What elements were discovered in India

 

THE UGLY INDIA

Delhi, city of chaos. Noise and stench, heat and fainting. 200 meters in the Pahar Ganj district is incredibly tiring, as you have to try on the one hand not to be carried away by the traffic and on the other hand you should keep a mass of Indians away, who pounce on every western tourist, while you (more or less) cleverly remove the rubbish avoids on the street. And of course we were ripped off by almost every Indian (Hindu and Muslim) with whom we had to do business for the first 2 days.

It seems easy for the Hindus not to be touched by the beggars' circumstance - the caste system and habit seem to help. But for us western tourists the sight of children who are crippled by child lameness (an oral vaccination away from another karma!) And lepers is serious. Personally, this triggers a chain reaction of emotions: compassion, disgust, feelings of guilt, helplessness. But here too, habit helps and dulling takes place, although we regularly try to provide brief relief to the really poor with small donations of money or food. The drop on the hot stone ... In contrast, there is a little boy who (unfortunately obviously) hides one arm under his shirt and offers us the other hand to beg ...

Unfortunately, India also seems to be affected by the Asian inability to have no sense of aesthetics or hygiene. The garbage is best thrown right in front of your feet or thrown out of the train. And relieves the need in corners. Tragic how the most breathtaking sights are put into perspective.

 

THE APOCALYPTIC INDIA

India has the second largest population after China. At the moment it is increasing by about 20 million people annually, which suggests estimates that say that in the not too distant future India will replace China. In a precarious contrast, India only claims about 2.4% of the earth's land mass. The pressure on the environment resulting from the energy demand and the mountain of waste is already having drastic effects: Forests are being cut down, animal species are becoming extinct and the quality of the arable earth is constantly declining. A cloud of smog was recently discovered over the Indian Ocean and has been linked to air pollution in Indian cities and the monsoon. In parallel with these developments, India seems to be slipping increasingly into a state of imbalance, with excess prevailing in favor of basic measures to improve life.

The hotspot of Kashmir that flares up again (forever). The front page of the Times of India said that an Indian party is calling on the government to deal with the Muslim rebels tougher, even if this would result in attacks on Pakistani territory and would be interpreted as an act of war. The Pakistani Foreign Minister said laconically (regardless of this) that India and Pakistan both have nuclear weapons and would certainly use them during an incident. And the rebels are threatening to spread the conflict across India. Meanwhile, the military presence in Ladakh - this as a demonstration of power against China - costs around US $ 1 million a day ...

Truly ominoese signs. Significantly, we are currently living in the age of the kalyug, which according to Indian mythology is characterized by increasing speed and precedes the end of the world. One can only hope that the Age of Aquarius has prevailed in the Occident ...

 

THE REWARDING INDIA

The state of Himachal Pradesh in the north with the capital Shimla, which on the one hand gives an unusual picture with its wide streets and colonial stems and on the other hand is again typically Indian with its narrow streets, stairs and the bazaar. Many wealthy Indians spend their holidays here (away from the heat of the lowlands) - with the well-known peeping of cell phones. Many monkeys roam the streets and rooftops peacefully and the females have their little ones sitting on their backs or clinging to their stomachs. The small mountain village of Rewalsar, with the even smaller lake and the Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh temples, the holy Buddhist caves on the mountain above.

Dharamsala with the many exiled Tibetans and even more tourists. The mass shaking hands (approx. 150 tourists) with the Dalai Lama lacked the contemplative touch, but experiencing and seeing the charisma and smile of this special person up close was really impressive. The public audience with the Karmapa (spiritual head of another Buddhist order) was all the more inspiring. He is only a 17 year old boy. (There are bad times for Buddhism too. The so-called Panchen Lama (a 10-year-old boy!) Is imprisoned in China and would play an essential role in confirming the subsequent incarnation of today's Dalai Lama, and around the 17th incarnation of the Karmapa there are also disagreements as there are two of them. This split the order into two camps and both claim to be allied with China on the other side.)

A second visit to Delhi also shows us this city of hers

beautiful side.

On the endless bus and train journeys, the Indians are found to be friendly, helpful and curious. Your hospitality just in relation to the food is heartwarming (and so we "had" to taste all possible exotic snacks despite our friendly refusal on our part). Small bonds of friendship often form with tourists, too, which after a short time break up again in the sea of ​​possibilities ...

With best regards to all of you who stayed at home

Your

j & l

THE MAGIC INDIA

Rajasthan - land of kings and forts - is India from the exotic and historically shaped side. Here, near the desert, the usual street scene populated by cows and pigs is supplemented by camels and elephants.

Jaipur, the capital. Here you are confronted for the first time with the amazing architecture of this region. The Amber Fort outside has been offering a picture of balanced beauty in the middle of the hilly landscape for 400 years.

Jaisalmer, the fairy tale city. An 800-year-old fort placed on a rise dominates the small town. The fort is inhabited and, with its small, winding streets, forms a city of its own. An astonishing sight when viewed from a distance. But what really blows away is the close-up view: the meticulously carved sandstone explodes into a work of art with the most delicate patterns. And this everywhere you look. Every building, every wall. The accommodations in the fort are old havelis, formerly the houses of rich merchants. The only thing that breaks the timelessness of this place are the Indian fighter jets, which regularly fly to the nearby military base. The Pakistani border is a few 100 km away. The downside is once again the cleanliness and hygiene. The holy cows on Muellbergen stand in secluded alleys, whose components they eat with relish. There is also no sewer system. The Indians use the inside of the fort wall as a toilet. And we soon find out that the drain in our toilet protrudes a few meters below the wall and promptly ends there too. It is surprising that no epidemics have broken out yet ...

Jodhpur. An even more impressive version of the "Fort on the rise with the city all around". The 200 year old fort is immense. Almost not to be compared with European palaces and castles. Unfortunately it is not inhabited. The facades of the houses in the old town are all painted light blue, which looks really unique from above.

Ranakpur. A sacred place for the Jains (see comments on Jainism below). Basically just a few houses in the lush forest. And then there is the temple. From a distance it is quite small and not that impressive (we are slowly being spoiled). Revelation is again in the details. Columns hewn in 1444 - no two are alike. 29 domes. Decorations wherever you look. And everything in white marble.

Udaipur with the wonderful sunsets in the lovely hilly landscape. Bond was here in "Octopussy". A peaceful city on the lake. Here a problem of the last few years manifests itself very clearly: In all of Rajasthan it no longer rains properly during the monsoon season. The water level here is a few meters below normal (in fact, the microclimate seems to be changing in Himachal and Ladakh too. The former has too little rainfall, the latter too much).

Chittorgarh. Yes, another fort. What is slowly boring the reader is in truth another highlight in terms of aesthetics and architecture. It would take a poetic inclination to put this visual stimulation into words with equal liveliness - fortunately we have a camera. The history of this fort is moving. It was taken three times (once because of a beautiful woman). And each time the ritual Jauhar was celebrated: when certain defeat was imminent, all the men, dressed in yellow robes, rode out of the fort to face the enemy and certain death. During this time the women and children threw themselves into a huge funeral pyre. Honor over death.

Pushkar, the small holy Hindu town on the holy lake. Quiet and sleepy. The whole thing with a hippy flair. Two particularly crazy tourists, dressed in little bells and orange robes, were constantly walking around barefoot. In India in general and especially in Pushkar particularly disgusting. Alcohol and meat are forbidden in the whole village. Even eggs are not available anywhere. For this, an interesting way, hashish is offered everywhere. This - in contrast to alcohol - can be brought into a religious framework for the upper Hindu caste (and tourists).

 

THE MYSTICAL AND METAPHYSICAL INDIA

India is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The latter is a kind of Buddhism derivative, the founder of which was a contemporary of Buddha. The Jain gurus mostly live in the woods near a temple and are always naked. In addition to the Muslim population, there is also a Sikh minority. The Sikh religion supposedly combines the best elements of Islam and Hinduism. The dominance of Hinduism is probably due to its age (the founding Veda scriptures are 3000 - 6000 years old - depending on the source) and its flexibility (according to the Hindus, Buddhism belongs to Hinduism). Sadhus, the Hindu gurus, are wandering ascetics. You can perform various fakir tricks and are always only lightly dressed. Naively (from Western eyes?) The approx. 330 million Hindu gods are all manifestations, aspects, incarnations, descendants of one of the three main gods: Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the sustainer; Shiva, the destroyer. These in turn are expressions of Brahman, the One, Indivisible, Eternal, Infinite. Brahman is without content or form. The ultimate reality or the background of our reality. The source. With these concepts in mind, it is hardly surprising that Indian mathematicians were one of the first to introduce zero. And in fact, this Hindu knowledge of the origin of all things is lived. So we met an Indian who tried to enlighten us about the how and why of life. Unfortunately without success. Another has spent the last 20 years falsifying Newton's and Einstein's theories.

 

TOUR D'INDE

3000 km in 10 days. This at an average speed of the trains of 50 km / h. Agra with the obligatory photo of the Taj Mahal. It took the work of art 20 years to stand. And despite all the cliché it is an impressive sight.

Varanasi. Another holy city. This time on the holy Ganges. India from its most characteristic side. Tourists, pilgrims, sadhus and locals all stream through the narrow streets. Every Hindu should take a ritual and spiritually cleansing bath in the Ganges at least once in their life. If you consider the water quality, really an act of faith. This is where life and death meet: Burning Ghats, stairs into the river, where corpses are burned for 24 hours and the remains are thrown into the water. Who dies here is freed from the eternal cycle of rebirth and goes into nirvana. What is remarkable is the exuberant, cheerful mood of the people who stand around the pyre of their relatives. Leaving out the more morbid details, it should be mentioned here that the whole thing cynically smelled like a barbecue. The bodies of sadhus, children, pregnant women and people who died of a cobra bite (?) Are covered up and directly weighed down with stones in the river.

A little outside of Varanasi is Sarnath, where the historical Buddha gave his first speech and thus founded the religion.

Ajanta. 2000 year old man-made huge caves of Buddhists. It is really unbelievable to what inspiration, creativity, aesthetics, genius and perseverance religions around the world have driven people over and over again. The buildings / works of art really seem to speak of a high level.

Goa. Sea and beach. It is mid-season, i.e. the local raver scene has not yet formed. Ironically, we are down from the flu and mostly lie in the bungalow.

Bombay. Departure.

 

REMARKS

For the Indians, Switzerland is heaven on earth (it used to be Kashmir). Rich Indians spend their honeymoons with us and in many Bollywood films (not a typo and in fact comparable to the corresponding US film industry) there are cheesy scenes from Switzerland. At certain moments, when the Indians are almost moved to tears that we are from Switzerland, we try to balance things out fairly and break their belief that materialism makes you happy without restriction (examples of suicide, drug addiction) and praise the Indian warmth and helpfulness.

The main skill of the Indians is to adapt. This manifests itself in the fact that no Indian marriage fails, although all marriages are arranged in the early years. You just adapt, we are told.

A double room costs between 4 and 10 francs. A meal between 1 and 4 francs. Depending on the region and requirements.

We stay with love in our homeland

Your

j & l