Being Human in India, Incredible India.

Seventh largest country by geographical measure, second-most populous, largest democracy in the world, India is home to 1.2 billion people.   A sea of humanity.  A mesmerizing nation unlike any other in its cultural, historic and religious diversity.  

Our guide in Mumbai

New Year's Day: A taste of 5-star hospitality at the Lake Palace Hotel, Udaipur
Below: greetings at the Oberoi Luxury Hotel in Agra

We took a whopping huge bite of India and chased it with big gulp - covering 9 cities in 14 days between Christmas and the first week in January.   We flew in to Delhi on Christmas Eve - motored to Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer, then flew to Udaipur (for New Year’s). Then flew to Aurangabad - to World Heritage sites of the Ajanta and Ellora Caves, - then on to Hyderabad and finally to Mumbai. 

A steady progression of colorful tourists dot the hillside at the Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad.
Inside: elaborate carvings and paintings depicting the life of Buddah date from the 2nd century BCE. 
School girls at Ajanta Caves. 

Our guide in the Ajanta and Ellora Caves

With an itinerary jam-packed from day break to sundown, we were whisked to mosques and temples, spectacular palaces, hilltop forts, bazaars, shops and museums filled with the treasures and antiquity. 

Tourists at the Taj Mahal, Agra
It would all go by in a blur, but for the documentation in photographs we brought home with us. 

On the streets of Delhi

Rickshaw ride in Delhi
Kitty with school girls in Delhi

What stands out most in memory?  Against the backdrop of minarets, shrines and dazzling palace domes, past the ancient city gates, the intricate carved stonework, and the lush gardens   . . .  there were the faces. . . youthful, aged,  delightful, beautiful, exotic, veiled, weathered,  bearded, mustachioed, curious, open, smiling...ever fascinating to watch, and a privilege to photograph.  
Sixty miles from the Pakistani border, camel ride to the dunes at sunset,
Sam Desert camp, Jaisalmer

Sporting dueling Canons, my husband and I took more than 4000 shots.  Difficult to choose favorites, but what follows are just a few.  

India is young. More than 50% of the population of India is below the age of 25. 
School children at the Ellora Caves, Aurangabad

India has more than 2000 ethnic groups, with every major religion represented, though 80% of the population is Hindu, 13% is Muslim and 2% is Christian. Indian life revolves primarily around agriculture and small villages, where about 72% of the population lives. 

Traditional Rajasthani dance: evening entertainment at Sam Desert camp.

Peacock feather merchant, Jaisalmer. Postcards for sale below.

Stringing garlands in the flower market, Mumbai
Foot traffic at the Gateway of India, Mumbai
Hospitality: Lake Palace Hotel, Udaipur

Young dancer at Manak Chowk, Jaisalmer Fort

School girls boarding bus at Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad

Photo op at Taj Mahal, Agra

In the workroom, Indigo Carpet & Textile Company, Jaipur

At the steps of the "Sunday Mosque," Old Delhi

Musician at  Mehrangarh Fort, Jodpur

In Mirchi Galli, the spice market, Mumbai

Repair shop, Udaipur

Pottery market, Mumbai

Street fashion for sixteen-something in Delhi

Beautiful Aparna_daughter of close friend of our hosts, on tour with us in Hyderabad

Manjri Varde, artist and close friend of our hosts: on tour with us in Mumbai

Wise words:  Mumbai guide

Our dear friend, and hostess: Jasmeet P.  (Kitty.)

Photos: VHenoch


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