Through my eyes

living my life without regrets

Sunday, May 07, 2017

On the way to Agra

This Friday was spent just traveling. From now on traveling is a domestic affair, we do not have to deal with Immigration. With Dinesh handling the loading, unloading of luggage, things run smoothly. Dinesh has a way about him, he moves around like a Maharajah, giving orders and everybody scurries for him. I like this guy.
Barefoot Walkers Going to the Festival of Lord Shiva

Our bus took us to the Varanasi airport and while we traveled we saw thousands upon thousands of young men, all barefoot, walking en mass towards the Ganges. The further out of Varanasi we drove the more men we saw walking. Police were needed to direct the masses of men and also to direct the traffic around them. It seemed everybody was going to the Ganges festival I wrote about. Walking barefooted was like doing penance, some men were obviously not used to walking barefoot, yet they trudged along. All walked to participate in the Lord Shiva festival. Their belief is great; they accept the pain and discomfort just to be able to pray to Shiva in this religious city.We flew from Varanasi to
More Walkers For the Ganga Aarti (Prayers at the Ganges)
New Delhi and then rode a bus for 5 hours to Agra; Agra, the town now known for the Taj Mahal. Before we get there however, we are privy to a peek into the agricultural areas in the state of Uttar Pradesh, unfortunately only from the window of a bus. As far as the eye can see I see greenery, small fields outlined with hedgerows or mud berms or stones. Those fields are not set up for large scale farming like in Canada or the U.S. Most of the work is done with man power using basic tractors and smallish plows. I saw mostly wheat planted, ripe in about May. If the weather is good, if the monsoons bring rain, then there are 3 harvests a year; wheat, rice and sugar cane. We saw the harvesting of potatoes; bagged into burlap bags, they are stored in warehouses. We passed tractor after tractor loaded up, dropping off their harvests at those warehouses. India has a fairly good harvest each year, but…the spoilage rate is near 25% since there are no adequate storage facilities. Life on the farm, while it looks idyllic, can not be easy. Basic human needs are not met. Example: India is paying people to install flush toilets but the people are using the money for other things. Old habits die hard. Nearly 50% of the population still defecates in the open. If you have a total population of 1.3 billion people all this #%&* adds up.
New Overhead Highway Being Built Entering Varanasi

So maybe it was ok to just drive by.

What Will New Highway Do To These Street Food Sellers?

Going on this long bus ride, looking out the window gives one the time to reflect. In preparation for tomorrow I want to list and rehash some facts about the builder:

Shah Jahan:  this is the man who built the Taj Mahal for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal who died during child birth of their 14th child.

Shah Jahan: He also enlarged and built the Red Fort in Agra, he lived in this Fort. He had many children from other wives, too. But Mumtaz was his favorite wife.

Shah Jahan: born in Lahore (Pakistan) was a Sunni Mogul. He is known for 4 great architectural feats: the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Red Fort in Agra, the large open plaza Mosque in New Delhi and the famous gardens in Lahore.

No comments: