|Guava fruit vendor|
The drive from Bundi to our next destination, Fort Bhainsrorgarh was fairly uneventful (for India). By the way, the word “garh” on the end of that word is seen a lot in the Hindi language; it means “fort”, so we were headed for the Bhainsror Fort to be exact.
Our guide Bhanwar Singh stopped at a roadside fruit stand for some fresh guava that looked like a greenish-yellow apple but tasted like a cross between an apple and a pear. Bhanwar wanted to show us the fruits of the region, as we have rarely ever tasted guava (if at all), and certainly not on any regular basis. The pretty young Hindu guava vendor who was sitting yoga-style on her roadside table alongside her produce sprinkled a pinch of a mix of salt and cayenne pepper on some of Frank’s guava slices – man did that make the guava come to life!! Who could’a predicted guava as our new favorite fruit!
|9th c. Baroli Temples|
We also visited the Baroli Temples, an off-the-beaten-track site of 9th c. temples, similar to the ones at Khajuraho, but smaller with unusual carvings and elaborate altars. The complex also included some impressive Shiva “lingams,” which are sculptures of the male sex appendage engaged with the female organ; it celebrates the joy of sexual union.
|Shiva "lingams,' symbolic of sexual union|
Two pillars stand a couple of football fields away from one of the temples, and we were told that at certain times of the year (perhaps during the solstices?), sunlight travels though the two pillars and illuminates the temple altar. Anne is convinced that Hinduism is the last true remnant of paganism in the world. No one knows when Hinduism began, and unlike other religions, Hinduism has no known founder -- and nothing much seems to have changed over the centuries. As we were leaving, we each received a spot of yellow paste on our foreheads as a blessing (Frank just “loves” that religious glop on his forehead!).
Our Bhainsrorgarh Fort Hotel is the most romantic spot yet. This former Maharajah palace is perched at the end of a promontory on a cliff 200 ft. above the crocodile-infested Chambal River. Our host, Rajveer, is a member of the royal family who owns and operates this place. Our living quarters were huge with a bathroom as large as some of our recent hotel rooms. And as soon as we were settled in, we had lunch on the roof under a stone gazebo. We really felt like royalty as we enjoyed the views of the river and watched the green parrots flitting around the colorful palace gardens.
|Evening along the Chambal River|
|"Dung Designs" |
Note: Dung has been dyed a variety of colors
|"Poop sculptures" on someone's doorstep|
If you use your imagination, you may see an elephant
with tail on the right, or a crocodile on the left front.