Thursday, February 22, 2007: The Golden Temple Mail Train from Bharatpur to Sawai Madhopur
Our journey through India continues. While we sit rather comfortably in a sleeping compartment with fans, windows and curtains, just ahead and behind us are cars overflowing with people who have paid about $2.00 for this 2 ½ hour ride. What’s amazing is that on Amtrak a similar trip would cost $50 - $100.
In Agra, where we spent the past two days, we visited–as every tourist who goes there does–the Taj Mahal. With great pride, our guide told us that this building was lovingly built by artists and craftsmen, unlike the slaves that built the pyramids in Egypt. The sight of the Taj Mahal at sunrise is impressive to say the least. It hard to imagine that such a great building was constructed as a burial site for just a handful of people and that no one ever lived on these grounds.
I visited another local market in Agra. The rush of humanity pressed together so closely is addictive. Again, I saw no white faces, and in this market there were no beggars, unlike on the grounds surrounding the Taj Mahal. Multi-colored spices created a beautiful picture as women in brightly colored saris stopped to examine bright red chilis, yellow mustard and rich brown coffee beans.
Along the side of the road are mounds of round brown paddies piled in a special pattern that rise up to six feet high. Women sit for hours working cow dung into discs that when dried will provide fuel for fires used for cooking. Nothing is wasted. Garbage piled in the street feeds goats and pigs. Most towns have no garbage collection process. Here are some pictures I took that capture the flavor of the scenes we’ve been a part of.