“Follow me, reader! Who told you that there is no true, faithful, eternal love in this world! May the liar’s vile tongue be cut out! Follow me, my reader, and me alone, and I will show you such a love!” ― Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita.
When volunteering abroad you must be ready for all kind of challenges crossing your path. This Friday one of my students- Indra, had a problem with her feet. All the skin was removed and when we asked her how did it happen she illogically explained that a wild animal urinated on her leg. I used the emergency kit and cleaned and bandaged her feet. Explained to her that she must be very attentive and gave her flip flops to avoid her going barefoot and infect the wound. I hope she would be fine. So now it is time for the weekend. The other volunteers in the house Wenda, Renata and Lucia invited me with them to a trip outside the town. They arranged a driver and a car (as far as I understood in India they are not using much of a rent-a-car service, because for us foreigners is dangerous to ride, and also like in the UK, road traffic is reversed). Unfortunately, it was a rainy day.
I have no words to explain the beauty of the nature in India, while we were travelling. Hills, lakes, everything was green and beautiful. On the road some squirrels were running, we saw a herd of camels and monkeys everywhere. I took a photo with one of the monkeys, but the other was so aggressive and tried to attack me and I ran back in the car. Our driver told us that sometimes he sees leopards. It was very interesting that on some trees we saw some birds which were hanging from the branches upside down. Incredible!
The first destination after the 2 hour trip from Udaipur was Kumbulgar. This is a castle with a fort dating back to the 13th century. The huge wall which extends around the castle is the second longest wall in the World after the Great Wall of China. Unfortunately, as I told you it was raining so there was also a fog and we weren’t able to enjoy the most of the view.
After that the girls and I were so hungry that the driver escorted us to a restaurant on the road. They were providing 5-6 cooked meals in large clay pots but as I noticed there was no salad or any fresh, raw food. I am a little disappointed every time because Indians use the same mix of spices and at the beginning I found it incredibly tasteful but right now I can’t make a difference if I am eating potatoes, rice or some kind of vegetables.
I found the other 3 volunteers very nice and I get along well with Wenda, who studies medicine and it very well educated. Lucia is also very kind, she doesn’t speak so much but when she does usually is telling as something really funny. Only with the last girl Renata I don’t have much in common, because she was grumpy and was complaining about the bad weather and how eventually she is going to be sick.
After the lunch we went to an opulent temple called Runakpur, which wall all white made of marble, something that I haven’t seen in my life. It is all made of Marble and has many incredible sculptures and details in it. Such a beauty!
In the temple they would not let us in with anything made of animal leather, with a food (they took even the apples of the bag of the girls), water, tobacco and also if the woman is at her menstrual period she is not allowed to enter the temple. These rules were made to keep the sacred status of the place.
At the entrance a monk greeted us and offered a tour in the temple. Wenda directly asked him how much is going to cost us and he replied that he cannot ask for a precise amount but we could give him what it is in our heart. I didn’t like this because according to me they are also making business in the temple. Everywhere in India, people are begging for money, this is a huge problem over there. Parents are giving precise instructions to their kids how to ask the tourists and look more pathetic. This I am strongly against. Yes, I know how king Krum wrote one of his orders- if we meet a beggar we must give him enough for him to stop begging. The problem is that in real life beggars are usually very greedy and lazy people. They see that without putting in great effort they can survive – and that is enough for them. So I am asking you, my readers, be kind to everyone but don’t encourage a beggar by giving him money. If you really care try to talk to him or help him in some other way (you can search homeless shelters in the place you are living for example).
I know a big percent of the people in India are very poor, but really didn’t like that a priest will do something in the temple asking for money.
It was interesting that one of the columns in the temple was not perfectly straight no matter everything in the temple looks in the perfect proportion. Also inside there was a tree that has naturally engraved the figure of Lord Krishna.
When we walked out of the temple on the way, there was a marble leaf under which you can wish something and of course they say that your dream will become true. In the temple there are also elephant statues which are symbol of luck.
One of the girls gave the monk 10 rupees and he put them under his tank and I saw in his bosom other banknotes.
I was disappointed seeing that but we cannot judge all the priests, because there are some impostors.
Next to Runakpur there was another little temple. It was also very beautiful and while we were enjoying it’s beauty some people asked me to take a picture with them, and then some others. I guess that they liked the to have pictures with some foreigners. It was strange anyway, I asked the driver and he told me that maybe they enjoy also that I am very white. Then he added- “In India everything possible, you will see”. Lately I understood, he was right!
Was great reading about my hometown from a foreigner’s perspective.