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Bipolar India and Impressed in Thailand

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Well, I am sitting safely in Bangkok as I type this in the apartment of a friend of my father’s. I spent my final few days in India in Mumbai and what a finish it was. [read on]

Off the Beaten Path

Friday, December 21st, 2007

My second day in Pushkar was also my first true sightseeing day. My goal was to walk around the man-made lake and see the Brahma temple. Most Hindu worship focuses on Shiva and Vishnu as Brahma basically created the universe and then went off to meditate leaving the daily affairs of the universe to them. As a result, Brahma temples are very rare. The other reason is that Brahma went to Pushkar to perform self mortification but instead ended up getting married. The problem was that he was already married and his old wife wasn’t very happy with the new competition. In anger she cursed him and said that he would never get any new place of worship outside of Pushkar. On my way to the temple, I met up with a British couple who were also looking for the temple. We ended up walking too far and having to ask for directions. We stopped at a tea shop and asked a group of men whom included people ranging from a man in a business suit to a loin cloth wearing man painted from head to toe in red and white paint (looking slightly like a candy cane). Perfect example of eclectic India for you. We made it to the temple. Outside were several sadhus pulling around cows on a rope. These cows were a bit unusual in that they had five legs. The fifth leg grew out of various positions on the cows’ bodies. They are considered holy, but unfortunately I didn’t get that sense due to the fact that the sadhus kept following us around with the reluctant cows saying “picture, picture, picture” ad nauseum. Of course they would expect a handsome payment afterwards. The temple was surprisingly small and simply decorated for it being the only temple of its type. The central idol of Brahma appeared to be made from metal. The eyes were made of some sort of glass or crystal. There was also a subterranean shrine to Shiva holding the usual lingam. After the temple I seperated from the English couple and just wandered around the shops for a while looking at the whitewashed buildings on the lake. I found a clinic that offered Ayurvedic massage and decided to get one despite the 750 rupee price tag (90 minutes). It differed from the Chinese massages in that it seemed to focus more on long rubbing strokes with less pressure point manipulation. [read on]

Far West India

Thursday, December 13th, 2007
After typing the blog and wandering in circles around the lawn at my hotel for a few hours, I headed to the train station at around 22:00 to catch my supposed 00:15 train. I normally don't come this early, but ... [Continue reading this entry]

Agra and Jaipur

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007
I arrived at the Varanasi train station about an hour early and found my train already at the station. This was not so surprising as the train orginated in Varanasi. I boarded the train and got my first view of ... [Continue reading this entry]

Maoist Rising and Overwhelming India (Varanasi)

Thursday, November 29th, 2007
I spent my last evening in Kathmandu eating dinner at the house of Steve's host family. They were an extended family, as is usual in Asia, with the grandparents also living there. The house was typical Nepali architecture and consisted ... [Continue reading this entry]