We’ve been busy teaching, working, and relaxing, but we’ve also managed to squeeze in one or two sightseeing trips. Vempali is a busy little village (of 100,000 people!), about 16 kilometers away from RGUKT. There, we bought some fabric to make much needed clothing for the kids (we seem to have left too much in Hyderabad) and ate a delicious lunch of chicken Biryani. Mostly we just took in the sights — oxen, tricycles, motorcycles, tractors, and cars shared the road (and the burden of moving goods around). Children ran happily by with a clear independence we are still trying to teach our kids. Despite the prevalence of mobile phones, the town sported a payphone that we actually saw being used. The buildings are colorfully painted, the streets and shops narrow.
A few days later, we visited a local (new) temple. Surrounded by rocky outcroppings (temples are usually on/among hills here), it hosted a busy market and a steady stream of visitors. Monkeys ran in and around the people and trees, while music filled the air. The atmosphere was both festive and peaceful. We experienced a personal Puja for the family thanks to our RGUKT hosts and enjoyed the Prasad (blessed sweets) afterwards. We ended our temple trip with a visit to the tomb of the former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh (the state RGUKT is located in), who helped to make RGUKT possible. RGUKT is located on land that he donated, and he helped to ensure substantial funding for the university as well. Unfortunately, he was killed about a two years ago under suspicious circumstances. As a result the university is struggling to find more funding.
3 thoughts on “Temples, Shopping, and Tombs, oh my!”
Wonderful to hear how things are going! Congratulations to your son for loosing his two front teeth!
Have you ridden in one of those motorized Rickshaws (in your video of the temple)? I remember that was quite an experience (somewhat scary) for me when I was there in 2005.
I look forward to the next update!
Ms. Selena Holtz
Thank you! We have ridden in many of those rickshaws — one recent one had no working accelerometer partway through, so the driver strung a cable and controlled speed by hand :). I miss the bike version that was still common in 2001 when I last was here though. Glad you’re enjoying the updates :).
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