Picture India, and you are quite likely picturing Rajasthan. A land of ruined fortresses and long-abandoned palaces whose stones speak evocatively of past maharajas. A desert land where rural life is tough and little-changed over the centuries, yet vibrant and full of colour. A land whose people know how to celebrate and how to welcome strangers.
Many of those old forts and palaces have been converted into hotels, ranging from the rather special to downright luxurious. The cuisine is varied and excellent, there is music and dance wherever you go and people are friendly and keen to engage with you.
While Rajasthan is blessed with some beautiful cities, I was equally captivated by its countryside. Life is tough in many parts of this largely desert state. Families do manage to grow some crops but it is hard work, especially as many have to manage without modern machinery. We saw them ploughing their fields with oxen or buffalo, irrigating those same fields with an ox-driven waterwheel, cutting and threshing by hand, transporting the crops on a camel cart.
But wherever we stopped to take photos we got smiles and waves. People were sometimes amused by our interest but never offended by it. Where we got especially good photos we offered a few rupees in thanks, which were usually received with a smile. We got some great photos, and they got something which we hoped was of use to them in return.
For Cee’s CMMC May alphabet challenge, any word with an ‘I’, let me transport you for a brief while to the India I fell in love with. This is just a tiny sample of my favourite images from that trip!
The photos are presented chronologically, following our route. Where I have already written a full post about a destination I’ve included a link in case you’d like to see more.
A view of Amber Fort near Jaipur
Musician at Amber Fort
Sweeper at Amber Fort (one of the people I paid to pose for me)
Ganesh mosaic on a wall in Amber Fort
Locals in Khimsar
Jaisalmer Fort and the town below
Sign advertising tours for tourists in Jaisalmer
Havelis in Jaisalmer, once home to the city’s rich merchants
A Jain temple in Jaisalmer
Jain temple security guard
Musician at Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
A shopkeeper painting his shop in Jodhpur
The Jain temple of Ranakpur
A visitor making an offering in the Jain temple, Ranakpur
A room in the City Palace, Udaipur
Puppets for sale in Udaipur
On City Palace Road, Udaipur
Gardeners in Sahelion Ki Bari, Udaipur, pause to pose for me
Harvester spontaneously posing for my camera (when I’d hoped to grab some candid shots!)
Using oxen to draw water to irrigate fields (I tipped this lady as I took a number of photos and also shot a short video)
Locals washing clothes in the reservoir in front of the Shiva Temple in the sprawling hill-top fort of Chittaurgarh
A Jain Temple within the fort of Chittaurgarh
Padmini Palace and Jal Mahal, Chittaurgarh
View of Bundi Palace from Nawal Sagar
I visited Rajasthan in 2015