GrrrlTraveler’s “POSTCARD DIARIES”

A traveler’s peek into different countries, cultures, lifestyles and their customs.

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Suntichon Village a Chinese Village in Pai, Mae Hong Son, Thailand (15 sec video clip)
Located on the outskirts of Pai, Suntichon Village is a Chinese Village and Cultural site. This is the man-driven amusement ferris wheel.


Swayambhunath Stupa “Monkey Temple” in Kathmandu, Nepal
Located atop a forest hillside overlooking the Kathmandu Valley is one of the most ancient and revered religious sites in Kathmandu- Swayambhunath Stupa.  The stupa is claimed to be over 2,000 years old and is a re-known pilgrimage site for many devout Hindus and Buddhists in Nepal. It is also known as the Monkey Temple, as it is home to over a hundred resident monkeys which roam the area.  Climbing the 365 stairs to  the summit, you reach the golden domed stupa and a chain of 200 prayer wheels.  The stupa holds the symbolic painting of an image you will see throughout Nepal- the Buddha’s all-seeing eyes. The dot between its eyes stand for the third eye, while the question mark looking symbol (in the area of the nose) stands for the number one which stands for unity.

“On the Ganges: includes Sunrise on the Ganges + Ganga Aarti (Varanasi, India)
Read Blog Articles: Varanasi’s Humorous Underbelly Varanasi’s Stains
Each year, there are thousands of pilgrimages to the holy city of Varanasi. At sunrise taking a boat tour along the river is a great way to see the ghats…a dip in the Ganges River is considered to be both, holy and purifying. In the evening, Varanasi holds a big puja ceremony- the Ganga aarti.

“The Ganga Aarti” (Varanasi, India) Read blog article: Varanasi’s Stains.
The evening Ganga Aarti is an hour long ritual performed daily at the bank of the main ghat.

“Sunrise on the Ganges” Varanasi, India
Boats embark on the Ganges River before sunrise. Many boats offer tourists a tour of Varanasi’s ghats to reveal why the city is considered to be one of the holiest pilgrimmage spots in India.  Locals crowd the ghats and bathe in the Ganges as part of their morning rituals and worship.

“…My boat cruise down the ganges at 6A felt beautifully special …and not, with reason that at least a 100 of other tourist boats were out on the waters racing to make the length of the Ganges before sunrise! By boat is the only way to see the overall bathing ghat life, morning sun salutations, chanting, meditations, yoga postures and people washing their clothes on Ganges. Man, woman and child are there- a dip in the Ganga water is considered holy and purifying, so many lather up and take a baths in it too! Most are so devout and absorbed in their water ritual, they can be nonchalant about the 100+ tourists boats observing and photographing their every move.” [More from the entry “Varanasi’s Humorous Underbelly” >>]


“Karni Mata (“Rat Temple”) in Deshnok, India”
Karni Mata Temple (a.k.a The Rat Temple) of Deshnok is located 30km outside of Bikaner.  It is infamous for its dedication to Karni Mata, the rat goddess.  The temple is home to some 20,000 rats who are treated as sacred and given protection.

“…Many animals in India are considered sacred. At Deshnok’s Karni Marta Rat Temple, I had to walk barefoot over sacred rat pee and sacred rat poop which at the time was the only option that allowed me to witness millions of rats take free reign over an entire temple (I know what face Mom is making as you read this…). The worshipers pay homage and take care of the rodents and luckily, the term “rat” defines more “cute mouse” than the giant NYC sewer types. Even the Indian tourists are taken aback with this temple and are here for the spectacle more than the homage. Pointing fingers, jaws agape they are in shock. Mothers attempt to calm their crying children who are as frightened as any unsuspecting person would be surrounded by scurrying rodents. The locals and devotees take this more seriously- the rats here are well cared for, given milk and considered sacred…..” [More from the entry “Touristing Rajasthan”>>]


“Prayer calls in Fez, Morocco”
(2 min video)

(Video note- the first part of the audio in this video is a better than the second; although the second is closer to what I initially heard as I emerged from my stupor of sleep)
“…I was awoken around 3 AM by the adhan or “prayer calls” which occurs five times a day. It was actually one of the most mystical and meditative moments I’ve experienced with sound and one of my fondest take-aways of Morocco. Haunting yet heavenly, the prayers are called out by a muezzin (a chosen person who leads the calls) and amplified over the mosque loudspeakers as a community reminder of its religion.” [More from the entry “Morocco: Fez, finding your way through illegal guides & Prayer Calls”]

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