Blogs from Ranakpur, Rajasthan, India, Asia

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Asia » India » Rajasthan » Ranakpur November 24th 2018

How do you describe the dust stirring, drum beating excitement of horse dancing? How do you convey the fear of near misses with horse hooves and the thrill of watching majestic beasts use their many muscles to contort into art forms? How do you explain the magnetism that draws a crowd in a matter of minutes, if not seconds? If I knew, I would not have struggled so much with this blog! My easy answer is with many photos, but even the photos seem to fall a tad bit short. The event starts with the sounds. The rhythmic beating of the metallic drums draws in the crowd and then the intoxicating sound is punctuated with the crowd’s gasps and cheers as the show progresses. The drummers keep the beat and they seem to conduct the show. ... read more
Photo by Rajesh Goyal

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Ranakpur July 17th 2017

What comes to your mind when you think of Rajasthan? Thar Desert. Hot temperatures. No water. Formidable forts and palaces.Well, hold your horses! During one of our trips to Udaipur, we decided to drive to Ranakpur. Approximately 94km from the land of lakes, Ranakpur is unlike any of our assumptions. Rajasthan is also famous for its Jain temples. We have read about the Dilwara temples. But I can tell you, this is a beauty. The road throughout the journey was a single lane where two-way traffic adjusted themselves. It was June and the monsoon was setting in. The stretch was lined with little villages with no banks, post-offices or a gas station. The houses in these villages were made of stones stacked together (Yes, the stones were so flat, they could be stacked to build a ... read more
Ranakpur
Ranakpur
Ranakpur

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Ranakpur March 9th 2014

Geo: 25.135, 73.447 Our explorations continue through palaces, temples, forts, and small villages. Yesterday we took an audio tour of Ranakpur Temple, one of the five holiest sites for people who follow the Jain religion. This is a huge white temple, three stories high, built in the 15th century. It is made all of marble; it has twenty domes and 1,444 carved marble pillars, no two the same. There is a wishing tree just inside the entrance, but both my roommate and I misunderstood what Singhji told us about its location, so we missed the guaranteed chance of having our wishes made under there coming true. (We will try wishing under another tree here; maybe that will work just as well.) Recently we had lunch in a Bishnoi village with a Bishnoi family. We helped them ... read more

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Ranakpur April 28th 2013

I was happily surprised when Mr Singh said we were to Kumbalgargh as I had presumed it too far out of the way. Although a very deep ascent (bringing back fond memories of going up the hard knot pass without power steering) the fort was in some of the most remote and stunning countryside we have seen in India. The drive up was a real throw back in time, with cattle pulling water wheels and tiny wooden huts on the sides of the road. The fort 80km North of Udaipur was only besieged once in its history, when Akbar poisoned the water supply. As Andrew pointed out, Akbar doesn't half get around. After a good climb to the pinnacle of the palace and stopping for the now customary photos with the locals, we stopped to take ... read more
Kumbalgarh Fort
Butterfly at KUmbalgarh Fort - for Dad and Oliver
Jain Temple, Ranakpur

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Ranakpur February 17th 2013

Sixteen years ago, on a tour of Rajasthan with my wife, we stopped for lunch at a hotel near the Jain temples at Ranakpur. There we met a boy named Lajpal. Little did I know then that this chance encounter would drastically change my knowledge and understanding of his fabulous country. The first blog which featured this boy - now a young married man and known to me by his familiar name of Pintu - was in 2005 (my blog explains all). I’ve returned to India several times since and, on each occasion, have been introduced to more and more of his family – so much so that it’s almost as if I’ve become an honorary member of it. They are all so kind, considerate and welcoming. Their thoughtfulness and generosity are humbling and often quite ... read more
Bhaver and Pentes
Baa...
Jain Temples, Ranakpur

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Ranakpur March 15th 2012

The deafening din of two-handed drumming and the beating of stick on pan-like cymbal will forever remind me of Indian marriages. At the beginning and end of every ceremony - and, it seemed, at random intervals during every one of them too - these were the sounds that inevitably announced the arrival of bride, groom or guests. At around 10.30p.m. on Monday night, however, it was the comparatively subdued sounds of a drummer and an harmonium player singing joyous marriage tunes that greeted our arrival at the Hotel Shilpi after the long and dusty journey from Jaipur. Don't be fooled though - they'd soon be augmented by a booming big bass drum and a catatonic clattering cymbal! We whiled away our time drinking hot, sweet, milky tea and in conversa... read more
The traditional welcome
Moving the trays
Drum and cymbal

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Ranakpur March 10th 2012

Today seemed to involve constant rides from the Maharani Bagh to the Hotel Shilpi and back again. The first was a false start as, when I reached the Hotel Shilpi, the 9.30a.m. ceremony had already been postponed until 12.30p.m.. When I returned three hours later, Pintu was having another messy massage. Today, he wore the same black tunic, gold necklace and glittering brooch as yesterday but a different turban, this time a predominantly-orange one without a tail. The turban man had been more or less on time! A large gold ornament with its traditional swastika symbol and lots of tassels was added to one side when he was seated at the corner shrine alongside his parents; they wore similar ornaments, Ranveer on his pink, orange and yellow turban and Gajendra over the top of her fuchsia-pink ... read more
I couldn't help smiling!
The groom's fabulous evening costume
Pintu and Mahi on horseback

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Ranakpur March 9th 2012

Pintu’s family started to arrive yesterday and today, with aunts, uncles, cousins, husbands and wives journeying from all over Rajasthan and Gujarat. All of them had to be welcomed and accommodated; the time and expense involved is massive. Khuman’s eldest son Vinku, whose marriage I attended in 2007, was already here, together with his lovely wife, Sheetal, and three-year-old daughter Aashi. Khuman's younger son, Shibu, a French-speaking tour guide with whom I exchanged friendly banter in that language from time to time, was here too; I’m sad to be missing his marriage on 13 April as Pat and I will be celebrating our own 40th anniversary on Madeira at the time. Cousin Montu, married less than three weeks ago, had just arrived too. Last night, I enjoyed drinks and dinner with them all in the gardens ... read more
Pintu receives a helping hand
More jewellery
A very determined turban man

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Ranakpur March 8th 2012

Fortunately, last evening’s hospitality ended in time for me to have a few hours’ sleep before one of the hotel’s faithful retainers, in khaki uniform and army-style maroon beret, knocked at my door shortly after four o’clock. He saluted, placed a turban on my head, twirled the ends of his moustache, and marched me out of the hotel in pitch darkness to the accompaniment of drumming and singing from members of the hotel staff. For the next half hour or so, I was a diminutive Khuman Singh! Near a giant banyan tree on the hotel’s approach road and in front of what I thought was a pile of thorny sticks, a puja was performed beneath the light of a propitious full moon. A coloured braid (a lacha or moli) was tied around my wrist by aforesaid ... read more
The Holi burnt while the drummer played
The drummer and cymbal boys
The drummer and cymbal boys

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Ranakpur March 7th 2012

Yesterday afternoon, my currently-single friend Pintu arrived unexpectedly early at the Aashiya Haveli. It was only to say he still had some shopping to do for his marriage clothes and would be back later. It was a brief but very happy reunion for us both. Later did come – very much later! It was not until nearly 10.30p.m. that we reached the home of his cousin Pradeep for drinks and snacks, followed by a midnight dinner of rice, chicken curry and a very tasty rabbit in spicy sauce, all kindly prepared by his wife, Meetu. His two energetic sons, five-year-old Mahi and Keshav, almost two-years-old, provided the entertainment! Pradeep is a senior officer in the Rajasthan Administration Service (RAS), responsible for the beautification of Udaipur. His is a prestigious position that comes with a house, servants ... read more
Ranveer and Gajendra
Maharani Bagh
Kingfisher




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