India is an amazing country, rich with heritage and religion. It is difficult to put my experiences into words, especially under the time crunch of the internet cafe. But my trip took me from the financial capital of Bombay, which was bursting at the seems with people. The sheer density of people and things was positively overwhelming and astonishing.
Next we traveled to agenda where 26 Buddhist caves were painstankingly carved into a ridge from the 5-10n century. Those with only true devotion to a faith could create, every nook and cranny intricately carved with testament to Buddha, ceilings, walls, and pillars are decorated in elaborately detailed paintings depicting scene's of carnivals, worship, festivals. The religion appears so humanistic to so the Buddha sleeping or decibels depicted with voluptuous bare breasted ladies. From the Buddhist caves we traveled to an incredible Hindu temple. Words nor pictures and do this temple justice. The complex was huge with a man temple in the center without a surface not designed or carved in representation of a god. To the surrounding walls which were also roams dedicated to different gods and goddess. Tourist wanting in and out of each room heads moving up and down and back and forth trying to take the immensity and the details of it in. Snapping a photo, only to be disappointed with the digital image.
We spent the weekend in Pune, a quasi-suburb, 2 hours south, of Bombay, where a Jewish community resides. Pune has been heavily influenced by the west. I had a minor freak out as I entered a 5 story mall, I guess a year in Africa can make you forget consumer's capitalistic tendencies. Then we headed north to New Delhi, did the sites in the city. But the real highlight of this leg of the trip was obviously the TAJ MAHAL!! It most certainly deserves to be one of the 7 wonders of the world. In perfect symmetry it stands as an attestiment to a mans undying love to his wife, I only hope to be so lucky. The narrow reflecting pools perfectly align to reflect the entirely of the beautiful building. I am no conisour of architecture, but I stood and stared at the this wonder, I cant bring myself to call it a building, for 3 hours.
Then we headed up north to the Himalayas on an overnight bus. In the soft morning light we climbed up a steep windy road, that more holes then pavement. The single lane was bade double by the generous, but benevolent honks of horns. The road ended at the top of a steep hill, which I thought I would end up walking up, and before us lay lush mountainside, steep like the Rockies but green has the hills of Vermont. Nestled into the natural steeps were houses, and the landscape was decorated by lines of color, hanging between trees, off of houses, on rock ledges. Although the colors were primary and bold they have become part of the environment, and are symbolic of the seemingly harmonious balance between man and nature in this tranquil land. We had arrived in daringly, the Tibetan Exile community were His Holiness resides. There your found shaved heads clad in maroon robes, whose gentle steps climbed steep mountainside, each step was with prayer as a string of beads moved effortless through fingers. So apparent it was, it is about the journey, the means, that provide the profundity of the end, the destination. The Buddhist community lives along side a transient but continuous population of hippy foreigners from various parts of the world, who have come for various meditations, homeopathic healing, and crunchy things of the like. Their only distinguishing character was the length of their dread locks. We passed our days appreciating the beauty and walking through the mountains.
We then continued a little farther into the mountains. And spent the last days in Vashisht, relaxing, visiting natural hot springs, and appreciating out last days together. To my best friends I want to say thank you for an amazing trip, your continual support, and sense of adventure. Africa 2007 or bust !?!?