The Little Raan, Gujarat, 2010. The landscape in the Little Raan Sanctuary is harsh and extreme. For eight months of the year it’s a desert of cracked, crusty mud – a flat expanse of nothingness stretching as far as the eye can see. Confronted with such a landscape it’s easy to see how people believed it was possible to fall off the edge of the … Continue reading Salt, Sweat & Tears.
Jamnagar, Gujarat 2009. Some of the friendly faces encountered around town. Henna Beard. A plastic spoon salesman at the market. When I asked if I could take his photograph, he started juggling with his wares. This was the ‘ta da’ moment at the end of his act. The festival of Maharram. Goatman. I loved his colour and jewellery. He loved being photographed. Friends. These men … Continue reading Faces of Jamnagar.
Junagadh, Gujarat 2009. Food is one of the delights of India. Colour, smell, flavour, eating is an experience for all the senses. In Junagadh, we found two wildly different favourites. The Jay Ambe Juice Centre was a welcome retreat, a place to rest and watch India from a distance. Great for a fresh juice or a delicious milkshake – chikku, (sapodilla), valiyari (aniseed), kesar (safron), … Continue reading Food For Thought.
Travelling from Junagadh to Jamnagar, Gujarat. 2009 The driver revved, revved, revved the engine. ‘And this thing has to go 200 km – I don’t think so’ said Jim. We were on private bus – Mahasagar Travels Ltd. – travelling from Junagadh, hopefully to Jamnagar. We moved about 200 m and stopped for another five minutes of serious revving. The whole bus vibrated. The window … Continue reading On The Buses.
The island of Diu, Gujarat, India 2009. Diu is at the end of the line. This tiny (11 km by 3 km) ex-Portuguese island at the tip of Gujarat has a quirky charm and lends itself to lazy sand and sunshine-filled days. Not quite a tropical paradise, but very nearly. Indian, but yet not, Diu has white-washed churches, catholic-saint-filled chapels, and colourful Lisboa streets with … Continue reading Gone Fishin’.
Palitana, Gujarat, 2009. Shatrunjaya is one of Jainism’s holiest pilgrim sites. A mind boggling array of 863 temples perched on a hilltop plateau high above the gulf of Cambay. Three thousand two hundred steps lead to the top. We began to climb. Slowly but surely. Luckily there was plenty to distract us from our aching calf muscles and thirst. Donkeys being herded uphill, carrying paniers … Continue reading The Black Sheep of the Jain Family.
Ranthambhore, India 2009. Ranthambhore National Park was once the hunting ground of the maharajas of Jaipur and is one of the last few habitats capable of supporting viable populations of ‘Panthera Tigris” – the Royal Bengal Tiger. The guide tells us, ‘a tiger knows when a jeep enters the forest. Whether he chooses to show himself or not is his decision’. Seeing a tiger needs … Continue reading The Tiger Walks In The Morning.
The Build-up – ‘the wonderful’! “We spend so much money on weddings”, sighed Mr. Singh. He might also have said: energy. An Indian wedding requires stamina from all concerned. An unceasing stream of ritual, prayer, blessings, dance and music. For days, our guesthouse in Bundi, Haveli Katkoun, had been filled with song. Family member from all over India had arrived and a happy chaos reigned. … Continue reading An Indian Wedding: Weird & Wonderful.
From the archives: Bundi 2010. Once in a while you meet someone extraordinary. Someone with such an infectious positive energy, that the only thing you can do around them is smile. Mr. Prakash Gupta – alias Kukki, is known throughout Bundi. He began talking as he welcomed us into his living room cum bedroom. Pulling out book after book, he proudly showed us articles that … Continue reading The Intrepid Mr Kukki.
Shekhawati. 2010. Shekhawati is a landscape of narrow country roads, half forgotten villages and beautiful havelis. (large ornate traditional houses). Crops of bright green mustard seeds, wheat and cauliflower interlaced with sandy tracks, ornate yellow sandstone wells and crumbling cenotaphs. An open air painting of shifting colour and light. Once an area on the silk trade route between the ports of the Arabian Sea and … Continue reading Shekhawati: An Outdoor Gallery.