South Asia Fun Tour
May 22,2021

Talk to yourself about India

by Bin Xu

Published on May 17, 2020 10:07

At the beginning of November, my friend Lao Yang said that he planned to go to India and had a itinerary, including three states in the northeast that were not yet fully open. The 45 day travel plan was very attractive. After considering it, he decided to go with Lao Yang.

In the following month, we repeatedly discussed and revised the itinerary plan, and finally decided to make two sets of plans. The first plan is to fly directly to Delhi, then go from north to northeast, and finally go around to Bombay in the West. If the progress of northeast is not smooth, we will implement the second plan, that is, turn back to Delhi, go to the west, and then go south to Bombay.

It took two weeks to prepare for the trip, including e-visa, air ticket and train ticket. Set off for Delhi at the end of December.

Delhi

The haze in Delhi was more serious than expected. When the plane landed, the fog was thick and the visibility was only 5 meters.

From the bright and clean Airport Express line, over the overpass of New Delhi railway station, along the elevated road is the backpacker gathering area. The crowded streets are lined with shops, inns and restaurants are scattered in a maze of alleys. Overhead are billboards. Passing cars are jumping on the potholes and rolling up dust.

After a night's flight, we almost didn't sleep much. The upcoming trip to India made us all a little excited. After lunch, I decided to walk to Connaught square, which is the business center of Delhi. It's convenient to exchange money and buy phone cards.

Gray sky, gray Road, gray house, gray air, this is Delhi's first impression to me. Walking on the street is like walking through a gray forest. Along the road, I see some tramps warming themselves by fire. A few pieces of wood or a section of branches are natural heaters, and the air is filled with mixed smoke.

With the crowd through a few red lights, the road becomes open, the sun gradually gets out of the clouds, and the surrounding buildings begin to have some warm colors. As we continue to move forward, there are more and more pedestrians and more and more shops on both sides. Looking at the mobile phone map, this is Connaught square, a radial circular business circle with shops, restaurants, hotels and banks. It is also the most prosperous central area in New Delhi.

I changed some rupees in a small shop. The US dollar exchange rate here is quite good, a little more than 70. Holding a pile of thick rupees, I went to Airtel store next door, where Airtel and Vodafone are sold at the same time. According to the assistant, Vodafone can open the card faster, only 15 minutes, while Airtel has to wait 24 hours. To be on the safe side, we decided to buy one for Airtel and one for Vodafone.

The procedure of buying a phone card in India is very complicated. Besides a lot of forms to fill in, he also needs to take big head photos. After Lao Yang has paid the money and gone through all the procedures, the clerk first opened the card for Lao Yang. Unexpectedly, after a long time of trouble, the mobile phone never got a signal. Finally, he said that the Vodafone card can't be used on Lao Yang's mobile phone. How can this happen? How can we say that we can't use all the money? As soon as the clerk saw that he couldn't explain to us, he asked me for a mobile phone to put the card in. After simple setting, the card was opened successfully.

It turns out that one slot of Lao Yang's mobile phone is CDMA, and the other slot is 2G GSM. Vodafone and Airtel support 3G GSM at least in India, so Lao Yang's mobile phone can't be used. So that Vodafone card can only be used by me, but I still have to find a way to help Lao Yang solve the problem of mobile phone, because there is a journey later, we will go separately, how can we do without a phone? Now we can only go to other telecom operators. Maybe there will be 2G network or 1g network.

Coming out of Connaught square, the two men embarked on a journey to find cards in Delhi. There are still many outlets selling cards in Delhi, and the business is quite hot. There are an endless stream of people coming to the store to handle cards and consult, and some outlets have to wait in line. It's embarrassing that every time we go into the store and say we want to buy 2G card, the staff will always look at us suspiciously: we only have 3G card, isn't China 5g? The Indians were naturally warm-hearted. At this time, the melon eaters in the queue gathered around and showed sympathy. I had to pull Lao Yang out of the door.

All the way to the night, different operators, big and small stores, exclusive stores, agency stores, anyway, all the places they can run, still can't buy a phone card. It was late and they were hungry. Today, in order to buy 2G card, they were sympathized by Indian friends for a whole afternoon. The blow was too big. They decided to go to a low-key restaurant and come to the waiting room of the railway station. Each of them asked for a 120 rupee Chinese fried rice. Don't ask how it tasted. Anyway, they were full.

The next morning, I called a tutu car to go to Hongbao. There were few people on the road, and the wind was blowing on me. It was still a gray forest. After a while, the car stopped by the side of the road, and along the direction of the driver's fingers, the red and Brown Hongbao stood in front of me. The red fort was built in the period of Shah Jahan of Mughal Dynasty. Shah Jahan ordered the construction of the Red Fort in order to move the capital from Agra to Delhi. The king was obsessed with architecture all his life and did not hesitate to spend a lot of money to build all kinds of large palaces. The Taj Mahal, red fort and JAMA mosque were all masterpieces of his reign.

The Red Castle is made of thick red sand and rock. Its magnificent appearance can't hide the atmosphere of dusk. The wall surrounded by iron barrels is even more depressing. When you enter the castle, the palace, hall and garden are beautiful, but the empty castle is like a skeleton without flesh and blood. It is lifeless and has no aura. We have gone. Where is mogul? After all, the magnificent Red Castle failed to prevent the collapse of the dynasty by the East India Company. The stability of the country did not depend on the tall and heavy city walls, but on the peace of the people.

In the morning, there were not many tourists in Hongbao. They were busy taking pictures of themselves and each other. They had heard about the Indian people's habit of looking for group photos. Lao Yang also met the first Indian people who asked for group photos. He was still a little beauty. I had known Lao Yang for 30 years, but I never thought Lao Yang would be so brilliant in India. Every time I went out with him, someone would always look for him to take a picture, Looking at Lao Yang's smiling eyes, I couldn't understand it. As the saying goes, you should be careful when making friends, and you should be careful when traveling!

JAMA mosque is not far from the Red Fort. It is the largest mosque in India so far, which can not be described as magnificent. The main hall is made of red sandstone and white marble, decorated with exquisite patterns and carvings. Tall minarets are towering on both sides. In the center is a huge red sandstone square, which can accommodate 20000 believers.

Before I came here, I was a little worried. Not long ago, Muslims were still carrying out large-scale protests here because of modi's amendment to the citizenship law. In India, the contradiction between Muslims and Hinduism has existed for a long time. Religious opposition has become a means for some politicians to obtain political capital. I am deeply surprised that among the Indian common people I contacted, whether Muslim or Hindu, they have a very tolerant attitude towards different religions. We all have a consensus: no matter what kind of faith, there is only one God, and the difference is only the doctrines and rules, as well as the family belief inheritance relationship. I think this is a positive attitude in dealing with the contradictions between different religions.

Just as we were about to come out of the mosque, Lao Yang's charm once again flourished, winning the audience and group photo request of a large family. I counted the number of men, women, young and old, plus the baby wrapped in my arms, a total of 11 people. Lao Yang waved to me: quickly press the shutter for us. Well, Lao Yang's eyes in the viewfinder narrowed again.

It was noon when I came out of the mosque. I planned to find a restaurant nearby. I inadvertently walked into a big bazaar. It was crowded beyond imagination. The narrow street was full of shops. Outside the shops, there were layers of vendors. The street corners and corners were also full of stalls. The alley was blocked by pedestrians and vehicles. Although it was noisy and messy, it was very crowded, But it's very down-to-earth and lively. It's a good place for street photography. Because of the time, I rushed back after lunch. It was a pity. Later I learned that this was the moonlight fair.

In New Delhi, another place that makes me feel grounded is the Connaught square mentioned above. Unfortunately, it is also a hurry. For these missed opportunities, it's really a dilemma for me. I usually spend most of my travel time shooting movies about humanities. Fairs and squares are good places for street photography. In order to take care of as many cities as possible, the schedule of this trip is relatively compact, so we can only make a superficial tour here.

Gutibuta is located at the south end of Delhi. It is the tallest minaret in India, nearly 73 meters long. After the Sultan of Delhi ruled India, he demolished more than 20 Hindu and Jain temples and built this tower and several mosques to celebrate the victory of Muslims over heretics. Some of the stones came from the demolished heretic temples on the remaining colonnade of the mosque, We can see the stone carving patterns and patterns with distinct Hindu style.

In addition to gutibuta, most of the buildings here are only ruins. Compared with the strictness of the Red Fort and the solemnity of the JAMA mosque, there is a kind of primitive and simple fragmentary beauty here, which gives people more imagination space. This is also the reason why I always prefer ruins and relics.

Delhi, as the ancient capital of India's seven dynasties and the present capital, has a lot to see. It's just a hurry to come and go. I hope I can make up for this regret again later.

(2) Amritsar

India has not only the most developed railway system in the world, but also the official website of the Railway Bureau has done a very good job. The number of trains, the class of cars and the condition of shops are clear at a glance. It even provides vegetarian and non vegetarian meals. The ticket we bought from New Delhi to Amritsar included the cost of a meal. I remember telling Lao Yang at that time that the Railway Bureau was very considerate and arranged lunch for us.

As we took the Indian train for the first time, we arrived at the station an hour in advance and bought some snacks and drinks at the platform for breakfast. The train left New Delhi at 7:20 on time. This is an AC chair bound for Amritsar. It's a bit like our domestic EMU. The car body is wider than the EMU. The car has bright windows and comfortable sofa seats.

As a result of getting up too early in the morning, coupled with lack of sleep for several days in a row, people feel a bit drowsy. They quickly finish their breakfast and doze back in their chair. I don't know how long I was confused. I heard a commotion in the carriage. I opened my eyes and saw someone delivering lunch boxes and tea in the carriage. Looking at my watch, it's only more than nine o'clock. It's not lunch time yet. I was wondering. Lao Yang whispered: you see, not all people want lunch boxes. They may have to charge. We don't want them! Looking around, as Lao Yang said, some of the passengers' tables are empty, and I admire Lao Yang secretly: in the end, Lao Jiang is very discerning!

The waiter carried the tray to our position in the aisle. We both waved to the waiter almost at the same time and said: no! Looking at the scenery outside the window, the smell of milk tea and curry are floating in the car. After a while, the waiter came back with the lunch box, thinking: didn't you just say no, what else? The waiter went straight past our seats, came to the other end of the car, and continued to deliver the meal in turn. It turned out that what he had just delivered was a plain meal box, but this time there was chicken. Looking at the carriage again, the table of Lao Yang and I was empty. We looked at each other face to face: what's the situation, bullying people?

Lao Yang whispered: do you want to ask if this lunch box is free? I said back: I can't hang on to my face. Just now I said no to him, now I want to ask him again? Forget it, I comforted Lao Yang and said: anyway, we have had breakfast, and they will send us lunch later.

At 12 noon, the train was getting closer and closer to Amritsar. The waiters were busy cleaning the carriage, and the passengers packed their bags. I knew that lunch would not come. The lunch box just now was the catering service included in the fare, which was our breakfast.

Some people say that it's easy to be hungry when traveling in India. I think so.

Before I came here, I saw a lot of Amritsar's travel notes, most of which were about the golden temple. I always thought that the golden temple was a gilded temple in the lake. I didn't know until Amritsar. I took it for granted that the actual area of the golden temple was much larger than I thought, including the Golden Temple, the holy lake, the square at the gate of the temple, and the surrounding buildings, It's not as simple as a temple.

When we came to the old city and walked through the busy bazaar, we saw a large leisure square at the gate of the temple. There were seats on both sides for tourists to rest. On one side of the square was a row of cabins for storing shoes. We handed the shoes and socks to the old people in the house, walked barefoot on the wet plastic carpet, followed the crowd to the gate of the temple, walked through the warm foot washing pool, and walked up the stairs to enter the temple.

The first time I saw the Golden Temple, I was surprisingly calm. The smooth surface of the lake seemed to have a kind of divine power, which smoothed all the fluctuations. I felt calm and didn't hear the noise of the outside world. Only my own consciousness, the Golden Temple in front of me was like a Golden Lotus in full bloom, shining. I stopped for a long time before I came back to myself. Now I still think it's incredible.

Looking around the temple, the whole temple is in a rectangular layout. In the center of the temple is an artificial lake called the holy lake, surrounded by black and white marble and engraved with inscriptions. In the center of the holy lake is the Golden Temple, which is connected to the lake bank by a long stone bridge. The bottom of the stone slabs around the lake bank is heated circulating water. Even sitting by the lake in winter, you won't feel cold. Around the lake is a circular marble trail, covered with blankets and fabrics in winter. Surrounded by white buildings, the bottom colonnade filled with prayer believers.

The sun in the afternoon warms the temple, the sound of singing comes from the loudspeakers, and the flow of people on the footpath becomes loose. Some people go down to the lake to take a bath, others sit and lie on the warm stone slabs on the lake bank, and some cross legged on the carpet of the corridor, praying or meditating. From their calm faces and contented expression, you can feel a strong sense of belonging. The golden temple has gone far beyond the scope of the temple. It is a place for Sikhs to repose their souls, a harbor to shelter themselves from the wind and rain, a nectar pond and a holy land for Sikhs.

The next day, Lao Yang took a half day off and said he would send the photos to his circle of friends. Lao Yang is a serious wechat controller. He swipes wechat almost every minute every day. In order to upload photos and words to his circle of friends at any time, there is a secret weapon hidden in his pocket: a recording pen that can convert dictation into words at any time. However, when he arrived in India, the recorder didn't work well. Lao Yang said that the recorder didn't understand the Indian language. When he was dictating, he accidentally recorded the Indian speaking, and the converted text became a heavenly script. A few days later, there was a problem with the conversion software, so he couldn't even read the heavenly script.

Lao Yang was left alone in the hotel. I called an Uber to the golden temple. The temple was still full of people. There was a long line on the stone bridge leading to the main hall of the golden temple. I couldn't restrain my curiosity and decided to have a look inside the golden temple. Crowded in the crowd, slowly moving forward, about an hour, finally into the main hall. The gold temple is divided into three layers. The interior decoration is magnificent, and all kinds of carvings, patterns and details are very exquisite. On the second and third floors are the scripture room, the sacred objects room and the museum. There are also small rooms for the mages to rest. There are an endless stream of believers who come to visit every day. Unfortunately, it's not allowed to take photos in the hall, which is a bit of a disappointment.

Out of the main hall, along the trail came to the back of the two minarets, there is a red brick concrete building, here is the thousand people's Congress canteen of Jinmiao. Compared with the Golden Temple, there are more fireworks here, and the ground is black and greasy. The bottom floor is the place where the tableware is distributed. There is a long line here at every meal point. The kitchen and dining area are all upstairs. Following the crowd up the slope on the first floor, several volunteers were handing out tableware, but they hesitated and did not pick up the dishes.

After going to the second floor, I went directly to the back kitchen. As hundreds of people come to Jinmiao to eat every day, a large number of volunteers are required to participate in food preparation, such as garnishing, washing, cooking, kneading noodles, spreading cakes, baking cakes and food distribution. Each person has a clear division of labor and performs his own duties. In addition, there are special volunteers responsible for the cleaning and stacking of tableware.

The dining area is quite large. There are several blankets in the hall. The diners sit neatly on the blankets, eating the food on their plates, and almost no one talks. Seeing me go in with my camera, I turned my back alertly. Who would like to be photographed eating a free meal?

There is a blue and white three-story ring building near the free canteen behind the golden temple. This is the free accommodation area of the golden temple. The second and third floors are for local people's accommodation. On the ground floor, there is an area for foreign tourists. There are not many beds. There is a large open shop and several rooms that can be shared by many people. It is equipped with air conditioning, blankets and other basic facilities.

Around the temple, there are streets extending in all directions, including shops, restaurants, dwellings and various traditional handicraft workshops. Compared with other cities, the old streets of Amritsar are relatively quiet, with few pedestrians and vehicles, and fewer tourists. It is also a pleasure to walk around and feel the local life.

Some people jokingly say that the free board and lodging in Jinmiao is the epitome of communism, which I don't agree with. No matter in Amritsar or Jinmiao, you can feel the sincere humanistic care of Sikhs for all living beings. The free board and lodging in Jinmiao is a manifestation of Sikhs' universal value of helping the world and helping the poor. It is a pragmatic practice of a group of people to abide by their faith, and it is also a social responsibility and responsibility.

Amritsar is the holy city of Sikhs, and the Golden Temple is the soul of Amritsar.

(3) Agra

We chose to go to Agra by night train. This is the first time we have taken a sleeper in India. Online about the Indian Train strategy is quite detailed, but how to lock luggage is rarely discussed. There are triangle lock rings under the berths of Indian trains. I have a 1.8-meter-long bicycle code lock, and the lock head can barely pass through the lock ring. However, the lock ring of side berths is relatively deep, so it is inconvenient to drill under the berths. Lao Yang took a 2.5-meter-long stainless steel chain with him. I said he was too arrogant to escort his luggage. Because the iron chain was too long and thick, every time he tied his luggage, there would be a clanging sound. The movement was not very big. The triangle lock ring of the ordinary shop was on the outside, and the iron chain was stacked on the heel, which was particularly eye-catching.

The Indians in the same car look at our chains with complicated expressions. It seems that we regard the whole car as either a thief or a thief. What's it like to see Indians tying their luggage with thick chains on Chinese trains? It's really embarrassing at the beginning, but it doesn't matter if I get used to it later. After all, most of the Indians on the same train have their own chains, but their chains are flat chains of half width, which are mainly used to prevent people from going to work. After so many trains in India, I feel quite safe.

In addition to the tools for binding luggage, we have also done some homework on the choice of berths. According to the online strategy, my preferred berth is side lower. It turns out that this choice is correct for ac2 and AC3 cars, but it is an exception for the sleeper class, because the sleeper class shortens the length of the side berth. I am 1.72 meters tall and can't stretch my legs when I sleep in the side lower berth, You can only lie on your side with your body rolled up.

Lao Yang prefers the upper berth. He thinks the upper berth is safer, which seems to make some sense. It's just that the upper berth space of AC3 is very narrow. Every time he climbs up the berth, it's a kind of torture for him. Lao Yang, who is still agile on land, becomes slow in mid air. He has to fold his body in half to rotate 360 degrees. He likes to sleep in the corridor, saying that he is looking at everything and listening to everything. At first, I believed it, Later, I found that Lao Yang was the kind of person who fell asleep when he touched the pillow. Every time I arrived at the station, I would wake Lao Yang up. After several consecutive night rides, he finally said that he didn't want to sleep on the upper berth any more.

We came to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. In order to catch up with the first wave of admission, we chose a Hotel nearest to the east gate. Before dawn the next day, they rushed to the ticket office. Unexpectedly, one of them was earlier than us. A tour guide came to help the team buy tickets. In the chat, mist had risen around, but the tour guide confidently said: we should be able to see the sunrise today. After a while, there was a long line.

With tickets, everyone rushed in. After passing the security check in turn, everyone began to run in. We were left behind in an instant. I wondered: are we all reading the same strategy? According to the introduction of online strategy, after you go in, quickly run to the first shooting point, that is, the gate facing the Taj Mahal. You can take the sunrise photo of the Taj Mahal without visitors. No wonder the photos on the Internet are almost the same. They were all taught by a master.

When we get to the first shooting point, it's foggy. Where is the shadow of Taj Mahal? Due to the very low visibility, only the faint treetops ahead can be seen. We grope slowly forward, and finally see the Taj Mahal looming in the veil. The fog is like a magician who does his best to change rapidly around the Taj Mahal. It's erratic from front to back, from left to right. The mysterious and enchanting Taj Mahal refuses to reveal her whole picture.

The thick fog lasted for a long time. At noon, the weather cleared up. At this time, groups of tour groups swarmed in, full of colorful assault suits with long guns and short cannons, and concave red and yellow saris. The originally quiet Taj Mahal suddenly had a little bustle of the market. It is true that the Taj Mahal is changeable.

When they came out of the Taj Mahal, both of them were stopped by the gate. Without a word, the staff at the gate showed us to a window. After asking, they knew that there was a time limit for the Taj Mahal tickets. In order to wait for the fog to clear, we stayed in the Taj Mahal for five hours. We didn't say anything. Let's pay for it. Each person paid half price for 600 rupees.

On the way, Lao Yang comforted himself by saying: I read the article about the Taj Mahal in my textbook when I was a child. After so many years, today I finally see the Taj Mahal and realize my dream of many years. The 1800 rupees is worth it!

Well, Lao Yang's consciousness is high. I said: it's reasonable. It's not too expensive, but I think it's still painful. This knife is too fierce! I don't know if there is an article about Taj Mahal in primary school textbooks. I really don't recommend children to read travel notes.

Out of the Taj Mahal, we went to the nearby Fort Agra, the former capital of the Mughal Dynasty and the place where Shah Jahan was imprisoned. According to records, after killing two brothers, Shah Jahan's son, olanzeb, forced his father to abdicate and put him under house arrest in a room with a view of the Taj Mahal in Agra Fort. The old Shah Jahan could only wash his face with tears every day and look at the Taj Mahal in the distance to relieve the pain of Acacia. It was the mausoleum that he personally ordered to build, dedicated to his second favorite wife, A Persian beauty with transparent skin like glass. After Shah Jahan's death, he was buried in the Taj Mahal as he wished. He was reunited with his beloved wife, which made a beautiful and touching love story. The Taj Mahal he built has become the pride of India.

However, behind the romantic and touching story is the bloody and cruel reality. The Taj Mahal has separated countless families and destroyed their families. Behind the beautiful aura of imperial love, there are tens of thousands of human tragedies. Shah Jahan's militarism and obsession with palaces drained the blood and bone of the common people and exhausted the financial resources of the Empire, which led to the decline of the Mughal Dynasty.

(4) Kajuraho

The train is driving rapidly among the hills and forests, the fields are scattered with the dense night, the sunrise in winter is always so uncomfortable, the semi purple sun is exposed from the treetops, holding up a corner of the gray sky, and the chaotic mountain gradually reveals its layers.

Farmland and houses are constantly changing outside the window. If you don't pay attention to the skin color of passers-by, you think you are in the countryside of northern China. Although the planting structure in rural India is different from ours, the planting scale is very similar. Most of them are small-scale peasant economy with one mu and three parts of land as the unit of family.

Kajuraho is such a typical small village in India. If it wasn't for the shocking temples, it might not attract anyone's attention. There are many different opinions about the origin of kajuraho. There are both official and unofficial histories. It is said that the daughter of a priest went to the lotus pool to bathe in the summer night. She was seduced by the moon god and gave birth to a baby. The baby was an Indian version of Cucurbita. At the age of 16, because she killed a lion and a tiger, she became emperor and established the Chandra Dynasty.

Huluwa, who became the king, was full of ambition and high spirits, but one thing made him unhappy all the time, because the whole country knew that his mother was pregnant before marriage, and no one knew who his father was, which made him a little confused. Even if it fell on ordinary people, it would be said that he was the king of a country? So huluwa got an idea and ordered the construction of 85 temples to rectify his mother's name and tell the world that he had the gene of the moon god, so the inheritance relationship was complete.

True to life, there are only 22 temples, three of which are East, West and south. The West Temple is the most beautiful part. Not only is it beautifully carved, but also its style is bold and realistic, with various characters and animal shapes greatly lifelike, full of spirituality and life interest. It is amazing that it is a hall of sculpture and architecture. Among them, the scenes of men's love and women's love make kajuraho famous. People used to call those temples "sex temples".

From a humble village, kajuraho has become a popular place for tourists. The "sex Temple" has not only become the pronoun of kajuraho, but also changed the way of life of the local people. Farmers put down their farm tools and transformed their farmhouses into homestay, which is the Indian version of farmhouse, providing convenient accommodation for tourists.

The innkeeper of kajuraho is the most shrewd and diligent businessman I have ever met in India. He is also the top player in the routine. We only stayed in kajuraho for half a day, but we didn't expect that the routine would follow one by one. First of all, we had to start from our arrival in kajuraho. According to the plan, we will arrive at kajuraho in the morning, then visit the temples during the day and take the train to Varanasi in the evening. Considering the inconvenience of carrying luggage, I decided to find a hotel to check it, so I reserved a homestay for 700 rupees.

When we got off the train, we wanted to call a tuche by ourselves. Suddenly, we saw someone waiting at the exit with a white paper with our Pinyin name. We were surprised to know that it was the tuche driver hired by the hotel owner. We asked how much the fare was and replied that he didn't know. Although it was not practical, we wanted to take it when we came.

After washing up in the hotel, everyone sat around to have breakfast. The boss looked simple and honest, and looked like a good-natured man. Through chatting, he learned that he was running the biggest homestay in the village. He had opened three hotels and was still in the process of expansion. On the wall of his home, there were many messages from tourists from all over the world. Asked about the Temple group tour, he suggested that he should arrange our trip in kajuraho, and gave us a package price, including the tour vehicle arrangement, station transfer (including the morning pick-up fee), as well as three meals at his home, and promised to arrange a car to take us to the railway station in the evening, saying that it was too cold at night to take the Tutu bus. Although the price is a little high, we agreed to his plan, which is easy to worry about after all.

After a while, a young man came. The boss introduced him as our driver today. He was in his twenties and was very capable. He startled me when he spoke standard Mandarin. I could hardly believe his ears: what happened when I met a Chinese speaking farmer in rural India?

He said that he had been learning Chinese for three months, and he also had a Chinese name. He cooperated with the hotel owner to run homestay. Because there are so many Chinese tourists coming to kajuraho, he learned Chinese for the convenience of communicating with Chinese tourists. He took out an old mobile phone and opened wechat, which contained a series of names of Chinese tourists. I can't help but look at this young farmer with new eyes, thinking that this pair of partners are a little interesting.

After breakfast, Lao Yang and I walked out the door with him. We thought he would drive a tutu car, but we didn't expect that the so-called car was just a motorcycle, three people riding a motorcycle? No mistake? Seeing our puzzled eyes, the guy said solemnly: don't worry, you'll be 100% safe.

I'm not only worried about safety. It's very crowded for three people to ride a motorcycle. It's very uncomfortable. I just agreed to the boss's arrangement just now. I'm a little embarrassed. When he was embarrassed, Lao Yang said: go ahead, I'll sit behind you. Lao Yang is such a person. He always stands up at the critical moment and deserves to be a good member of the democratic revolutionary party!

In the middle of the car, the young man suddenly said that he would take us to his house for tea. Before we could react, the motorcycle quickly turned into the side road and arrived at his door five minutes later. As like as two peas, brother and brother, his brother lives in a house. His brother is also in charge of homestay. There are many messages on the wall. They are all printed and the contents are exactly the same as those on the innkeeper's walls. As we chatted over tea, the young man said that he wanted to come to China to learn Chinese. Let's help him inquire about Chinese schools in China, and hope that we can introduce some Chinese tourists to his home.

Just then, his brother came over with a stack of banknotes in his hand. He said that he loved collecting coins from various countries and asked if I could give him some RMB as a collection. I immediately understand what's going on, because I've seen similar experience on the Internet. Farmers here will ask tourists for money in the name of collecting coins. I said: no problem, I'll give you some Chinese coins! I didn't think that the goods turned over and said: I don't accept coins. You see, there are banknotes here. While talking, I poked the money in my hand. I glanced at it. There was a 20 yuan and 50 yuan note in it. I scolded in my heart: which Chinese tourist is so careless?

At this time, he was quite disgusted with his brother and said patiently: sorry, I only have large notes and some coins. If you really want to collect them, I can give them to you. The boy grinned and leaned forward, saying: then you can give me a large bill! well! I've never seen such a shameless face before. My face sank and I said in front of his family: I won't give you a cent. At this time, the atmosphere has been quite embarrassing, the young man quickly came to make ends meet, said his brother is joking, that silly fork also bitterly said it was a joke. Ha ha, the farmers of kajuraho are not simple!

After visiting the East Temple and the South Temple, it was noon. Three people were going back to the hotel for lunch on their motorcycles. They said they would stop by to see their friends. I said no problem. When the car came to a big iron gate, there was a thumping sound. When we went in, it turned out to be a stone carving workshop. The guy pretended that it was the best hand carving in the local area, and then called us into a small gate. Ha ha, I know there's another moth. Sure, it's a handicraft shop in front of and behind the shop, and the shop owner is waiting for us.

After some greetings, the shopkeeper showed us around the various stone carvings in the shop. First, he came to the exhibition room with large stone carvings and said that they could be packed and consigned. Seeing that we didn't respond, he took me to a small room and took out some so-called antique statues from the drawer. Lao Yang and I were still indifferent. Finally, he led us to the front counter, There are all kinds of carving gadgets and tourist souvenirs in it. The shopkeeper said quietly: you have to buy something, don't you? At this time, my patience was exhausted. I went out of the shop and said to the guy: listen, we only go to the temple, don't go shopping, don't visit home, don't go to places outside the plan, do you understand?

In the afternoon, the focus is on the West Temple group, which is also the core part of kajuraho. It should be said that the young man is very experienced in the time arrangement. The best time to visit the West Temple group is in the afternoon. All kinds of figures and animal statues in the temple are ready to appear in the sun, and the West Temple group in the setting sun is gorgeous.

Lao Yang and I spent an afternoon in it. When we came out, the lights of the shops on the street were already on. Ximiaoqun is located in the most bustling area of the village. There are many good restaurants here. We wanted to taste the local food in the evening, but suddenly we thought that we had to go back to the hotel for dinner. At this time, I realized that this seemingly honest innkeeper was not so smart, His one-stop service makes us have no choice but to consume all of them in his home. The so-called "fat and water do not flow to other people's fields". The farmers in kajuraho are really not simple!

Dinner is as simple as lunch in India. After dinner, the boss took out a piece of white paper and handed it to Lao Yang, saying that he wanted to write a Chinese message and paste it on the wall of the inn. Lao Yang couldn't help but write a few polite words. The boss pasted the message on the wall and took a wild picture with his mobile phone. The guy standing next to him also took a few pictures quietly. I don't know if he would print it and post it on the wall of his house, Then the boss asked Lao Yang to take out his mobile phone and write good comments on TripAdvisor. Ha ha, I can understand why TripAdvisor is so bad. That's how good comments come from!

After packing and going to the station, the boss said with a guilty face: sorry, I didn't get the car, so I can only let you take the Tutu train to the railway station. Look out the door again. The car was waiting at the door in the morning. What else can I say? Let's go!

Kajuraho's farmers are not simple!

(5) Varanasi

After a quiet night, Varanasi was shrouded in a mist in the early morning. The water vapor rolled slowly on the Ganges River. There were few pedestrians on the river altar. There was a tranquility all around. Occasionally, a low voice came from the river. This was the sound from the stone house on the bank. The practitioners had begun to take a morning bath to prepare for the sunrise of the Ganges River.

The sunrise in winter is not so warm. The weak sunlight passes through the morning fog. Many local people gather along the Ganges River. Bathing and praying in the morning are their required courses.

As the mist cleared away, the hanging sun blinded people. The sun baked the stone slabs on the bank, reflecting waves of heat. The air gradually became hot. During the day, Varanasi was hot and restless.

Among the people who came from all over the world, there were people with families, old and young, friends and colleagues. It was one of the three long cherished wishes of Hindus to come to the Ganges river for a holy bath.

The boatmen yelled hard to solicit business. Small wooden boats with tourists drove away from the shore, and waterbirds chased the waves behind them. Vendors also began a busy day, selling tea, snacks, souvenirs, paintings, massage, cinnabar, fortune tellers, forced to buy road money, Varanasi is a big bazaar.

Walking along the bank, I see the colorful sadhu from time to time. I can't tell whether they are really practicing or acting in friendship. Some of them sit idly in the shacks and stir up a pot of vegetable porridge all day long. Some of them sit in a corner and show various shapes to tourists. Some of them even take the initiative to attack. When they meet with tourists, they ask: do you want to take a picture?

If you see the Western faces in the coffee shop, you don't need to be surprised. They have been in India for more than ten years and regard themselves as sadhu. In the morning, they will sit on the Bank of the river and receive people's alms. In the afternoon, they will go to the coffee shop to enjoy delicious cakes and afternoon tea.

If you see the red Lama turning the Sutra wheel on the mound of manikanica to pass the dead for the dead Hindus, you don't need to be surprised. There is no limit to the mixing of Varanasi, just like Hinduism, which embraces all gods. It doesn't matter what religion he believes, what Dharma he practices or what mantra he chants. It's important to understand what the present is, That's right. It's the magic of Varanasi that attracts people all over the world who are looking for answers to life.

North across the manikanica River altar, far from the temple of burning corpses, there is an open platform. Every afternoon, it will become a mini cricket court, attracting young people nearby to play. There is no sadhu, no burning corpse, no vendors, no mix and match, there is a lot of joy and vitality.

Beyond the corpse burning place in the south, you can come to the Axi River altar at the southernmost end. Not far from the river altar is Varanasi's cruise ship wharf. Large and small cruise ships carrying groups of tourists slowly leave the wharf. On the muddy beach, there are children playing and running, and on the chairs of the river altar, there are rows of lovers. This is Varanasi's paradise.

Walking through the labyrinth of alleys in Varanasi, looking at the backpackers, restaurants and inns on the street, it seems that there is a trace of Lijiang. The old Varanasi has become a mecca for petty bourgeoisie and literary youth to punch in. The difference is that the alleys here are narrower, there is more dung on the ground, the smell in the air is stronger, and there are monkey gods on the roof.

As night falls, the Ganges river bank is washed away. The sacrificial platform is covered with bright red carpet and decorated with high arch columns decorated with colored lights. The platform is full of people. This is the "Ganges night sacrifice" every night.

After living in Varanasi for a week, I watched four night festivals in succession. On the first day, I felt amazing. On the second day, I was amazed. On the third and fourth day, I was only dull. The same singing, the same posture, the same process, 360 days cycle, the difference is the strange faces around and the believers, Varanasi at night is a big stage.

The river altar in the late night is dark and humid. The crowd watching the night sacrifice has already dispersed. There are idle people walking in twos and threes on the embankment. The shadows on the wall are as charming as ghosts under the projection of street lamps, and the air is mixed with a strong smell of scorch.

If you are tired of staying in Varanasi, you can charter a car to Luyeyuan not far away. Luyeyuan is the place where Sakyamuni first turned the Falun to preach to five waiters after he became a Buddha. Now there are only ruins. The simple gate cuts off the noise of the road, and the courtyard is surprisingly quiet. The ochre red temple base is solemn and peaceful against the fresh green grass. Slow down, breathe long, and the heart beats slowly. Listen to the whisper of the wind caressing the branches, wander between nothingness and reality, and feel the ultimate emptiness of selflessness.

Varanasi, God like past, enigmatic present, unpredictable future.

(6) Calcutta

Varanasi station is the most chaotic platform I have ever seen. For some reason, all the electronic screens are in a black screen state, and the information about the train number is broadcast through the radio. Because I believe too much in the mobile app, I didn't pay attention to the radio. It was only a few minutes before driving that I found out that my shuttle bus temporarily changed from platform 4 to platform 1 and ran all the way with an 18 kg backpack, I made mistakes in my busy schedule and ran in the wrong direction to the rear of the train. My AC3 was near the front of the train. The whole train had 20 cars, so I turned back and said it was running. In fact, I swayed forward with two feet. As soon as my front feet stepped into the car, the train started.

He found his own berth and put down his luggage. He was soaked all over. He collapsed on the berth for a long time before he recovered. He secretly congratulated himself that he had not missed the train, because Lao Yang had lived in Varanasi for two days, and then went to Gaye and lamka. According to the plan, we would meet at Calcutta railway station tomorrow morning. If we missed the train today, our later journey would be affected, How lucky!

As soon as I relaxed, I felt cramped. I locked my luggage and ran to the toilet with the roll paper. Yesterday in caf é After eating an ice cream, I didn't want to suffer from diarrhea all night. The antidiarrheal medicine I brought didn't work at all. In order to get on the train at night, I didn't eat and drink much during the day. After such a toss, my stomach began to feel uncomfortable again.

The toilet of AC3 is clean and spacious. For the convenience of going to the toilet, I took my wallet out of my trouser pocket and put it into my passport bag. There is a problem with the connection design of the train carriage in India. When the train is running, the shaking is very big. Squatting in the toilet, people shake back and forth with the carriage. Sometimes the impact force at the connection of the carriage is enough to make people bounce up. Holding the handrail firmly with their hands, they think, fortunately, they just put their wallet into the passport bag, subconsciously looked down at the bedpan and fork! Isn't this my wallet? I couldn't help taking a breath and quickly picked up my wallet. It turned out that I had just carelessly put it in the middle of the interlayer of my passport bag. Due to the violent shaking of the train, my wallet was shaken out, and all my cash and credit cards were in it. If I lost it, the consequences would be unimaginable. I was afraid, and I was sweating all over. I went back to my shop sleepless and had no sleep.

In the morning, the train arrived at Calcutta on time. As soon as it got off the train, it felt a heat wave. It was a typical hot and humid weather in southern India. I found Lao Yang at the station. After a night's train ride, they were tired and hungry. Their thick clothes were even worse in the hot sun. I searched a KFC nearby with Google map, and decided to go there for breakfast first, then change into light clothes, and then go to the hotel.

After a two-day rest in Calcutta, I was extremely tired due to diarrhea for several days, so I didn't bother to take out my camera. I took photos with my mobile phone all the way. Because people were not in the state at all, I had little impression of the city. I only remember that I did three things in Calcutta

1) He followed Lao Yang to visit the Victoria Memorial and St. Paul's Cathedral.

2) Lao Yang treated his guests to a 3000 rupee dinner, which was also the most luxurious meal on his trip to India.

3) It took a lot of effort to buy Airtel phone card, so Lao Yang could use Airtel's mobile wifi to get online. The owner of Varanasi Inn helped to buy the mobile wifi.

(7) Darjeeling

I went to Darjeeling to experience the only narrow gauge train left in India. It was more than 9 am when I came out of new Jalpaiguri station. Fortunately, as soon as I got out of the station, I met a return taxi and offered a surprise price of 2000 rupees. Without saying a word, I packed my luggage into the trunk and urged the taxi to go on the road.

The road from new Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling is not easy to drive. The mountain road is narrow, with cliffs on one side. There are countless zigzag turns on the road. When meeting, drivers on one side have to stop and give way. There are too many vehicles on some sections, so the two sides can only stagger in batches. Our driver is very familiar with the terrain. The car runs like clouds and flowing water on the mountain road. Every time it rotates at a large angle, the speed does not decrease at all. Under the action of centrifugal force, people are quickly thrown to the side of the car, and their heart beats faster. Adrenaline surges. Lao Yang and I are both enjoying it. The car keeps overtaking the car in front of us, An hour later, the other uphill vehicles were far behind.

The air in the mountains is very clean. When you look up from afar, you can see the endless mountains and the lush vegetation around them. The mountains are constantly changing in the sunlight, just like a dynamic painting. People are in the car, and the road seems to be winding. At the end of the road, you don't want to see another mountain. Every turn is a beautiful scenery, It's amazing.

The weather here is changeable. Just now, it was still blue sky and white clouds. When we arrived at the top of the mountain, suddenly a heavy rain hit us. The rain was accompanied by hail, and the windows crackled. The temperature in Darjeeling is relatively low, especially on rainy days. When we arrived at the hotel, we put all our thick clothes on our bodies. The room in our hotel was not big and a little damp. One of the small windows was still an open ventilation window. We quickly found adhesive tape to seal it, added an extra 400 rupees and rented a small heater, so the room was warmer.

It's late to settle down. I went out to the night market with Lao Yang in the rain. There are not many tourists in Darjeeling, and the commercial street is cold and clear on rainy days. First, I went to a drugstore to buy antidiarrheal medicine. The clerk took out a plate of capsules from the counter and said that two capsules would work. I bought a plate of 10 capsules in total. They all said that India's "miracle medicine" worked well. It really deserved the reputation. I only took one capsule to stop my diarrhea.

When we finished shopping and bought tea, the street was dark, and most of the restaurants had already closed. They managed to find a restaurant with a small facade, but there was a hole in it when they pushed in. The store was very busy, most of them were local diners. The four chefs were very busy on the four gas stoves, and the food prices were very low. No wonder they were so popular, They each asked for two portions of fried noodles and Nanyin cakes, and they were satisfied.

The next morning, I arrived at Darjeeling station on time. A few cars and diesel engines were parked in a small station. Because there were so few passengers, the original four car train was changed into three cars. A few minutes later, the train sloshed out of Darjeeling station.

The train runs slowly along the mountain road, sometimes in the woods, sometimes in the streets, parallel with cars, sometimes passing through the market. The narrow part of the road can only brush past the roadside branches and walls. The residents and shops on both sides have been used to it for a long time. However, the children are still happy to see the fire truck, and occasionally see the Chartered tourists who follow the camera all the way, Narrow gauge train is a beautiful scenery in Darjeeling.

The train stops at several small stations along the road. The decoration of the station is old-fashioned and exquisite, and the shadow of the British colonial period can be seen. As the driver often needs to stop to clear the obstacles on both sides of the rail, the train has to start and stop until it arrives at new Jalpaiguri. Because the train can not enter the station late, it can only stop at a farmer's market for standby. The original 8-hour drive has actually started for 10 hours, which has become the practice of narrow gauge trains.

In India, it is often said that a train is not late if it is a few hours late, but a whole day late.

(8) Gaohati Kaziranga tispur barukpang

As planned, we will go to three unopened states in the Northeast: arunacha, Nagaland and Manipur. Before departure, we contacted the Indian Embassy in China by telephone to inquire about the application for travel permits in these three regions, but there was no result. So I wrote to the Ministry of the interior of India. The Foreign Affairs Management Office of the Ministry of the interior is the competent unit of the travel permit. After a round of mail in the Ministry of the interior, I couldn't find a specific agent. After repeated questioning, one of the staff sent a 2018 version of rap / PAP Application guide.

According to the application guide, Chinese tourists are included in the restricted list in these three states. Although they are not prohibited, the application approval process is extremely cumbersome and the cycle is very long. The key is that there is little chance of being approved. This is also confirmed by the information provided by the landlord in New Delhi. According to the landlord, if Chinese tourists plan to go to the above three states, The application needs to be submitted in person at the Ministry of the interior in New Delhi, and the waiting time is at least one month.

We also carefully studied the rap / PA

  • Bin Xu
  • May 22,2021

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