Tale of Two Trails - Ranthambhore & Jaipur

Trip Start Apr 24, 2011
Trip End May 13, 2011

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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Friday, April 29, 2011

We returned to Ranthambhore National Park this morning, not to hunt for tigers, but to hike up to the 1000-year-old Ranthombhore Fort. We started early again, to beat the heat, and spent a couple of hours walking up the stairs, enjoying the views out over the park we explored on game drives yesterday, filming the antics of the monkeys, and drinking in more of the colorful culture of the state of Rajasthan.

The fort has been abandoned as a fort for hundreds of years. During that time, it's evolved into a major pilgrimage site for Hindus. According to our guide, Girish, the current count of gods in the Hindu is somewhere around 330,000,000 (yes, million), so just about anything you see can be worshiped. As we walked through the fort, a steady flow of pilgrims climbed with us, bound for the temple to the god Ganesha, recognizable throughout the Hindu world for his elephant head. Girish tried to explain Ganesha’s relevance and position in the Hindu pantheon but I’d be remiss if I told you it fit seamlessly into my western, Judeo-Christian world view. 

Apparently, what is most significant in the Hindu belief system is that Ganesha is very near the top of the pantheon, and considered wise and the remover of obstacles, a good god to venture into a dark alley with.

Though respectful of the pilgrimage, for me, enjoying the evocative ruins of the fort, the colorful garb of the women, and the antics of the monkeys drawn by all the extra food, was what made this a memorable morning.

After a late breakfast back at the lodge, and a chance to clean up, we headed north to Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan. Our late afternoon activity, after the 105 degree heat has simmered down to a mere 98 degrees, was an amazing walk through the markets of Jaipur, known for it’s bustling bazaars. 
We finished the day with a wonderful meal of Indian cuisine on a rooftop restaurant while we enjoyed the music and folk dances of a very talented local family. Tomorrow, we head north of town to explore a rural walk and visit a fort that plays into the complicated relationship between the 16th century Hindu Rajput kingdom and the invading Muslim Moghuls from the north. 

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Dani on

Haha - the monkey business video was funny! - The big bully! And I loved the Traffic Dance of the Women! :)

Beverly Davies on

I enjoyed catching up with your trip through India. I was away myself yesterday, walking in the NY Finger Lakes Region at a place called Canadaguia. Thanks for sharing your photos and impressions of India, Dan.

Lucille Serwa on

Netflix has the BBC series on India. Good to get the big picture. NO?

friesendm on

I'll check it out Lucille. Thanks for the recommendation.

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