For my most recent trip I did Peregrine’s Colours of Rajasthan which ticked all the usual boxes of the mighty Taj, the Red Fort and the pink city, Jaipur. But what I loved most was the small towns that took us right off the beaten track.
This trip goes to Karauli, where we did the most amazing village walk through local food markets, shops, temples and forts without the hussle and bustle of hundreds of other tourists or tourist traps. Our guide was amazing and made sure that we were respectful at all times so as not to feel like awkward tourists.
The colours of the builings just blew me and my camera lens away. It’s amazing how earthy the buildings seem, as if they are extensions of the ground. And yet how colourful they are! Walking around the town you see the day to day village life happening all around you. We visited a school here as well which was beautiful. We learnt how the Indian government encourages and financially assists people to go back to their own villages and teach so they can keep the customs and culture alive.
I love this photo, as these are the two major symbols of India to me: the incredibly decked out tuk-tuk fighting for road space with the ‘holy’ cow. There seems to be so many reasons why cows are considered sacred in India. As well as providing Indians with milk (which they consume on a daily basis) they are a provider of labor and depicted as vehicle of several deities. I still smile every time I see these guys unphased amidst the total chaos of traffic and life going on all around them.
Indian sweets are definitely a heart stopper. I love seeing the alternative style to sweets to what we have here in Australia. It’s fun to just go and try all the different ones. Sometimes its great and other times not so much. One of my favourites was grated carrot soaked in condensed milk! They do love condensed milk over there. A main dessert that you’ll see everywhere is Gulab Gamun which is pretty much a round indian doughnut soaked in sugar syrup and served with curd. It’s delicious!
The people in India are definitely amongst the most inquisitive and helpful I’ve ever met. The great thing about getting out of the big cities was being able to connect with the locals in their villages and see how they made their livings. Below is an image of a bunch of boys making bangles. Before I had seen this I just assumed they were made by a machine, but after seeing how they were made I was quickly decked wrist to elbow on both arms. By buying local villagers' handicrafts we’re able to encourage them to keep being creative and generate their own income.
After this trip I was left feeling so humbled and surprisingly relaxed. Being thrown into total chaos really grounds you and gives you the kind of perspective experience will give you over knowledge. I love India for its diversity, its craziness and its total ability to get under your skin and leave you with stories for life.