Tuesday, August 16, 2016

No more photos please.....

This past weekend was a holiday in India.  Monday marked India's 70th year of independence.  We took it as a sign that we should go for a little road trip!

My roommate, 2 Australians, and a Swedish-Aussie went on an adventure to the Ajunta and Ellora caves. These caves are very old, one at Ajunta is 2200 years old!  It is amazing to think that something from that long ago is still standing, has not been blown apart by war, weather, or just plan decay. 

We left right after the women's class on Saturday.  The driver picked us up and off we went on a six hour drive through small towns and some countryside.  The countryside here is absolutely beautiful. So green, so lush, dotted with the occasional wildlife.  It amazes me to see some people actually plowing fields with a cow or ox.  Not that they do not use John Deer here, but it was humbling to see people working so hard with there hands and backs.  We also passed by tent cities, which in there own way were also humbling. I will keep these images in my mind when travelling back to the U.S.

Upon arriving in Arangubad,  we saw city life again. Our hotel was an oasis.  Fancy for us after having been here for two weeks. It almost felt wrong being in air conditioning.  It's interesting that in the states I quite enjoy the AC at our house, but here not so much. It is an attack on one's systems.  So opposite of the hot, humid, loud, chaotic, but also rhythmic way of the city streets.

Sunday and Monday were spent at the caves. Both Ajunta and Ellora are very special in there own ways.  We had an unofficial guide, which was good at the beginning, not so good at the end. Ajunta is set in a big horseshoe shape Cliffside with a little creek and bridges below.At Ajunta we were taken aback by how many people asked to take pictures of us.  It does not happen so much in Pune as it is more cosmopolitan.  These smaller towns are filled with people who may have never seen someone as light as I am.  After about 50 or more, I had to start saying no.  In my own quirky way I would ask two things, "Are you under 15? Yes, for 5 rupees."  At first I felt a little mean saying no, but if you know me at all,  I do not like being photographed!  These caves were spectacular. Many still had paintings on the inside. We finished with a quick dip in the creek.  The part I loved the most was my new goat friend and the monkeys. They blew me away.  The Ellora caves were just as spectacular.  Many were set up in the hills that our guide took us to. It felt surreal to be high above the city of Ellora looking down at all the green.  It can be very beautiful even amongst all the people and pollution.  Our unofficial guide there was a friend of our driver and he was wonderful.  Patient with us and our sixth wheel, a young Japanese man who was travelling alone.  Our guide even spoke Japanese.  He even was asked to be photographed!  The last cave we saw there was incredible. Huge!  Crowded! I was cooked by then. Tired, Sunburnt, and hungry.

Overall, it was an amazing 3 days. Filled with a ton of laughter, finger massagers,  Norwegian jokes, and little lioness roars.

After this trip in particular,  I recognize that we do not just come to India to study yoga,  we come to India to be brought back to the realities of our planet.  Even though the population here is becoming bigger and increasingly more western,  they still stay true to there roots in many ways.  Religion, family, and food.  I feel so fortunate that I was able to do this at least one more time.  I will be ready in a couple weeks to be in the comforts of my own home and be welcomed by my family.  This I will not take for granted.

Until then, more yoga at the institute, some yummy food and new friends.

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