India (GOA, Ponda, Karnataka)
This is my second trip to India, the first was four years ago and had a very different character. But step by step. I packed my clothers on gloomy December evening, I took a minimum of things with me in this trip. The departure was too late at night, flight time of about 7 and a half hours. I really sleep all the time and tired a little bit. We meet the morning in India. The plane lands at a military airport and minibase carry the sleepy tourists on hotels. An old bus on a bumpy narrow lanes of South GOA. Drive on left, trotation is not in sight, and it is unclear how one street manage to move buses, cars, motorbikes, cyclists and pedestrians! On top of that someone rapidly crosses the street, weaving between the counter flows. As noted by one of the tourists: “Driving in Moscow in comparison with a trip to GOA — it’s just kindergarten!”
The sleepy hotel welcomes tourists with flowers and smiles. Smile at everything — from bus driver to security guard and an administrator at the reception. Housing two-storey, reminiscent of buildings in colonial style. Everything is buried in flowers and greenery.
I quickly unpack and run to explore the area. The sea is very close, it is just two hundred metres. Geographically GOA by the Arabian sea, but because it is open source, it is assumed that to the white beaches of roll waves of the Indian ocean. The sand is white and very fine, it crunches under your feet as starch!
And near a piece of real jungle!
The first tour — the temples of old GOA and Panaji, and then visited the spice plantations. We leave early in the morning, still not hot and the breeze gently rustling through the leaves of coconut palms.
The nearest major town is Margao, here you can find the train station, which has trains going in other States — the pond and Kerala. India is a multiethnic and multilingual country. There are more than 200 languages, of which 86 — state. Children in school must learn four languages, including Hindi and English. The other two languages are the languages of this state and County. Passing the block buildings is the first multi-storeyed home.
First stop — the current Hindu temple of Mahalsa. The entrance to the temple.
In the temple are many buildings. Including a mandatory element of any Hindu temple is a light tower. Edge it facilities for pilgrims, of which there are a great many.
Light tower (completely hollow inside) — got its name due to the fact that inside each window the candle is lit. And in the dark looks like a huge light pole, woven from a variety of lights.
The temple is valid, i.e. it holds regular services. And pilgrims come here from all States and can spend from several days to several weeks.
The entrance inside the temple is permitted only without shoes. In a pinch you can log in to the socks, the shoes on special reserve shelves in the street. Nearly every temple has a pond for ablutions. At the entrance to the temple sold flower garlands, fruits, flowers Lotus. You cannot come to the temple without offerings! You give the brahmin brought gifts, and always with the right hand, the same hand he fills you with Holy water.
Sale of flowers and fruits at the entrance to the temple. By the way, in Karnataka, there are special fields where they cultivate flowers for decoration of homes and temples. Blossoms strung on a thread and make yellow-orange garlands.
Amulets in the form of Ganesha, he of the elephant head. Can’t resist from buying the shells in your collection.
Leave the sun temple of Mahalsa and go to the plantation for growing spices. At the entrance visitors are greeted dancing girls in national costumes, are like exotic flowers or little birds of Paradise.
On plantations cultivated a huge amount of spices. The total area planted over 150 hectares, tourists spend only a dedicated parts and show how to grow vanilla and cocoa, cashew nuts and coffee, cloves and curry. Indians use many spices in cooking. The most important national dish Fish carry and rise prepared using a mixture of curry and many other spices (massala carry). In India even there is a special kind of tea Massala tea, i.e. tea with spices. In combination with honey this tea is very quickly helps to get rid of a cold!
Before you explore the plantations, tourists will have the fruit breakfast.
The plantation is a real kingdom of vegetation, various paints, colors and smells!
There are 5 themselves expensive spices – saffron, vanilla, cloves, cinnamon and koreandr. All of the above spices grown in India except the saffron — climate not suitable for growing this plant. But the flowers of vanilla are pollinated by hand — pollination of work on women and children. The fact that the plant was imported into India and successfully caught it, but the insects involved in pollination are not available. So we have hard-working Indian women to do it with her own delicate hands.
After the tour our guide offers tourists to ride on elephants. Indian elephants are not as friendly as Thai, so the driver is always next to you. Adult elephants saw off the ends of the tusks in order to avoid possible misunderstandings.