January 21, 2020 : Step Wells, Nomads and a Sun Temple
We visit two incredible step wells today that are the finest examples of the subterranean architecture of Gujarat. These underground ornamented wells offered places for people to gather and gossip and connect with their gods in the cool shade.
Another architectural marvel we see today is the Sun Temple in Modhera. They are installing lots of lights for a music / dance / light show tonight. Throngs of colorful groups are arriving (see above).
As we are driving we notice a group of nomadic Rabari camped beside the road. We stop the bus and have an amazing interaction with them. You can’t plan these sorts of things in advance, but they happen all the time during trips to India – you just have to seize every opportunity that presents itself.
A common sight as you drive in India – herds of animals moving from pasture to pasture. These often result in huge traffic jams around villages.
Work it! It works! (Seen while descending into the step well.)
At our first step well today. Such ornate carvings – you could spend the entire day studying them. This is simply a niche seen on the way down.
Ross has finally found his niche!
Looking across one level as the stairs take us lower into the step well.
Looking up from the bottom of the well – the camera can’t get all the levels without taking a panorama shot.
People have been known to climb out on ledges and end their lives jumping into the well. These are to keep people off the ledges.
Ornamentation in the step well.
Excited school children waving to us from the top of the well. They don’t encounter many foreigners here.
The step well is also a great place for a romantic photo shoot.
Visitors to the step well from Rajasthan.
This Rajasthani woman is simply stunning!
Looking down into the step well through the protective grate preventing people from falling (or jumping) in.
Rabari man encountered along the road.
Approaching the nomadic group in the field. At first they are not welcoming, but our guide smoothes the way for our visit.
I asked our guide if this boy was dying his hair, and the guide said this is natural after interaction with sun and dust and the hair’s pigmentation.
Watch the hands on the hips! That’s how I got started! (LOL)
Two Rabari tribe members – one Gujarati and one Rajasthani.
Woman milking a goat. I had some of this goat milk in the masala chai they offered me! Yummy!
These fine gentlemen are all out standing in their field!
Woman washing dishes for the families.
Bath time! I love how the older baby is helping wash hair.
Such amazing garments and jewelry, and such style and grace. In former days, the white wrist band would have been made of ivory. Notice the heavy earrings.
I’m not sure I could stop and be sociable and shake out a rug too if I were carrying this much on my head.
Several of the shepherds shearing a sheep. It looks lifeless, but the guy in the foreground has his foot on its neck, so it is totally immobilized.
Before we say goodbye to the nomads, this camel arrives dragging a cart. Look at the tattoos on the jowls, shoulders and rump. There are more on the neck.
Arriving at the Sun Temple in Modhera.
There is a huge pond or well in front of the temple. This view from the temple shows the seats and preparations for tonight’s musical / dance / light show.
Some of the detailed carvings on this amazing temple dating back to the early 11th century.
Like the temples in Khajuraho, many of the carvings are a bit naughty. This one is fairly tame – showing a woman giving birth with her friends and family lending support. I’m not sure, but there might be a little something naughty going on over on the left side of the panel.
Dazzling Rajasthani women arriving at the Sun Temple in Modhera.
And, of course, the group asking me for a selfie. My price for a pic with me is a pic of them!
And I couldn’t resist taking this bunch on a motorbike. Too cute!
Near the town of Patan we visit another step well, with quite a different design but equally astonishing beauty.
Detail of the Queen’s Step Well near Patan.
Another detailed image from the Queen’s Step Well.
I love these “load bearers.”
Dancers at our hotel before dinner tonight.