The next morning it was raining hard, which delayed our departure and meant there would be no time for Shahi and Bharti to visit Meherangarh Fort. Once it let up, Rafiq and Madu took off to see if they could find a restaurant open for break fast. Everything was closed: restaurants, markets, everything! It wasn’t a holiday, it was just Jodhpur. I started really not liking this place. You can find a restaurant open in Udaipur any time of day, in season or off season. All the guys could find to bring back for us was a bag of apples.
Our day didn’t get any better once we got on the road. Our destination was Osian, only a couple of hours away. But the rains turned a dry creek bed into a river gushing over the road. We saw a man up to his waist in water gingerly crossing the stream. Only big trucks like this one were high enough to cross the rushing water without the engine stalling and heavy enough to cross without being carried away. Everyone else was turning back. We were willing to skip Osian and head straight to Jaisalmer, but Madu was now determined to get there. He wanted to try crossing the water, but we all said it wasn’t worth the risk and convinced him to turn around. It was another day like the day before: asking directions of everyone we met, getting different and confusing answers, and going down lots of rutted roads. But this time, the roads had water features.
When we reached Osian, it was blazing hot. We had come to this little known town to see the Sachiya Mata Sun Temple, which none of us had been to before. It had a series of archways preceding the temple entrance which are now covered to protect visitors from the oppressive sun. That made it much more pleasant, since you would otherwise have had to go barefoot up hot marble stairs. Visitors to temples must always remove their shoes before entering.
At the top of the stairs, the temple was small and unassuming from the outside. Inside was a small, disappointing room with way too many electrical wires snaking around and rusted fixtures. This was not a marble beauty like Ranakpur. The walls and columns were covered with cheap ceramic tiles, many of which were broken or missing. It was also smoky from years of burning incense.
A prasad is little more than a small sugar bomb. I had one on my first visit to India, and I wouldn’t say it was one of my favorite tasty treats. I now manage to be somewhere else when they pass those around.
On the way back to the car, a woman was following close behind me, yammering all the way. At first I thought she was talking on her phone, but every time I stopped to take a picture, she stopped. And every time I continued, she continued, yapping nonstop. Then she started making the eating gesture, and I knew she was a beggar. Pushker and Rafiq told her several times to leave us alone, but like the sun, she was relentless. If you’re in India any length of time, you’ll soon reach a point where the constant assault of ceaseless hordes of beggars will render you pitiless. Foreigners attract them like flies. It was brutally hot, I was cranky, and I wasn’t inclined to give her anything. No one else did, either, so it wasn’t as if I were the sole heartless one.
As soon as we got into the car and pulled away, we began laughing about it. Silly me. I had been taking pictures of everything else. I should have taken a picture of her.