Many a traveler on the tourist trail leading from the Taj Mahal into the desert state of Rajasthan goes to the ‘pink’ city of Jaipur and then very often is headed for Pushkar, Udaipur or Jaisalmer further west.
What about the blue city of Jodhpur? What’s wrong with it? I often wondered. Is it not recommended enough by guidebooks like the ‘lonely plant’? are people really rushing their way through this most beautiful part of india? it is probably a combination and it’s a pity anyway, i would say. More than once people told me they arrived in the morning and then take the train in the evening again. Those are the moments I praise myself for having all the time in the world (let’s not talk about the money)
Contrary to Jaipur everything is in walking distance here and condensed around and under the Mehrangarh fort. It was easy to spend two weeks in this gorgeous atmosphere spinning between the blue houses, wandering around the tiny streets, photographing ‘the guard’ at the fort (among many other characters I stumbled upon in the alleys) and going to Ramesh (‘a real Bombay barber’) for my regular shave and face massage. (watch the video at the end)
Namtso Lake is the highest saline lake on earth. Renowned as one of the most beautiful places in Tibet. Its cave hermitages have for centuries been the destination of Tibetan pilgrims.
Namtso has five uninhabited islands of reasonable size, in addition to one or two rocky outcrops. The islands have been used for spiritual retreat by pilgrims who walk over the lake’s frozen surface at the end of winter, carrying their food with them. They spend the summer there, unable to return to shore again until the water freezes the following winter. This practice is no longer permitted by Chinese authorities.
The Sunderbans spread out in the bay of Bengal between India and Bangladesh. Part of the islands are protected mangroves and the land of roaming tigers. The others are inhabited by people. Initially farmers from Bihar state were located here by the British to work and protect the land from ‘dangers lying in the sea’.
Tripura was a thriving kingdom with many ethnic tribes for a long stretch of time ; after India’s independence it got sandwiched in the far-east between Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Recently I found myself on a long busride in northwest India and got into a conversation with a man who seemd very learned. I told him of my journeys through India, from the downtrodden to the very remote and I said I was In the state of Tripura for a while upon which he exclaimed: ‘there is no such a state in india!’ But I insisted, I still do. Let my pictures -who came back from Tripura with me- be my testimony.