Friday, July 1, 2011

Volunteer Visits Jaipur!

Last night, I just came back from a trip with my host family to Jaipur, known as the famous "Pink City" in Rajasthan, a popular tourist destination! The family had to go because of some work in Jaipur, so they invited me to come along with them. Upon arriving in Jaipur, we all stopped at Amber Fort, one of the major sites in the city. This site was the most interesting of any other we had seen, as we got a chance to see what the lives of kings and queens of India were like centuries ago. The fort was beautifully decorated, with plenty of interesting features to it: Several areas had been architecturally designed so as a windy breeze could reach an area where people would sit and relax; the water that would circulate the palace would collect so that it could be redistributed and sent to gardens over and over; there were passageways that were built so that a chair on wheels could climb a flight of stairs (see picture). Seeing that such an aged structure had even had areas that were wheelchair accessible was a stark contrast to the normal planning we see in urban areas, as they are usually highly restrictive for differently-abled individuals. After we climbed to the top, we were at an area reserved for the queen to observe the commoners below her: Though the area was inexplicably decorative, time and people have demolished the beauty in one portion of the area. Notice in the second picture, how the upper-left side of the photo was carved from marble, while the right side had graffiti and inappropriate scribbles on the wall. When I discussed this with the Ek Koshish team, we all agreed that it was a shame to see such a proud symbol of Indian culture ravaged by careless people. Ek Koshish truly hopes to preserve and spread awareness about Indian culture for everyone to appreciate, and they would like to convey the message to everyone to consider how to maintain our precious culture each and every day. Another eyesore for us to witness, and capture on film, was this picture of a little bird by, what appears to be, a birdbath, with trash around and even in the birdbath. We should all be very conscientious that each and every action we take could have an effect on the most helpless of animals, and we should respect our environment. Even when we were enjoying our trip to this new city in India, these images lingered in our minds, as we want to make an attempt to make a difference and reverse the negative trends we see every day. Otherwise, the rest of the trip was great, as we visited two famous Hindu temples, "Birla Mandir" (depicted below) and "Ganesh ji ka Mandir," (where "Birla Mandir" means "Birla [a name] temple" and "Ganesh ji ka mandir" means "Ganesh's temple" in Hindi), City Palace, Jantar Mantar (an ancient site where Hindus used manmade structures to calculate astrological and astronomical phenomena), and even the Crystal Palm movie theater, to watch "Transformers 3" in Hindi (an interesting experience, nonetheless)! It was overall a really great trip, and I look forward to the next trip I take here while I volunteer with Ek Koshish!

1 comment: