India-Tigers, Oh My!!!

I was thrilled that my tour included a “safari” through The Ranthambore National Park, a refuge for tigers. My five year old grandson’s favorite color is orange and therefore, using little kid logic, his favorite animal is a tiger. I promised to bring him one back from India and a lot of pictures.

Ranthambore was once the hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur. Remains of many of its buildings still dot the area. In 1955, the land became a sanctuary and in 1980, a national park.

The preserve is mostly grassland and semi-desert with enough trees and waterways to sustain a lot of wildlife.

We went out with our naturalist two times the first day, really early in the morning and then before sundown.

No tigers but a lot of very interesting animals.

The next day we went out for a third time. My daughter-in-law had emailed to say that my grandson was asking when I was coming home with his tiger. The sun was setting and I started to think I was going to disappoint him without even a picture.

But suddenly the driver stopped the jeep and our guide signaled us to be quiet. He pointed down a dry riverbed. A tiger was leisurely walking toward us.

We were thrilled. It was Noor, one of the females known as a great hunter and good mother to her cubs.

Noor proceeded to saunter around our jeep allowing all of us to take great pictures.

,As Noor exited into the trees, another jeep filled with more tourists pulled up to us. This group’s guide talked to our guide. Another tiger had been sighted and our two jeeps sped down the trial.

Wow! We were rewarded with another tiger simply named Number 97. He was magnificence as he remained quiet and unafraid, lounging under a tree.

I had my pictures for my grandson and was able to buy him a realistic stuffed animal tiger. He loves it. Grandma came through again. Thank goodness!

India-Hinduism

79.8% of India’s population is Hindu, 14.2% Muslim, and 6% is of various religions including Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and others. The people in my tour group learned to spot active and inactive temples. They were like living things and if people did not use them and bring offering they basically closed up and metaphorically died.  Active temples had  priests present and flew flags to show they were thriving and open to worshipers.

 

Our tour went to Jaipur and the temples of Badoli, my first visit to a Hindu site.

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I’m in awe when I see religious sites from the past. Across the world, many gathering places of worship amazed me as I witnessed the hard work and devotion of the people who created them. The remains of the temples at Badoli  dated back to 10th-11th century and were very impressive with their intricate detail.

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The Hindu religion has 33 million deities. I felt that I would need a guide book with pictures to make sense of it all.

 

But it all came together.  Our guide pointed out the things that were significant and I did some reading when I got home.

Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world. It has no single founder, no single scripture, and no single governing body. Its foundation is dharma, a right way of living based on duty, conduct, and virtue. The three stages of  Hindu life are birth, death, and rebirth.  Salvation (Moksha) in the afterlife is obtain through good actions and deeds (karma). There are three main deities, Brahma (creator of the universe),Vishnu (the protector of the universe), and Shiva (the destroyer of negativity).  All living creatures have a soul, the eternal true self.

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I learned the most about Hinduism from observing the wonderful spirit of acceptance, tolerance, and joy in the Indian people. Their religion teaches  interconnectedness, to see oneself in all being and all beings in oneself. What a great way to live!

smiles