|Mt Abu, Rajasthan, and Rani Ki Vav, Patan, Gujarat, India||Week 142 December 20th-22nd 2013|
Slow to write things down. A new university.
We are headed towards the hill station of Mt Abu.
| We took the by-pass around Udaipur.
At first this looked like iron and steel but on closer examination not quite so sure.
|There's been a lot of work to provide a steady gradient through the granite.|
|This looked like the luxury housing end of Udaipur.|
Mostly oleanders in the centre reservation.
And very few breaks.
We couldn't help noticing that the cows had eaten the oleanders in a lot of places.
|We think there is only one permanent river in Rajasthan.|
We've seen a lot of swastikas of various forms.
Not the polluted symbol within Europe.
Much older. A symbol of wealth and happiness in Hinduism.
| Mt Abu is about 1200ft above sea level.
Cool in the summer.
This is the polo pitch.
|A game of cricket between the goal posts.|
|But perhaps there's polo after all.|
The lake is artificial.
Apparently Mt Abu will become crowded over New Year.
Bournemouth or St Kilda, circa 1900?
The hill stations were a British development.
Lots of groups of Indian tourists.
Who need group photographs in front of temples.
It seemed that rolling around inside a soggy ball is work for the girls.
Not for us, the lake seems to be suffering an algae bloom.
A faint accompanying smell.
|There's more than the large balls at the fun fare.|
|Mt Abu is granite.|
All very civilised.
If we'd looked far enough we may have seen bears.
We walked round the lake.
And climbed the steps to Toad Rock.
|I guess if we used our imagination ........|
| The Dalwara Jain Temples are a major attraction in Mt Abu.
About 3.5km from our car park camp at the Shakar Hotel so we thought we'd visit on our way out.
Security told us they were only open from 12 midday to 5pm.
They are reputed to be exquisite.
|So back along the windy road down the mountain.|
| Across the border from Rajasthan to Gujarat.
Police check first, waved through.
| RTO next ... whatever that is.
Looked serious with weighbridge for trucks.
Not sure about us so we carried on.
|Drier and drier as we head west.|
|And a little south for a detour through Patan.|
| Our first step well.
The Rani Ki Vav.
| The source of water is at the far end.
A large round well.
This end is steps leading down to wherever the water level happens to be.
Long dry by the look of it.
| It was silted up for many years.
The Archeological Survey of India have done their usual good work of excavating and presenting.
|The depth of the carvings surprised us.|
| As did some of the figures.
The temperature below ground level was reputedly about 5 degrees cooler than the surface.
This encouraged "the women who came to collect water" to linger.
And the architecture encouraged them "to worship".
| Presumably Vishnu in the middle.
To whom the well is dedicated.
| We climbed out and walked to the far end.
Patan used to be the capital of Gujurat.
| For a look down the well ....
The Hindu step wells were very standardised by the time this was built, around 1022 AD.
There's a formula for the height and diameter that reduces the likelihood of collapse.
| If we hadn't known it was there ........
there's nothing above ground.
Apart from the grass (sans keep off the grass notices) and lots of people.
Its a Unesco world heritage site.
But strangely this is the antithesis of Indian railway stations.
Indians make pleasant tourists.
|Dholavira, Gujurat, India||Week 143 December 23rd - 25th 2013|
|John Head||Wed, 25 Dec 13 10:40:39 +1100|
|Just to confirm my continuing interest in your adventures and to wish you a Happy Christmas etc.|