Pumping water - a daily affair
While travelling through the villagers around Bangalore's outskirts, we saw this scene many times over.
Pumping water from a bore well, that a few villages share, and then carrying the water back to one's respective homes -- this is a daily affair in India's rural settings (this means anything from 20 min out of town to 2 hrs out).
Children and women are seen carrying water --- geez, what are the men doing?
[Aside: in confidence, I'll share that through many village centres, as we passed through, we saw men sitting around, standing at coffee shops, near the fruit selllers -- doing err, like hanging around and talking. It was an observation made by many travellers.]
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The Indian Hindu greeting is to fold the hands and tilt the head forward to namaste. Indian women prefer not to shake hands. All visitors are asked to remove footwear when entering places of religious worship. The majority of Indians remove their footwear when entering their houses. Because of strict religious and social customs, visitors must show particular respect when visiting someone's home. Many Hindus are vegetarian and many, especially women, do not drink alcohol. Sikhs and Parsees do not smoke. Small gifts are acceptable as tokens of gratitude for hospitality. Women are expected to dress modestly. Short skirts and tight or revealing clothing should not be worn, even on beaches. Businesspeople are not expected to dress formally except for meetings and social functions. English-speaking guides are available at fixed charges at all important tourist centres. Guides speaking French, Italian, Spanish, German, Russian or Japanese are available in some cities. Consult the nearest Government of India Tourist Office. Unapproved guides are not permitted to enter protected monuments. Tourists are advised to ask for guides with certificates from the Ministry of Tourism or the Government of India Tourist Office (see address section). Photography: Formalities mainly concern protected monuments and the wildlife sanctuaries. Special permission of the Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi, is necessary for the use of tripod and artificial light to photograph monuments. Photographs of the wildlife sanctuaries are allowed on payment of a prescribed fee which varies. Contact the nearest Government of India Tourist Office. Tipping: Taxis and restaurants do not expect to be tipped however hotel and airport porters should be tipped around 20 rupees, and guides and drivers 100 rupees per day where service is not included.
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Accessibility to drinking water is often an issue of walking distance in indian villages.
This village of Doda Aramakanalli (west of Bangalore, near the Kolar gold fields) had an array of colourfully-sari-clad women balancing, among other things, water on their heads.
Sometimes they end up wlaking about an hour to and from the water source. More wells are being dug to allow for tapped water to be made accessible to these village areas around Bangalore.
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When we visited, there was an annual groundnut fair taking place. All along the road were stalls selling nuts, spices and other snakc, as well as small gifts and nick nacks. We stopped and tasted various delicacies without having the faintest idea of what we were eating. Mostly it was good. We caused quite a stir in the market, and had a small group of children following us after a while. We were the only westerners there, which was probably the reason.
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If you are willing to splurge a little, very good value for money with silver jewelry with inlaid semi precious stones could be had.
also it is such a pleasure to look at all these, hundreds of them and then try to bargain a few rupees, a pleasure in itself, for those of us arising out of mercantile traditions.
Where it all began...
When visiting Belur, the old guide was very proud to remind us that the Kama Sutra was written in India and the knowledge transmitted throughout the generation...
Then he showed me this sculpture on a part of the temple...
No forks or knives
In India, you eat with your fingers. This is what the nan or roti you are served with the meal is here for: to use as a wrap and help you pick up the food. It can be fairly challenging for Westerners who are used to a fork and knife, especially if you have a dish with a particularly creamy sauce. The people I was with had a lot of fun trying to get me to eat with my fingers and witnessing the utter mess I made. They eventually took pity and found me a spoon. So, rehearse your eating skills before you go. If you get really proficient, you might even manage to eat a meal that comes with rice instead of bread without leaving a creamy battlefield behind you on the table.
an excellent website full of information
On a recent 24 hour stay in India, i came across this website recommended in one of the magazines: www.kamat.com done by a family from Bangalore who have painstakingly put together old and new pictures and informaton otherwise unavailable to the foreign readers.
i thoroughly enjoyed reading about the various tribal peoples of india
Izman the street vendor of jewelry
If you do go to Commercial Street area and along the second cross there is a moslem boy who sells or assists in selling custom jewelry by the road side. i bought some things for cuba from him and on my second visit to the tailors SS Tailors next door, he called me over.. you are my customer now and i will give you discount! he turned out to be a very sweet boy and i told him, i will pay you as much as you want for these items, ask me. still he asked me for very modest sums which i was happy to give him. Of course, Fidel's face rose inside me, that made me say: be a good student, study hard and get out of the road but run a nice business perhaps with some IT nerds in an air conditioned office. his smile was precious.
an evening at the movies
Going to the movies is a good introduction of the current cultural scene in Bangalore.. it is the bazaar to show off your newly acquired westerness.. what a great irony.. europeans dress like indians and the indians dress like the europeans..
but at the movie theatre shown here which is fairly expensive by local standards, you can see the up and coming elite of the city, and their pseudo american accents and put on frivolities.
more than once it becomes nauseating, but once it is good.
the movies dont matter, they are usually rubbish..
Touching Feet with Your Own Feet is a No-No
I'm not sure why (if anyone knows, please tell me) but if you accidentally touch your foot against another person's foot, they put their hand to their mouth (in a fist shape) and cross their mouth. They also mumble something under their breath. I've also had this happen when a friend and I were talking, and a Bangalorean friend interrupted our conversation, he said "Sorry" and crossed his mouth and mumbled something.
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If you are visiting any of the temples, please leave your footwear well outside the temple(most temples have designated places for the same), wash your feet and only then enter the temple.
We pay our obeisance by bowing to the deity, and we believe it is disrespectful to show one's back to the deity.
We walk around the deity thrice as we pray for proposerity but always circle the god from left to right and not the other way round.
Some edible food/sweet is given away as 'prashadham' which is food offered to the god and later distributed to the worshippers in the belief that god has tasted that food. So if you do not wish to eat the same, please do not collect it at all. Do not throw away the same as it is quite shocking for us to see something like that!
Always ask for permission before getting to closwe to the deity, it is allowed in some temples, but others, mostly in the south do not permit us touching the deity
Do not carry water bottles into Jain temples. They do not allow the same in.
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Eating with our hands
Do not be surprised if you walk into a restaurant and order food and they serve it without any cutlery, we in India are very used to eating with our hands. However most hotels will give you the same if you request for it. But Indian food is meant to be eaten without knives, forks and spoons. Eating rasam rice can never be as much fun if the same is done with a spoon.
Also some restaurants will serve food on a plantain leaf as this is healthy and adds iron content to the food with is good to combat anaemia. Wash the leaf with bottled water to be safe about the same.
Many relegions can be found in...
Many relegions can be found in India. Hinduïsm, Buddhism and Islam are the religions here. Hinduïsm and Buddhism are the most used religions in this parts of India. Whatever you do, respect that other people have these religions and just listen interested to the stories, you will love the beautiful stories and believes by the way :)
Visveswaraya's Industrial &...
Visveswaraya's Industrial & Technological Museum :
See an unconnected tubelight glow, actually watch your voices as you speak, learn how to make motion pictures, paper and burglar alarms. These are just some of the fascinating aspects of a museum that is a wonderland of information about the marvels of science.
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