This was a day best told in photographs.
Today’s tour was optional; we weren’t sure why. Perhaps some folks who just flew in might prefer to spend the day lazing by the pool in the spectacular resort. The tour went to the town of a thousand temples, which actually has a little over a hundred. We know that many more temples are in our future. That pool looked tempting. But more experienced OAT travelers advised us that such tours always end up including much more. How right they were.
For us the highlight was a truck ride through a small town busy with people shopping and enjoying Sunday. We stood in the back of the truck; we’ve seen agricultural workers travel this way all over the world. As we rode we became the center of attention. White people aren’t seen every day around here. Motorcyces, tuk tuks, and bikes swirled around us. At one point we totally got stuck inthe gridlock of a double parked rice truck and a tractor pulling a wagon. People looked at us and smiled, When we smile back they gave us this little distinctive Indian head bob, which is a cross between “yes and no.” When we bobbed back they smiled again. People here enjoy being photographed and they want nothing for it. We understand that when we go to northern India after the photo the hand will come out.
The temples were interesting. We took off our shoes and walked between a complex of buildings. We could only go so far. The inner sanctums were Hindu only. A priest gave me a blessing by rubbing red dye on my forehead. I went around the rest of the day looking like someone shot me. An Indian women pointed at her forehead and gave me the "OK" sign.
The final stop was a silk shop. Making wedding saris is a huge industry here. The government has banned the use of weaving machines, thus saving 50,000 jobs. Many weavers work at home and are paid by the piece. Special gold tread is used, giving an amazing luster. It can take two months to weave one and they are handed down from mother to daugher.