Tag Archives: India

Jodhpur, the blue city in Rajasthan

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.

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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)

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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)

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jodhpur_rajasthan_12Jodhpur_blue_city_2‘the tailor’

jodhpur_blue_city_3‘7.04 PM’

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Jodhpur_blue_city ‘Jamil’

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Jodhpur_Rajasthan‘the golden girl’

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 ‘the bush at the fort’ & ‘the guard at the fort’

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The Sunderbans

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’.

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Once the kingdom of Tripura, now a forgotten state in India

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.

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The hesitant, the absent and the present

‘the hesitant, the absent and the present’ is a collage distilled from a reportage I made on the Sunderban islands in the Bay of Bengal between India and Bangladesh.

A very fascinating world where initially the white sandy beaches seemed to come out of a bounty commercial but very soon, while living with the people in their straw huts, I saw a different reality coming to the front, where struggle was more present even though the persistent genuine friendliness of the people made it very hard to take it in fully.  Coming from the so called ‘rich’ west where people’s happiness often seems to be lingering  a whole notch lower on the scale, ‘being rich’ is a very relative notion indeed.

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‘the hesitant’, a shy boy  very much into cricket and in full admiration of his idol Sachin Tendulkar, a God in India (young version behind the boy)

‘the absent’ was taken at the crucial moment during a community meeting where an important decision for the village had to be taken

I saw the girl in ‘the present’ while hitching a ride on a mule cart while on my way out of the islands. Her presence and empty state of mind struck me deeply and I asked her mother if I could take her picture as soon as the cart would come to a halt.

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