12 Jan 2016

India by bskinna

15/17

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Rode the night train from Jodhpur to Delhi. My history with sleeper trains is poor (a run from Paris to Venice that involved 7 strangers, one broken fan, and a Bathroom Incident that definitely requires the capitalization) and I was not looking forward to repeating the experience, but this one wasn't so bad.

We talked for a while to a couple from Hungary who seemed to hate most things, but still made me laugh. Bryan mentioned how much he'd enjoyed the culture in Budapest and they replied "well with the population issues we have and the direction of the government, I'm sure the culture will be totally dead within 100 years...anyways it's nice now". Not sparkling balls of optimism, it was akin to riding the rails with a real life Debbie downer, but it's always interesting to talk to another traveler. I slept for maybe 3 and a half hours in total and I'm alternating between being loopy and being s straight up bitch, so I'm going to nap and then hit up Delhi for round two!

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All over India at almost all the major attractions there's been "Sound and Light Shows" advertised. I couldn't wrap my mind around what a sound and light show would entail (sound and light being fairly important to all shows, in my experience) but we caught the one at Akshardham, the gigantic Hindu temple complex, tonight, and my mind was blown.

Different colored lights and mist and water jets all were projected over and around the different buildings on the ground and mixed with live actors to portray a popular story from the Hindu tradition. It was larger than life, impeccably produced, and (even without understanding a single word that was being said) wildly entertaining. Families and kids were all around, which I totally get. I would have gone ape-shit for that show when I was a kid. As an adult I was still pretty invested.

Akshardham was interesting, it really went through the teachings of the guru and founding of the order in a way the other temples (being more places that actual devotees use, and not a place meant for tourist visits) didn't, but it still felt like a sacred place. Some churches or temples have all the divine sucked right out of them when the gift shops go in, but some still hold that reverent sense for me. It felt like a spiritual Disneyland, but I mean that in the most positive way possible.