj mahal from across the river, and from the rooftop of our hostel were AMAZING. it IS a breathtakingly beautiful building. but on paying our 750 rupees (a fortune!) to actually get in,we found it literally swarming with heaving pushing shoving indian toursits. i mean literally getting pushed from all directions. it was really hectic and stressful and somewhat distracted from the calm and tranquility of the so called monument to love. well, we gave up quite quickly, and headed back to our driver and car and back home!
the journey back to apk was not quite so long as the way to agra, but it was still 6 hours, on bumpy roads. a few railway crossings but genrally only around 10-15 mins at each. we were stopped at one point in some little village and the car surrounded by people trying to give us stuff, we tried to ignore them, thinking they were selling something we didn't want, and then we realised they were gviing us free kheer (rice pudding with coconut and raisins etc -delicious!) itmight have ot been to do with holi,or some other muslim festival that was happening on saturday.
anyway, back at apk we prepared for holi by cleaning our rooms, and helping make gujya, the traditional sweet, like a mini cornish pasty filled with, well, mainly sugar i think! the cook (who we LOVE!!!!) made a test batch and we are agreed they were lovely, but rather sweet. he then came out and promptly chucked a whole carrier back of sugar into the mix! sweet meansd SWEET in india. i still managed to eat about five during the course of the next day.
holi is known as the festival of colour, and is a bit like harvest festival, and also has elements of myths in it, involving someone called holika who tried to burn her own son, but ended up getting burned herself. the start of the celbrations was at 3:30am when we were woken up to come and see the holi fire, which is a huge fire lit by the menfolkof the village ( we were allowed to see as we are visitors)
the men take a peice of the fire back to their homes, and the women light a mini holi, and make tea and eat gujya.
it's an odd festival, once this bit is done, there is nothing to do until about 8am when the playing with colours begins. we entertained ourselves by making totally non traditional toast and coffee!
after breakfast the playing with colours begins, in which all the kids and young at hearts get dye, both powder and huge buckets of liquid dye, and basically chuck it around at each other. i was soaked through within seconds, and by the end of it look like a tye died hippy shirt. and i don't mean my clothes, i mean my skin! i am mainly pink, and monica is mainly green, but if we were blue we could be extras in the film avatar. i mean, it's now the next day and i am still all colours allover by body and face! it's okay, a syou go about town you see people with blue, red, green etc faces. it's all a bit mental really.
well, i will try to upload some pictures, but it's all a bit fiddly.
making plans for next stage of the journey now. next stop pushkar, then mumbai, then goa. details to follow of course! still have a another couple of weeks at apk though.
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