Tuesday, November 18, 2008

At a neglected ancient city of Mandore

mandore photo courtesy of phileasfogg

I found myself at an almost empty garden of spectacular temples in various states of neglect in the city of Mandore, north of Jodhpur. Some of these temples could equal the grandeur of the Ayutthayas and Sukhothais of thailnd, yet the local government doesn't seem to care. In fact, a visit to this park is absolutely free of charge - an unusual situation in all my travels in India where every single tourist spot is leavied heavily!

Mandore is an ancient city, an old capital of the Marwar state (now Rajasthan). The intricately designed structures rise from the backdrop of the surrounding Rock Terraces.

It was a good thingthat my autorickshaw driver decided to join me. It was a bit unnerving and eerie, roaming the park gardens alone. Having said that there are several spots to be enjoyed. Squirrels and medium-sized monkeys litter the area. A child busker carrying some ethnic looking guitar-type instrument was following me around, playing a dissonant music that had no melody at all. Finally, there's the Hall of Heroes as well as a Government Museum (10 rupees for foreigners, 5 rupees for locals).

The highlight of my visit was meeting a group of Boy Scouts. Kids all over my travel have been very welcoming. I always get "hellos" from smiling children everywhere. I snapped their photos after their egging me. It was my pleasure.

On my way back, we passed by several camels hauling off cartloads of building blocks and slabs of woods. Local color seems to runneth over.

Tonight, I shall take my midnight train going further North in the city of Jaisalmer, located at the fringes of the Thar Desert - India's Sahara (and already bordering Pakistan to the west). I pray that everything goes quite well.

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