Thursday, December 3, 2015


We left our National Park visit this am and headed out into even more rural areas. We stopped at a cooperative near the park where the villagers were learning skills to use instead of Tiger killing or leading poachers on a kill. After buying a lot pf nicely handmade items, we kept going to "Chand Baori" about 45 min drive. This is one of the oldest "Stepwells" and probbaly one of the biggest in the world. Ever since I saw articles on Stepwells in National Geographic, I have wanted to see them in India. This one is over 13 stories tall and provided a dependable water source for centuries before modern water delivery systems were introduced.  Up until about 20 years ago, people were coming and taking the ancient articfacts and the local residents would have parties in the wells. No tourist even came because they are hard to get to. Now, they are guarded and cleaned and mostly Indian people come to see them.I Found   them  facinating. Our guide knew quite a bit about the idols found around the stepwells.
After the Stepwells, we wandered across the street of this poor town and saw a potter who makes "disposable " glasses for tea out of clay. People order tea in them and then just throw them away and they made into cups again! He invited anyone to try his primitive potters wheel, and Denise volunteered.

We continued for hours along rutted rural back roads, and once again got a sense of what the REAL India is like. Our little travel band was not exactly sure where we were, but it was NOT close to any cities. We would pass many small villages, farms, cow patties, camel carts, people carrying everything on their heads, or carts. Finally, our bus could go no further. We transferred to small beat up jeeps with young boy drivers and we continued on for miles on dusty roads. We were in an area of Rajastan near a lake which is only a lake during the monsoons. This area is inhabited by a local tribe of people called Meena. They Are very poor, but vivacious and colorful, and have a intricate social system rooted in the caste system and deeply male dominated. In fact, the boys readily asked for their pictures to be taken, but the girls refused.  When the jeeps could go no further, we transferred to camel cart went to visit their village.

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