A Travellerspoint blog



Holi Festival, Mathura

sunny 28 °C

As we settle further into the way of life in India it seems to get easier. The culture shock is gone, the fear and uncertainty of all things different is gone and the anxiety is gone. We spent the week-end in a town about three hours from New Delhi called Mathura. Mathura could almost be classed as little more than a small town by Indian standards with roughly one and a half million people but what makes it different is they celebrate Holi festival like no other. Holi is the reason why we’re in India so the long trek and hassle was worth it. Holi is a Hindu Krishna celebration celebrating good over evil. It includes burning effigies, mad dancing, screaming music and drums and best of all, the colour. Coloured dyes are thrown at you or wiped on you with a good hearted “Happy Holi” The local people celebrate Holi over two days and it’s a time when all are considered equal. It is a celebration of love and a time for more reserved Indians to cut loose. They will spray coloured water, some drink alcohol, take some kind of narcotics and generally celebrate like its 1999. The Indian people welcomed us with open arms and especially our hotel manager who was our guide and protector for the first night. Some Indian men can get a bit frisky and it seemed we all came in for a little bit of unwanted attention. It is not typical and is mostly caused by the celebration and the high. The following day we headed down to the Krishna temple and decided it might be a little dangerous for Patti inside so we stayed on the street and once again got covered in colour. The kindness really is overflowing and a great time was had by all. Let me say the kindness doesn’t extend to the cyclo riders or the Tuk Tuk’s, they still charge a foreigner double. Living in Muthura for a couple of days was pretty hard travelling. Matt picked up another bug and was unwell. It’s not the kind of place that has corner shops, it doesn’t have footpaths. The dust is ever present and moving around was difficult.
A week in India feels like a month. It has been more difficult for Patti because of a lot of unwanted attention. There is lot of staring and invading of personal space and we have found that we’ve had to give the odd gentle nudge to a few more persistent admirers. It has be hilarious on occasion with people openly taking photos of us or wanting us to be in their photo. Matt and I were chatting to a couple of English travellers on a train platform and we found ourselves surrounded by about twenty curious Indians.
We all had a massive laugh after catching the wrong train back to New Delhi we stepped into what can only be described as a madhouse with anything from cows walking on the platforms, beggars, cripples, artificial limbs, people sleeping, living, urinating, cooking, yelling, screaming aggghhhh! We stepped out into the grand bazaar and I genuinely meant it when I said it was good to be back. That’s when I knew India had gotten under my skin. We quickly found our hotel had something to eat and while Patti and I wandered the inner bowels of the bazaar, the boys hired a Tuk Tuk and went in search of a park to hit a shuttlecock around. While Patti and I had a glass of tea and watched the craziness from a café the boys decided they’d forgo the ride home in a Tuk Tuk for a McFlurry. Nothing like a walk in the heat and dust. Can’t help a Mac attack. Andiamo

Hi All
India has been amazing; I love the colour and exotic looks of the Indian women. The saris and dresses of the women are very colourful and it seems that despite their status in society anyone can wear beautiful materials. There does seem to be a definite class system ranging from very poor beggars and ragged children on the streets to more wealthy people who drive cars, children who have braces, wear glasses and are obviously well educated. The people with less appear to be more tribal in appearance, with darker skin colouring than the more educated people. I don’t know how easy it is for someone to break out of his or her class situation. The Indian people are very interested in tourists, when you bring out a camera or the laptop they immediately come over to look and are very curious to see photos of themselves or to ask about where we come from and to see photos from Australia. I wish that I had put more photos from home on the computer.
I think that Brenton and Matt have had their eyes opened a lot to how little some people have in life. Brenton has a very soft heart and to see children begging in ragged clothing on the streets has touched him. The disabled people that he has seen on the streets also have touched Matt. It is very hard not to give to everyone who needs it.
Well I have to talk a little on the cows of India. They really are very sacred. They are allowed to wander wherever they wish to go. They walk through the main bazaar, poke their heads into stalls, one decided that it liked the colour of a scarf yesterday and tried hooking it with its horns. They walk along the streets, up ramps onto the train platforms and through the middle of crowds of people and you never hear a harsh word to get rid of them. They were untouched by coloured powder and water through the Holi Festival, unlike some of the dogs. I don’t know if they are owned by anyone in particular but they are truly respected by all.
I loved our visit to the Taj Mahal and the Baby Taj, the work involved in both place was amazing. Each place had different things to offer. They both are works of art, the Baby Taj has some lovely hand painted panels within the marble as well as inlaid marble work, whereas the Taj Mahal’s sheer size and intricacy is fantastic.

Posted by mike1967 01:06 Archived in India Comments (1)

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