Barefoot college

Sunday morning, it’s only the third day but the smells, the cows walking everywhere like they own the place, the morning bell announcing it’s time to deep in the holy lake of Pushkar and the chanting that sounds like a hummmmmmm.
Morning mindfulness meditation with Dina and we are off to see something different, a ray of hope for the future.
The Barefoot college is an NGO that started by Bunker Roy ( you can hear his talk on Ted) who came visited some villages in 1967 and opened BC in 1972, It teaches women a job and by that strengthen the villagers and help them solve their own problems. The women in Indian society does not have much to say, most are illiterate , once married she moves with her husband to his family and basically works for them, then there is the cast system . At barefoot college which runs by solar power we saw women making solar oven, we saw women weaving, we met women who got trained as dental hygenice, as accupunture. The place was clean and the building well kept. The man who took us around was very proud to of the place and the fact that women do everything. It’s an empowering and eye opener.
We continued to Jaipur and 8 of us boarded a train top Agra.
The train arrived 15 minutes late , we had assigned seats, not bad, felt like a crowded old metro north…
The weather has been cold , this morning started foggy then got lighter.
Can’t wait to see the Taj.

Shabbath in the holy city

We woke up at 6am for a hike to a temple high up in the mountain , the temple is a small building devoted to Brahama’s first wife,her name starts with Giva…all the names of the deities in INdia are long and hard to pronounce.
As we started the walk, the street are dark, few cows roaming arounnd.We arrive to the top of a steep hill and the sun was rising.
The temple opened , there are three status inside the wife and her daughter and son, the story goes that when Brahama who is the father god asked for her to come she refused and it took her long time to come , by that time Braham found another wife and when the first arrived he banished her and she disappeared however she got upset and cursed him that he will not have a temple , there is only one temple for him in all of India and it is in Pushkar . We went to it later in the day, everyone must have a pilgrimige once in his lifetime..Hindu religion there is Father Brahama then shiva and vishnu then shiva has Ram and Krishna..then there are many other deities which are reincarnation of God all this to help people understand the concept of God, how interesting.
In Pushkar there is a lake where one supposed to wash everyday , at sundown there is a ceremony with lights and a bell ringing that forbids getting into the lake after. There are also pools where one can go bath, it’s all holy so you have to take your shoes 30 feet before.
So far what I see is worshiping all around, there are many temples, the gods are painted in colors and sometimes gold or silver leaf but the temples are badly maintained, paint pilling, broken stone , half build. It feels dirty.
To no surprise we found a chabad house and hebrew signs, the shopkeeper know little hebrew and try to guess where we are from by saying shalom etc to try to get us to come shop.It reminds me of the shuk in the old city right after the six day war.
We had a mindfulness session and yoga on the roof. To end Shabbath we had Havdala and went shopping.
The food is vegetarian, tonight we had okra, puneer, rice, sou. I have never eaten so much indian food, I have to take it easy, I felt a bit sick so
I had an Ayurvedic massage in the afternoon, it was fantastic, rejuvinating.

Day 2-Jaipur to Pushkar

Morning fog welcomes us on the first morning in Jaipur,breakfast chai was great but nothing else memorable.
We drive thru Jaipur on the way to the amber fort.
The wind palace is basically a facade, made of many windows thus the name The old Jaipur is a walled city, the doors are painted pink which is the color of hospitality.
The hindus gets their horoscope when they are born, they make decisions according to the way the planets and the stars align, they consult an astrologer for important life events. There is an observatory in Jaipur that has many sun dials, each one is used for different measurments. There is 12 sun dials for each zodiac sign, it is fascinating. To think that every important event in one’s life is written in the sky.
The fog is still hovering, it seems like there is a dust cloud over the ,and. We left Jaipur on the way to the holy city of Pushkar.The landscape is dusry,dry. There is a contrast between the vibrant colors and the beige/grey color of the land.
Arrivng to Pushkar you hear a hum, they say it’s the prayer hum but it’s also the singing and instrument playing.
The hotel, The pushkar palace seats on an a lake surrounded by temples, you cant go near the lake with shoes, the sign says, no smoking, no meat no shoes 30 feet from the lake.
Pushkar is called a holy city, tomorrow we will hike to the temple on the hill for a veiw, they dont eat meat and the cows walk everywhere, they don’t drink wine but they smoke grass..I guess they need something to get high.
Shabbath is at 5:45, I ‘d better get ready.
Shabatth shalom

Jaipur Shahpura House

This is the most frustration experience , I am going to give it another try. I declare 2014 as the year of new beginings, a year of adventures, a year of discovery. So in the spirit of discovery I will attempt to write a new pot again (it is the third time I am trying)
It took a night flight from Tel aviv, domestic flight from Mumbai to Jaipur, 45 minutes drive from the airport and we arrived at our first palace. well kind of as it it a Maharaja palace that was converted to a hotel, with old english furniture, canopy beds and beautiful fabrics, old fashion courtyards. Everyone wants to help, no is not in their vocabulary.
We were treated to a typical vegetarian Indian diner with entertainment, belly dancer and puppet show.
I really did not know anyone from the group of women I am traveling with, except Dina. Most of them came from Jerusalem, they made aliya 20-30 years ago. I look forward to getting to know them all but the truth is that all I want is to absorb the Indian culture, to learn as much as I can. I placed myself in a zen like state so I am not upset if my room is smelly, well they changed it and I got a nice big room . still there is a smell that will need to be explored, it could be part of the air.
One day is over and so far I experienced the tourist side, tomorrow we start with meditation and then off to to see a temple.