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Rajasthan, India – October 2009

Our travels in Rajasthan

Our travels in Rajasthan

On October 13, 2009 Bebe, Kristen and I flew from Montreal to New Dehli for a 19 day visit to the Rajasthan region of India. This was our first visit to this part of the world and as a result we were continually fascinated by things we saw and heard. Kristen and I could not resist photographing scenes that were new to our experience. I came home with 712 edited photos and over 100 short videos. Kristen delivered over 2700 photos (not so vigorously edited). Selecting from these resulted in a 124 page album complete with captions made more accurate with the help of Google and Wikipedia. The next step was deciding which photos to include on this web page. Rather than recreate a Rajasthan travelog with pictures that can be found elsewhere of every temple and fort I have focused on the cultural scenes that most fascinated us.

First to catch our eye were the many methods of transporting people and goods such as this bicycle delivery of 3 propane tanks. A pedicab tour of Old Dehli during the celebration of Dawali took us thru narrow alleyways. There were thousands of 3 wheeled cabs or “tuk-tuks” that appear to have evolved from motorcycles into vehicles that carried 4-5-6 or more passengers. There were even good size trucks with only 3 wheels.

A favorite challenge for Kristen and me was to see how big a family we could find on a single motorcycle. How about a family of five! This photo captured 4 in a pedicab and 4 on a motorcycle. We saw water buffalos pulling carts, a horse cart and sometimes an elephant in the midst of the city traffic. A motorcycle might carry 5 large milk containers . OUR transportation for trip was in a small SUV.

Arvind Singh was our excellent guide for the entire trip explaining patiently what we were about to see and it’s entire history. Here is every tourist’s favorite photo “The Taj Mahal” One of our stops on day 3 in Agra was to see marble tabletops, plates and statues being inlaid by hand with semi-precious stones.

We were frequently invited to photograph Indian families especially their children and they wanted us in their photos as well. Indian women in brightly colored clothing often carried babies with carefully made-up eyes. A stop at the railroad station on the way to Ranthambore provided many faces. Here is a sweet one. At a lunch stop Kristen entertained 4 young boys.

The “game drives” into the Ranthambore Preserve were done in an open vehicle. We entered the preserve past an ancient banyan tree that puts down roots as it slowly “walks” across the earth. We passed several lakes and remains of hunting lodges of the Maharajas of Jaipur. There were frequent sightings of spotted deer and the larger sambar sometimes with a heron aboard. The goal was to view a Tiger and we were among the few to have a 4 year old female pass within a few feet of our vehicle.

We spent 3 nights in Jaipur. A special treat was entry to the Amber Fort nearby aboard an elephant. The Taj Jai Mahal Palace hotel where we stayed in Jaipur had an oversize chessboard in the garden.

Dancers performed at several of our hotels. Here is one at a restaurant in Jaipur.

Instead of an elephant we were transported by camel chariot to the fairgrounds at Pushkar. Here is a closeup of our camel. We stayed until sunset our first day at the fair. On day 2 we saw a camel decorating contest. Here’s the 1st prize winner.

At the next stop in Jodphur we visited the immense Mehrangarh Fort built above the city. Wednesday in Jodphur included shopping at the Sardar Market and at one of the many fabrics shops

This shepherd/goatherd was spotted on the road from Jodphur to a Bishnoi village where we purchased woven carpets and noticed this child. On the return to Jodphur we spotted a cattle drive. Pavan and Priya, whose home we had visited, joined us for dinner that evening.

On our way to Udaipur we visited Ranakpur and after shedding our shoes visited the largest Jain temple in India with its 144 carved pillars.

Our home for 2 nights in Udiapur was at the Hilton Trident which had one the several pools we cooled off in during our trip.

Our return to Vermont began on Sunday, November 1 and included an 8 hour layover in Amsterdam 880 before continuing to Montreal and home on Nov 2.

Have time for some short videos?

View the elephant ride into the Amber Fort near Jaipur. (2-1/4 min.)

See Kristen being taught how to make a clay pot on a stone potter’s wheel in a Bishnoi village. (2-1/3 min.)

Take a ride in a camel “chariot” through the Pushkar Fair, complete with authentic background music, horns, chatter, etc. (3-1/2 min.).

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