They Say Don’t Drink The Water

Liz and I have always said “if it’s good enough for the locals, it’s good enough for us”. Once s/y ‘Full Flight’ and ourselves filled the boat’s water tanks up from a lorry off a dusty dock in Massawa, Eritrea. Whilst the other boat owners looked on in horror, the locals just said “well we drink it”. Of course traipsing the dark back streets of Jaipur in Rajasthan is thirsty work, so these communal drinking taps are a god-send.

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#SquareSunday – Bright Future

Here in India it is Sunday, which means I can post this up now for the #SquareSunday project! This nostalgic shot was taken in Jodhpur, just round the corner from my previous GooglePlus submission, hence the similar blue walls. I particularly like the juxtaposition of the Bright Future poster and this ageing gent. And what exactly is Red Tooth Powder?

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Unique Udaipur

This is our final entry of our Rajathan trip, written by Octopussy…I mean Liz. Why Octopussy? Because we’re in Romantic Udaipur, where the rather kitch 1983 Bond movie was filmed. However, as Liz writes: “shunning the ‘antiques’, carpets, and tailoring being thrust at us we ended up by the water, watching the sun go down over Udaipur from the best viewpoint in town, in the company of professional photographers and the homeless.”

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Sambhali Trust: Charity begins in a Rajput Home

“We teach them about their appearance, good dress sense. Most don’t know where Jodhpur is, or even that they live in Rajasthan. Their lives are simply this: get up, brew tea for Dad, do the dishes, clean the house, cook lunch, sleep, clean the household, make dinner, go to bed. Every single day of their lives. They have no weekends, no holidays. They are married at 15, and then have the exact same life with a husband who probably rapes and certainly beats them.” This is the account of one man’s mission to ’empower’ disadvantaged women from Rajasthan, in a superb write-up by Liz that is packed with first-hand accounts, facts, sad stories and, ultimately, the positive action of the Sambhali Trust.

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Jodhpur: The Blue City In Photographs

It’s summertime and no one wants to read a whole bunch of words, so how about we whisk you off to Jodhpur and introduce you to the streets and the people of The Blue City? For your viewing pleasure, some of our best pics from this wonderful city in Rajasthan…

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Bad Boy Indian

As our blog moves into the Blue City of Jodhpur, we thought we’d post up our Pic Of The Day: a little bad boy, his home-girl and his wheels, taken in one of the back-streets of this amazing city. Kids, eh? Same the world over. [Click to see the full image]

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Jodhpur Crowded And Dirty?

Our copy of the Lonely Planet describes Jodhpur as “crowded and dirty”. What utter tosh. Being in India ‘crowded’ is a given but The Blue City is by far the cleanest place we have visited so far (and certainly cleaner than London right now). Its smart clock tower in the centre gives it a friendly market-town ambiance and the streets between our niwas (home-stay) and the centre were wide, airy and populated by some rather grand houses. The wonderful tight back-streets are in stark contrast, but all daubed in a bright blue paint and bustling with locals at work and play. We have three (yes, three!) slide shows to illustrate the grandeur of The Blue City to take your mind off the horror of the London riots.

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The Taj Mahal In Agra: Beauty And The Beast

Agra, home to the Taj Mahal, is a huge contradiction. Boasting possibly the most beautiful building in the world the town itself is a filthy disgrace. Still, we enjoyed it from both cultural and photographic perspectives, and so in this little post we take you to Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal, grabbing some stunning shots of a legendary landmark.

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Jantar Mantar and the Pink City Beggars

We’d only been in Jaipur a day and a night and already we’d witnessed some police brutality, so we thought we’d balance it with a bit of civilised culture. Cue one UNESCO World Heritage site and a huge palace-cum-fort. After visiting these incredible places, however, we thought we’d get back to reality with some interaction with beggars, street-dwellers and kids rummaging through piles of rubbish. Just to remind ourselves of this diverse city we’re in before leaving for the Taj.

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World’s Most Clichéd Shot, In HDR

My Pic of the Day is a shot everyone is familiar with. Next week our blog takes you to the Taj Mahal so in anticipation I thought I’d post up this classic image given some HDR treatment (a photography technique where three different exposures of the same shot are overlaid to pull out the detail in the shadow and hightlights).

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Morning Wash

As a precursor to our Jaipur blog posts I thought I’d post this portrait up of a young man washing outside his home, illustrating the lack of running water in the backstreets of Jaipur. This sight is not uncommon in India, despite its fast-growing economy.

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A Rajput Gentleman – Introduction To The Golden Triangle

With Liz being short-listed for another writing competition this week we thought we’d start off our Rajasthan series with one of her latest entries, which we’ve also made available for the iPad and Kindle. Beautifully written, this pulls together a number of themes set in Jaipur, Jodpur and Agra (Taj Mahal), the classic traveller trail called The Golden Triangle. The central story, however, concentrates on a remarkable man we met whilst in Jaipur whose quest to empower women from the lowest castes affected us deeply. Setting the scene for the next few blog posts this is moving, brutal yet ultimately uplifting. It is, in my opinion, Liz’s best non-fiction writing to date.

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