|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.)|