RANAKPUR



Photographs with Commentary by Debra Jan Bibel
 


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On our way to Jaisalmer, we visit a village and a Khamer tribal family of musicians and dancers. Afterwards, we come to an extraordinary Jain temple.  Our drive continues to Jodhpur for a hotel (Indana Palace), food, and sleep. We would return to Jodhpur on a different day and likewise dedicate our visit only for dinner and rest.


As we proceed into the Rajasthan desert zone, we encounter an ancient agricultural invention, the noria or waterwheel.

Round and round go the cattle, and gears rotate the noria to lift the water. The farmer rides the apparatus; his mind happily distracted by us visitors. The well water permits cleaning of laundry. Detail of the lifting mechanism as goats look on. A crop of grain.

A drying river bed indicates the arid landscape.

Scrub and shrub.

Approaching the village; piles of drying grain.

Interesting decoration of symbols and text.

Just a nice image with celebratory flags.

Into the village.

 

A small village shrine with its puja bell. In the corner of the shrine some small nagara drums. A music machine: a crank plays the drums and metallophones. A dhol drum is at the side. The diety Sarasvati, player of the veena. The shrine alcove. Musicians with harmonium, dholak, and tambura drone.
The Terah Taali dancers, whose choreography duplicates devotional dance. Manjira bells. Besides those held in the hand, the leg has a graduated series of bells that are struck during the elaborate dance moves. The three dancers. [credit:Andrea Vasconellos] Floor dancing shifts to standing. The dance and music entices. Silan is recruited.
 She quickly follows the movements. Mother and brother approve. Father Yuval agrees. Sajida, a trained dancer, joins the party. Others enjoy the moment.  A circuit of the village commences.
 

 

Homes are constructed of fitted stones. A small Hindu shrine. Water buffalos. A painted bovine. Cows are holy and never eaten. Kept for milk until no longer productive, cows are then retired to the streets, where people provide food. Two villagers with water pots.
Schoolgirls. Blue uniforms indicate a government run school.

Goats are common livestock. Nearby is an elongated lake. Water buffalo in water. Our tour bus. A Volvo, it provided comfort. Monkeys stake out bends in the road for handouts. Entrance to the Jain temple. The rhombus is symbolic of Jainism.


A side entrance. Jains take an extreme stand on life forms, concerned in not even accidentally killing an insect. Of course, the religion was created without knowledge of mosquito, tick, flea, and fly vectors of infectious disease. Jainism is a minority religion in India. Upper stories. Entrance step detail. A conch decoration at the entrance stairs.


A temple of columns, each different in decoration. Four sections with a central square. Stunning light and dark shadows. Around the courtyard. Monkey decoration. An intricate dome ceiling.

Column details. Another angle. Another dome. Elephant and riders. A different elephant and riders. An old, old tree within the temple.

Footsteps of a saint. Into the sky. Table upon table upon table. Column base decorations. The architect and ruler. Another column.

A dholak drummer and dancers. An elaborate relief figure. Another architectural gem. Along walls are statues of buddhas and saints. As enticing gallery. The wheel of temples in the four directions.


The visitor provides scale. The power of the temple grows with each new view. A meditative figure. Wonders of carving at every turn. The Jains also use a bell in worship. Inner sanctum.

Another amazing dome. The supporting square. Roof line. The temple is open to the air. Elephant, people, elaborate decoration. Mountain and temple. Flowers prepared for offerings.
       

 

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