We took a whirlwind four-day road trip from Udaipur to Jaisalmer. Rafiq and Nirmal’s friend Madu drove us in his enormous SUV. We got a late start but finally loaded it up with wives and children…
of all sizes. About an hour down the road, Rafiq asked Madu to stop. He wanted to show me something.
Right by the side of the road, there were several trees loaded with bats. Guess there was no better place for them to roost. We continued to the Ranakpur temple. Bharti and Shahi had not seen it before.
As we approached the temple entrance, some angry langurs came running up. They jumped on Pushker’s leg and started biting him! He hadn’t gone near them or antagonized them in any way. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Fortunately, he was able to slap them off before they hurt him.
Hindu and Jain temples strike me as happy looking, as compared with the austerity of the more Gothic style of a lot of European Catholic churches.
Nirmal exploring the exquisite columned hall.
The ladies take a break from exploring Ranakpur temple. I’m just getting warmed up!
I could stay at Ranakpur for hours, but we don’t have that kind of time. We prepare to leave and go look for a place to have lunch.
There was another small temple on the grounds. There was nothing to see in its interior, but Prem said the carvings on the outside were worth seeing.
The exterior carvings of the small temple were similar to the ones in the Jain temple inside the Jaisalmer Fort.
This was baby season. Note the female in front with her baby tucked under one arm.
On the short drive back to Hotel Roopam, we came across a troupe of about 15 langur monkeys in the road. There was a group on each side of the road, plus a cluster of them sitting in the middle of the street.
We stopped to watch them. They weren’t shy at all. This large female made quite a thump when she jumped onto the car. Prem and I were laughing but very glad to have the windshield between her and us.
We rolled the windows down only a crack to toss out some garlic bread crusts for them — which caused a few more of them to jump on the car — and quickly rolled them back up again. It’s risky to handfeed large monkeys. They are known to bite in frustration if they don’t get what they want fast enough.
Yum, garlic bread makes good monkey milk for baby!
Letting it all hang out.
We arrived at the Ranakpur Jain temple complex late in the afternoon, just before it closed for the day.
It was very hot this day, but once inside the breezes flowing through the cool marble interior made it very pleasant. The stunning beauty of the temple completely distracted me and removed any feelings of physical discomfort.
There was something so peaceful and calming about being in the midst of this place. As at all temples, we removed our shoes before entering. Walking around in bare feet on the cool marble floors felt great.
There wasn’t enough time to explore every nook and cranny and photograph it all. I sat down on some nearby stairs. “I need a moment of quiet contemplation,” I said to Prem. I put down my camera, took a deep breath and meditated for a bit. I could have stayed here an entire day.
Prem sat down close by and watched me awhile as I sat and observed the incredible beauty all around me.
“You do honor to this place,” he said.
I'll never know what this sign by the roadside is about.
The next day we left Jodhpur and headed for Ranakpur, a mountain village where there was a Jain temple we were going to visit. We would stay at Ranakpur overnight.
Just before we pulled into the resort hotel, a camel in its best duds crossed our path.
No matter how many pictures I took, there was always something I missed. I didn’t take enough of Hotel Roopam, the paradise of a garden resort where we stayed.
The two story dining area.
We had to pass through the lovely dining hall to get to my room.
The room was spacious, and the wet room* was huge. We stayed only long enough for Prem to be satisfied that I was happy with the place, then we headed for the Ranakpur temple.
*A wet room is a bathroom with no tub. The shower area is not separated from the toilet and wash basin by a wall, shower curtain or enclosure of any kind. It’s completely open. They are common in tropical climates.
Hotel Roopam had a designated bird feeding area where clusters of ringneck and plumhead parakeets gathered.