Tuesday, January 29, 2013


We got in the tour bus early today, 7:30. We had a fairly long ride to Agra with stops along the way. The smog was still bad, so I had on a mask most of the day.
We are driving through an agricultural area, A woman's job here is to collect moist cow dung and pat it into a nice circle, The dung patty is then dried, sold and used for cooking fires.

Small family farms grow wheat, mustard and vegetables.

Mustard is grown for seeds and cooking oil. The stick house is used to protect dung patty fuel in the rainy season.

Cows, water buffalo and goats are herded across the road.  The Hindus eat no meat. They revere the cow and just use the milk from these animals. We see wild pigs at the roadside. No one eats these.

Road side shops.

This huge statue is an incarnation of Shiva's consort Paverti. There are hundreds of Hindu gods and it is hard for me to figure out who is who.

Hare Hare Krishna Hare Rama. We had a marvelous lunch here at the Krishna temple. The Krishnas are currently providing  a hot lunch to 1.3 million children in government schools, attended mostly by poor children, all financed by private donations. This temple serves all in a 50 mile radius.

A Sikh temple

A lovely traffic jam in Agra. The policeman only seemed to be making it worse.

An Agra letter box looks like an English one.
The Agra fort

Hindu filigree by Hindu workmen in this Muslim fort.

Over my shoulder you can kind of see the Taj Mahal through the haze.

Workmen cleaning the marble

A closeup through the viewfinder of the Taj

The Agra fort moat, missing the original crocodiles.

Ceilings in the King's quarters

Originally there were jewels and fancy inlays in these places on the walls.

A hint of gold along the roofline
Semi precious stones combined in these inlays.
Tomorrow we tour the Taj and then head to Jaipur.

Monday, January 28, 2013


My first impressions of Delhi are that it is like Mexico, but bigger with worse air and signs mostly in English.I have never been to Mexico City so the crowds and smog may be similar. But it would be hard to rival a city of 16 million. Driving small cars and motorcycles. Honk, honk always in a hurry. Small shops everywhere. In the old city it looks like some have bought old cars, pulled them to pieces and are selling the bits out of storefronts.  We travel endlessly on our tour bus in terrible traffic to visit shrines.
Ghandi's last footsteps

At a  Hindu shrine, we cannot take pictures inside, but behind William is the prayer tree where people put ribbons. The dress is barefoot.

In a huge Sikh temple by donation they provide meals for 15 thousand people a day, 30 thousand plus  on Sundays.

Back in the kitchen at the temple hundreds of people stir huge pots and roll out and cook naan bread.
An early Muslim ruler's tomb provided inspiration for others such as the Taj Mahal.

Hindu temples were torn down when Muslims took power in the north of India. This tower was built of temple scraps.

At the top between the columns is a row of not fully obliterated Kama images used in this now ruined mosque.

Parrots nest in the ruins.

Just the rubble core is left of this tower.

Tuk tuk taxies swarm in hazy air.
Looking up the tower.

We ride a pedi-cab through old Delhi
Off to Agra early this AM.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Flight to India

We flew a great circle route on Singapore Airlines. A huge 787. I was so thrilled to be flying over Alaska. Seeing it so frozen when we were just there this past summer.
Frozen Yukon

This is what the Yukon looks like frozen solid from high above.
We flew over South Korea, also quite frozen. They must have strict regulations on land use as it did not look like they were using their farmland for housing.  Mainly high density housing and lots of frozen farmland terraced up the hills and on the flats and next to the river.  Very brown now in winter. A brief stop in Seoul.
We spent 6 1/2 hours in Singapore. Long enough to rent a transit room, have a shower and a nap.
Singapore airlines is a nice airline. But leaving San Francisco on Thursday and arriving in Delhi, India on Saturday makes for a long flight.
We have met our tour group for dinner and begin the tour of Delhi in the morning. Temples and more temples. Shoes on and off. I think I'll wear sandals.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

audio post

Looks like I can just speak and make a blog post. This will be a very easy way to keep Blogging when we are away. The next time I'll try to do this I will be on the plane to India. Keep in touch.