Friday, January 16, 2009

Fort Madhogarh

After Jaipur, we went to a rural area and stayed in a heritage hotel, once a fort. It would be more apt to call it a crumbling castle. It was very strange, because we were the only guests. The surrounding countryside was beautiful. We took a tour of the village in a camel cart. The experience was a bit uncomfortable, because we felt like the rich westerners being paraded through town. The children could see us coming from far away and would run up to us and chase the cart for long distances. They were adorable and so full of energy and smiles, wanting only to check out the strangers and touch our hands.

The fort looks cool, but it wasn't the most luxurious hotel. There was no hot water, or we weren't able to work it successfully. The toilet flushed out a pipe and right down the side of the hill. Raw sewage is a common occurrence in India. The toilet on the train resembled a normal toilet, but when you looked into the bowl, you could see the train tracks. Everywhere we went, there was a ditch running down the sidewalk with raw sewage. In some places the ditch clogged and overflowed into the street. Many homes didn't have plumbing, and water was accessed by a pump well on every few blocks. It's no wonder the water is non potable. The stink of the sewage is compounded by all the homeless, and non-homeless, who use the bathroom in the street. It appeared normal for men, including our driver, to urinate virtually anywhere.

Madhogarh is a small village situated in the foothills of the Aravali range, renowned for its old havelis and Fort. It is a great place to experience what life is like in a typical Rajasthani village, where we can see the local tradesmen, potters, carpenters and cobblers go about their business using ancient techniques and practices. A very popular attraction at Madhogarh is the breathtaking fort, which has recently been converted into a heritage hotel.Our room:
Watching the sunset: This is an ancient bathing facility and small temple. We had a tour guide, but he only spoke about 10 words of English, so I can't give any other details.
Hand embroidering a sari:

On the way to Agra, we stopped at the deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri, a complex of forts, palaces and mosques built in sandstone. Fatehpur Sikri served as Akbar's capital for only a short period of twelve years before the capital was abandoned, apparently due to a lack of water supply. Today Fatehpur Sikri is a ghost city, its architecture is in a perfect state of preservation, and wandering through the palaces it is easy to imagine that this was once a royal residence and a dynamic cultural centre. The white marble Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisti, Akbar's spiritual adviser, is now observed as a Muslim pilgrimage spot.

See those big black things hanging from the ceiling? They are huge, active bee hives--super neat.

1 comment:

The Fab Miss B said...

Incredible. I've got the giggles imagining you two on parade through town! I had something similar happen once in Shenzhen. Again- what gorgeous sights!