Neti Pot

After doing 2 hours of yoga we did this thing called a Neti pot. It’s where you put the end of the pot in one of your nostrils then dump some of the water in then it comes out your other nostril and it cleans out mostly everything. We did this and Alexandra thought it was awesome, but I thought it was sort of gross. – Isaac

After yoga, Yogesh showed us how to use a Neti pot. It was fun because when you pour the water in one nostril it comes out the other end and you don’t feel a thing. It cleans your nose out really well. For dinner I had a Mars bar rolled in a pancake covered with nutella and coconut! – Alexandra

 

 

 

 

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Yoga

We started yoga with our yogi Yogesh today. It makes me feel very tired afterwards. I enjoy most of the poses except doing cobra again and again. – Alexandra

Once I started doing yoga I realized that I really enjoyed it right off the bat. Lots of the stretches are easy and fun, but some I found difficult and painful. I think where we did yoga was nice and peaceful. I hoped that we could stay in Pushkar the whole time in India. – Isaac

 

We walked past this temple everyday to get to our Yoga Garden

 

Pushkar

Today we had oatmeal and tea for breakfast. It reminds me of home after having eggs and toast for 3 months. – Alexandra

I enjoyed the breakfast we had very much. I was really looking forward to doing yoga the next day. We went to eat at a place where the environment is amazing (a rooftop restaurant overlooking the city with a view of the sun setting over the hills – K). I could hear people singing from down below, and I loved the fact that we’re in India. – Isaac

 

The restaurant on the roof of our guesthouse
The holy bathing ghats of Pushkar are a pilgrimage site for Hindus

 

Jelabis and other street snackery

 

 

This gentleman told us that you can paint any rock orange to represent the Hindu god of time

 

 

 

The views were sublime but the singing and chanting coming from below really added to the atmosphere in Pushkar

 

 

Thali!

We went to a fantastic Thali place where they constantly fill your plate with Indian food that’s delicious.- Isaac

It is a big plate with lots of small bowls, each with a different dish. The people there fill your plates so fast. – Alexandra

The food was 150 rupees per person ($2.50), all you can eat. If anyone reading this goes to Udaipur, make sure you check out Natraj Restaurant. That foodie critic Anthony Bourdain from Food Network/ Dicovery Channel had just been there too, unbeknownst to us. – Kim

 

 

 

 

Rajasthani Riviera

This morning a mother who shared our train car woke us up. We were in Udaipur! No one was up in town as we drove through the narrow, twisting streets. We passed a temple shining in the morning sun. Later we went to the palace. It was built over 200 years. It has narrow rooms and passages, just like the streets! There was a huge marble bathtub with a ring cut into it, where they put sweet water so bugs wouldn’t fly in the main bath. After we went to supper at a place across the lake. Across you could see women dancing and spinning in colourful clothing. Unexpectedly, there were fireworks out on the lake. – Alexandra

We went to the royal palace. I got to tell you, it was really neat. It was very informative and there was even a pool. From where we had dinner we had a fantastic view over the city. – Isaac

 

Well rested after a night’s rest on the overnight train from Delhi

 

People carry massive loads on the trains

 

The Lake Palace in the middle of Lake Pichola, seen from our hotel
Can you see the Monsoon Palace in the distance?

 

 

 

Note the large spikes on the massive door – they are there to keep elephants from pushing down the door of the palace during times of war.

 

Note the swastikas on the gate to the City Palace. The swastika is actually an ancient sanskrit symbol of good luck. The four points represent the cardinal directions and the dots represent the four books of knowledge : mantras, Ayurveda, rituals, and yoga asanas
Elephants symbolize good luck, and when the trunk is down it symbolizes long life
Rajasthani horses ears touch
We don’t know what this weird psychedelic piece of art was doing here
The House of Mewar still owns the City Palace today. They are the longest unbroken royal family, since 734
This man sports a typical Rajasthani mustache, which apparently symbolizes dignity
The women could view court proceedings from above behind screens
This is one of the kings who was victorious in battle due to his horse. The horse was fatally wounded by an elephant wielding a knife in its trunk, but the horse managed to get his master to safety before perishing. There was a lot of art dedicated to this king and his horse throughout the palace.
The peacock courtyard
The women’s court, where all the many wives lived and schemed to have their son succeed
This guy was painting and his hands were covered. Goldfinger!
The view of the City Palace at sunset from our restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

Republic Day

We got up early to meet Dana! It was truly amazing to meet Dana in Delhi. I was so glad to see somebody I know after 3 months of traveling. We went to the Republic Day Parade together. There was everything from helicopters dropping flowers to people riding camels. My favourite part was when a guy riding a motorcycle went by sipping a cup of tea on the back of it. The parade ended with jets at 1500 km per hour. Then we wandered around and chatted for a long time. After, we had to say goodbye for another 3 months. We got on an overnight train to Udaipur. – Isaac

It was great when the helicopters dropped marigold petals and the elegantly dressed camels rode by. But the giant missiles and guns were the opposite of what Gandhi wanted. – Alexandra

It was super special to see our good friend from home halfway through our trip. We all were anxious to monopolize the conversation with her. It was hard to say goodbye to her, especially because we had to drop her off all jet-lagged in front of a dodgy-looking alleyway in Delhi! 

Republic Day marks the occasion when the nationalists in India declared they would seek independence from Britain. Gandhi was one of the key players and he and other nationalist leaders encouraged national revolt rooted in non-violence. So the guns, missiles, fighter jets and rocket launchers at the parade were a little ironic. We didn’t realize it was a military parade, but there was intense security everywhere in Delhi for days before, and you could not bring anything to the parade . No cameras, no  snacks, no phones, no drinks, nothing. When we saw the overt military display at the parade it all made sense. Hence our lack of photos. I will let Baruch describe how he scored us tickets in the second row, mid-parade route a week after tickets were sold out. – Kim

January 26 is a national holiday celebrated with a massive parade in Delhi. Tickets go on sale a few weeks in advance and were sold out a week before – we arrived 4 days before the big event. I really wanted to take the family to the parade and decided to set out and see if I could find tickets. After going to a half dozen official ticket centres and being told there were no tickets and that we should just watch it on TV, I thought I should try and find out who was in charge of all the tickets. With a little luck on the world wide web, I found the person I needed to locate – Officer Aurora. His office was located in the very secure South Block of the Ministry of Defense and I was looking for a way in. Many security gates protected the main entrance. I asked a man if I could meet Mr. Aurora. I was eventually escorted in by an armed soldier to his office and told him my story about how I wanted to take the family to the parade. After a couple magic tricks he said to come back in 30 minutes and he would tell me either yes or no. When I returned he smiled and told me to sit, drink chai with him and wait for my 5 premiere tickets. All of us enjoyed the fanfare of the parade and talked about how strange it was to be at an event where you just watched with your eyes not through a camera lens. – Baruch

 

Check out some official pics of the parade – January 26 Republic Day India

Barricades set up to control the masses on Republic Day.


The South Block department of defense building where Baruch met Mr. Aurora.


Mr. Aurora, a high ranking member of the department of defense who tracked down 5 tickets for the Republic Day Parade.

 

Our good friend Dana happened to be in Delhi at the same time we were. She was on a 2 week NGO based photography course (she is NAPCP Child Photographer of the Year and you can check out her blog at    Short and Sweet Photography.

 


 

 

Saying our goodbyes after a brief visit.

 

Qutab Minar

Mom, Isaac and I went by Metro to the Qutab Minar. On our way we walked through a park with old ruins and kids playing cricket. It was beautiful. It was maybe nicer than the Qutab Minar. – Alexandra

We went to book a train ride, but we didn’t have our passports or enough money. So Mom, Alexandra and I went to some old ruins with cows wandering through and kids playing cricket by some old tombs. Me and Alexandra climbed trees. There were no tourists until we went around a corner, and then it was tourist mania. – Isaac

 

Kim and the kids would ride in the ‘women only’ car of the metro so they wouldn’t be harassed by the men. (One day we all rode in one of the main cars during rush hour and were squished so tight I was concerned for our safety. – Baruch)