Rajgir & Vulture Peak
October 26, 2008
[Click photos for a closer look.]
The sunlight was barely discernible as we boarded the musty buses in Bodghaya for what became a six hour trip to Rajgir. A bridge on the main road between the two cities, only 30 miles apart, was inexplicably closed and thus the Buddhist caravan of 11 buses needed to take a less direct route through small villages. Aside from the pain of being bus-bound for so long, the trip was fascinating for its close-up views of village life, and for its lack of the thin strips of urban blight that line most larger highways. The drivers skillfully averted slow moving bullock carts, or feckless goats wandering into the roadway. Our journey seemed equally fascinating to the people we passed, many of whom found our invasion a little shocking. The children just smiled and waved.
Fields of wheat, rice, lentils, vegetables, and fruits took turns passing in and out of view. The villages contained clusters of mud-plastered walls shaded by a few scrawny trees, set among patches of green or dun-colored plots, with colorful fabrics spread out to dry, oxcarts creaking by, cattle wandering about, and kids playing in puddles-- a vision of harmonious simplicity. Even in the smallest of villages there were many little shops-- often duplicates of each other displaying the same hanging goods.