Udaipur was the place where I was closest to finding the ‘magic’ of India. The lakeside palaces, the palaces on the lake itself and temples made for an unexpectedly quiet and peaceful atmosphere with more than a touch of grandeur. Dare I also say that the cleanliness was decidedly un-Indian… Moving from Udaipur I tried successfully to find some countryside and wildlife in Mount Abu before travelling to Mumbai and my flight out.
A visit to the Dilwara temples in Mount Abu might just rank amongst the best things I did and saw in India. The level of craftsmanship and detail of the ornate and intricate cravings inside the temples was an absolute wonder to behold. The temples also rank highly on my list of “most amazing places that you’re not allowed to photograph” so instead take a look at Google Images if you are interested: Dilwara Temples
I also took some time out to learn about Jainism; a religion of which, I might boldly assume, many in the West know little about. I, of course, include myself in that category save the oft-repeated fact that Jain monks carry brooms to sweep the ground in front of them when they walk or sit down so as not to harm any insects or small animals. I won’t repeat what I’ve learnt, instead, again if you’re interested you can read the Wikipedia article like I did. However I will just say I was stuck by two of the main principles in Jainism: ahimsa and anekantavada or non-violence and non-absolutism. Apparently Gandhi was inspired by the principle of ahimsa and this is also the origin of broom-sweeping, non-onion-eating rules where non-violence is taken to its extreme logical conclusion that every living thing, insects included, must not be harmed. Anekantavada, in my limited reading of the principle, states that no one single viewpoint can possibly observe the entire truth of reality. I guess that would mean that no person should impose their singular world view on others as they cannot be assured that theirs is the only truth. This principle is very well presented in the story of the blind men and the elephant.