Monday, October 04, 2004

Welcome to Aurangabad, city of mystery, or enchantment, and the finest merchandise!

This weekend, the whole group went to Aurangabad, which is a six-hour bus ride away from Pune. We left early Friday morning, and I felt sick for the first three hours, until we had lunch at some hotel somewhere. After that, my tummy was feeling good, my mind was happy, and we soon arived at our destination -- a resort in Aurangabad.

So, we're at this hotel/resort (the 'Golden Meadows'), and we have pretty nice rooms. The rooms are in these little one-story 'cottages', and they have stone floors and nice A/C units. The hotel has a pool, and a restaurant, and a health spa, and this and that and the other thing. We chill there for the night, preparing for our Saturday adventure.

Bright and early Saturday morning, we hop back onto the bus, for a one-hour ride to Ellora, home of some pretty amazing 'caves'. Now, these caves are not really caves, they are temples cut out of the side of a mountain range. And there are like 47 of these carved temples. In order of oldest to newest, there were temples of Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain faiths. It was really interesting to see the similarities and differences, to see the statues of various gods, goddesses, and spiritual beings. I was fascinated by how the different faith traditions borrow and share different ideas, and how evident it is when you see their art.

This guy (Nasir, Nasar, something like that) was following me around all the times I was in between caves (walking down the path to the next cave). He really really wanted me to buy his stuff, and I told him that, while his goods were very nice, I was not interested in buying trinkets. He then appealed to the fact that business has been slow, and that he really needed the money. Eventually, I broke down and bought a coin from the Moghul empire. It was only Rs. 100, and it was kinda cool, especially because I had read so many stories about the Moghuls in my Pakistani Language and Literature class last quarter. I also started up a conversation with a bunch of trinket-dealers, and they said they were all Muslim, and that they all spoke Hindi/Urdu at home. I think that a lot of them are more comfortable in English than they are in the local language of Marathi... very interesting.

After the many, many caves of Ellora, we came home and had civ class, after which I was exhausted. Had some grub and went to sleep. The next day, I went with a much smaller group (there were about eight of us) and we went to some other caves. These caves were also cool, and we had a pretty good tour guide. We also went to what is called 'the poor man's Taj Mahal', which was really beautiful and neat. It was dedicated to Emperor Aurangzeb's wife by his son, and her tomb is there too. Muslims (especially women) come to this monument and throw money at her tomb, which then goes to the historical sights preservation fund or something. Very interesting, historically, architecturally, and sociologically.

I got a mortor and pestil for my roomies, looked at a couple more sights, and then we hit the road back to Pune. Now I'm 'home' in Pune, and things are going back to normal. Had a good lunch at a Chinese restaurant (I'm kind of getting sick of South Indian food, I crave variation in my diet). For an appetizer, I had a bunch of tiny chicken egg-roll wrap things, and for my meal, I had the Indian version of Ma Po Tofu, made with chicken instead of pork. It was pretty good, but the rice wasn't Chinese style rice, rather it was basmati rice (not-so-sticky). Of course, we all had bottles of Fanta, and ice cream at the end. The amazing thing about Indian restaurants -- my share was Rs. 200, or about $4.25.

There are times that I miss the States, but most of the time, I'm just trying to get everything done. We have so much to read (my Civ Prof works us like the devil). We had to read her translation of the Ramayana, which is 800 pages long. She wrote the damn thing, she should know how long it is! And we have to read this and that and this other book, and so on. We're going to have a pop-mid-term, which is so un-cool, and we also have a 10 page paper to write by the end. The topic? Something intellectually engaging about what we've read. Sometimes freedom can be a prison.

Speaking of which, I need to figure out where I'm going in two weeks. I think I need to know by tomorrow afternoon. So far, it looks like I'll probably be going to Jaipur and Agra, and possibly to Dehli/New Dehli for a couple of days. It's a ten-day trip, so I'll be getting to know northern India pretty well before I come back to Pune, in the 'middle' of India. I'm looking forward to the trip, but I also fear the decision making and responsibility of planning this trip.

4 Comments:

Blogger queenie262 said...

dude, get the trinkets! plenty of time for enlightenment later...

8:19 AM  
Blogger Cat said...

Silly boy!
It's always 'men, men, men,...'
always naming it all in relation to the MEN
If you had said it was the memorial the sultan had built for his wife, I would have known immediately what you were talking about!

Anime was tonight; I miss sitting next to you.

9:50 PM  
Blogger brian said...

Anyone looking for some more business school info?

1:43 PM  
Blogger Omar Cruz said...

These articles are fantastic; the information you show us is interesting for everybody and is really good written. It’s just great!! Do you want to know something more? Read it...:Great investment opportunity in Costa Rica: costa rica real estate jaco, jaco beach condo, jaco beach condos. Visit us for more info at: http://www.jaco-bay.com/

4:43 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home