Debasis (I have realized I haven’t explained who Debasis is! Debasis lived in the sustainable commune in Chico, Ca with me. He was a grad student from India and we happened to go to India at the same time) his best friend, his brother, and I all went to Konark the Sun God Temple. In my opinion it was more magnificent than the pyramids in Egypt. A little history of this place: It was completed about 1253 AD. The temple is created in the image of a chariot with 7 horses and 12 ornate wheels. What I was told by the locals, (don’t quote me on this, I haven’t researched the factst) when the British began exploring India, their compasses would go berserk. They discovered what they believed to be the world largest magnet sitting on top of the temple of Konark. The British decided to take the magnet and bring it back home with them, well, as soon as the magnet was removed the entire temple crumbled beneath it. The temple was constructed so that the magnet held the magnificent structure together. Therefore all that is left is the chariot for the large temple behind the chariot has been destroyed.
Its amazing to be a minority in a place when your so used to being the majority. The guys at his point had been treating my like a queen and buying all my tickets and they were excellent tour guides. When trying to buy tickets to enter the temple the natives paid somewhere around 10 rupees which amounts to only a few cents in the USA… well they wanted to charge me close to $20 to enter. There was no sign stating this was the price so the guys went in an uproar with the employee who began yelling and screaming at them and me and I kept trying to calm my friends down explaining although it’s not right to avoid conflict I would just pay the $20, but they wouldn’t have it. They almost denied my entry to see Konark but eventually they allowed me in with a difference from 10rs to 250rs ($5). I went in and all the natives were giving me the nastiest looks. It was painful experiencing serious discrimination for being white…it’s been esp. hard in Orissa I think because again I haven’t seen a single white person besides my self. There is also a lot of religious conflict with the other religions against Christians in this state and there has been so much persecution, burning of towns, and murders.( hence the large amount of children rescued and brought to the children’s home I will be working at in Chennai, from Orissa.) I wonder if they see a white face if they think I am here to convert their people to Christianity. Either way it was insane and Debasis and the guys had 2 other big arguments with he security guards throughout our stay there.
On a happier note over all it was a great day and after a huge feast and exploring of the temple we went for a long swim in the Bay of Bengal. the water was so warm and the waves were HUGE. at one point I thought I was gone for good because I kept being pulled further and further out to sea and thrown and twisted around by 10ft waves over and over again but I made it out and it was totally worth it. We then hung out with local fishermen learning from them how they do their fishing its a risky job and they only get like 10 fish at a time from the nets and its a long process. The villages we passed on the way to Konark were incredible. I saw huge wild monkeys running around thatched houses and so many other amazing things. I found it interesting the villagers take the harvested rice that is still on the stock or whatever you would call it and then lay them out in the middle of the street so cars will run over it and then break the shells and disperse the rice so they can collect the rice and leave the rest. Orissa is beautiful and now that I am here for longer than expected due to problems getting a train ticket to Kolkatta I am staying now until Tuesday and so Debasis might make it possible for us to see his mom’s village where she grew up. Rural villages are so intriguing and I would love to live and truly experience the true village life.
Tomorrow is the jungle safari something I have longed to do for ages, I am so excited!!!