Today we returned to our lake view restaurant for breakfast; Eitan ordered pancakes and we have realized that in India their concept of a pancake is a crepe. Sarah got oatmeal, our first time seeing oatmeal on a menu in 3 months! Sarah unfortunately was feeling under the weather but she picked the perfect day to do so. We had booked the driver to take us to the not amazing Ranakpur Jain temple as a daytrip. Even Eitan was feeling lazy to go (his FOMO somehow wasn’t there) but since we had already paid for the car and cancellations don’t go well here, we had to go. Well Sarah decided to use the day to rest and Eitan went to the temple by himself, what a martyr he is.
The drive was 2 hours each way on a very windy road. This Jain temple is known to be the most beautiful of them. It is nice, but absolutely nothing better (just size) than all the other 125,049,023,298 temples we had visited in our last 4 weeks in India. Also, this temple administration was so greedy they charge you for absolutely everything: starting with a crazy overprize ticket fee… ooh you want to take a piss? Pay extra… ooh you want to take photos? Pay extra… ooooh you want video? Gimme more rupees… you want to park close to the temple and not walk 5 miles in the extreme heat? More rupees please… ooh you can’t bring a backpack or carry a water bottle, please put in the locker, 10 rupees to use the locker. Seriously, India is testing my patience! When you constantly feel you are being abused, you just stop enjoying the visit and violent thoughts start clouding your mind… ooohmmmm!!
Local legend has it that Dharma Shah, a local Jain businessperson, started construction of the temple in the 15th century following a divine vision. The temple honors Adinath, the first Tirthankar and founder of the Jain religion.
The town of Ranakpur and the temple are named after the provincial ruler monarch, Rana Kumbha who supported the construction of the temple.
The temple, with its distinctive domes, shikhara, turrets and cupolas rises majestically from the slope of a hill. Over 1444 marble pillars, carved in exquisite detail, support the temple. The pillars are all differently carved and no two pillars are the same. It is also said that it is impossible to count the pillars. Also all the statues face one or the other statue.
I got out of this very uninteresting place pretty quick, I couldn’t even rent one of those “Please kill me now” audioguides they provide because I didn’t have my original passport with me to leave there as insurance. Seriously fellow travelers, how in hell do you dare to leave your passport there with a random Indian guy who doesn’t give a crap about it?
There is a little hill you can climb to see the whole temple from a distance. This is the best place for a picture and nobody was there. Perfect place to relax for a few minutes.
Sarah felt much better after napping for several hours and felt even better when she learned that Eitan wished he had been napping as well instead of going to the temple! We then walked to eat and ate at another roof top place with a nice view, we are loving the Udaipur lifestyle!
Eitan discovered that he loves these miniature paintings that they traditionally make here. We ended up buying one that has the scene of a couple during the procession to their honeymoon so we couldn’t resist! These amazing paintings take around 4 days to complete and the detail is astonishing… the price just around $10.
We found one of the famous Ghats (stairs) of the lake, we sat right there and watched the sunset next to many other couples, groups of creepy man, and other western tourists.
It was peaceful and beautiful to watch. We talked for a while with this super smart 13 year old kid with aspirations to be a hardware engineer, something new as every time we ask kids what they wanted to be when they grow up, they always say they want to open a restaurant or be a tour guide. Anyways, good for him as he will probably 99% sure will end up in America working for a tech gigant where he will have a great life (already the country he wants to visit first).
Some group of teenagers wanted a picture with us, but this time we asked them what are they going to be doing with the picture (we were truly curious, but never asked before); they said they are from a very small village and they are vacationing in Udaipur, they explained that there is absolutely no tourism from where they come, so we are actually a rarity for them (maybe first time they see white people), they just want a photo to remember the time they saw us. Also, posting that photo on Facebook gives them status with their friends in the same way we take photos with celebrities back home.
This city is truly stunning. We thought we didn’t have enough rooftop dinners so we walked around until we found another restaurant with a stunning view of the sunset; this led to a beer and dinner. It was a nice and relaxing evening. Our internet sucks here and Eitan’s laptop isn’t working so I have learned that if you put Eitan in a room with no technology he actually goes to sleep at a decent hour!
Bonus Video of The Day: Deciphering the Indian head shake has been a difficult task so we went to YouTube for help. This prefecture explains one of the struggles we are experiencing here.