India

My journey started in Delhi, as it usually does but I was only there briefly and the most remarkable thing I saw during the time was this center piece in the lobby of the hotel I stayed in. Made of plastic and very dusty.

hotel hanging

After a long and tiring car journey to Jaipur the busy part of the trip began and in between rushing from one supplier to another these are some of the photographs I managed to take.

The view from my hotel window is onto a courtyard which has some flowering trees and plants which I find very peaceful, particularly after the mayhem of the streets of Jaipur.

hotel courtyard

And in this hotel the tables are not reserved, they are ‘promised’.

table promised

Life happens on the streets there, I liked this tailor’s set up.

tailor in the street

Quite often there wasn’t time to have a sit down lunch so I took my driver Manoj’s advice when it came to street food. As I remember this was not so good, Manoj enjoyed it though.

driver

The next one was very good, called a chilla, pronounced ‘cheela’.

making chilla  chilla on plate

Cheerful children in their taxi!

children packed into a taxi

This looks very peaceful for Jaipur, I think these camels are for tourists.

camels

But mostly camels are still pulling carts.

camel cart

Once you get off the noisy main streets you can find courtyards with gardens which are lovely.

quiet courtyard

Jaipur is well known for jootis, they used to be lined with leather, now most often with synthetic material sadly.

jootis

Back to Delhi on the Shatabdi Express, I traveled in a new train, the windows were pretty clean, on the old one they were dark brown and impossible to see through. But the new train already smelt awful, like a urinal. I don’t even remember the old train smelling as bad.
This is what you get served in Executive Class shortly after leaving Jaipur, and it’s pretty good. Hot water for the tea in the thermos.

tea

I had seen an advertisement for what seemed to be a hand-loom exhibition in Delhi in the newspaper while I was in Jaipur promising ‘Handwoven wonders from all over India’ so when I had some time on a Sunday I asked my driver Rinku if he knew where the Hand-loom Marketing Complex was. He did. It was a building set back from one of the main streets, empty except for some stalls on the first floor.
Amongst this collection of people were the two stalls I photographed, and I bought hand-loom silk and linen from the first and some yak wool shawls and some cashmere from the people from Jammu and Kashmir. What was impressive, apart from the lovely products, was that all the people on different stalls helped each other, there was a distinct lack of competitiveness that you would usually expect to find. It wasn’t well attended by the public though. I think the government does sponsor a lot of exhibitions like this though which can only be good.

hand-loom stall 

On my last day in Delhi I went and had lunch at Diva, one of my two favourite places, the Lodi Gardens Restaurant is the other. Diva has good food, a great menu and excellent staff. You can even drink good wine by the glass there if you want to. It does cost about the same as eating out in Dorset but it is extremely popular with local people.

diva restaurant

I had to add a photograph of the monkeys. There are lots and lots in Delhi and Jaipur. They are becoming a problem as they steal food from people and apparently have hurt some. The government is trying to stop people feeding them or to take feed to collection centres, but as there is a Monkey god, Hanuman, people believe they will be blessed if they do feed the monkeys personally.
The monkeys are being shipped out to other areas where there is woodland but possibly not enough for them to eat there either. A scheme to plant fruit trees so that they would feed off those apparently came to nothing. You see them everywhere and definitely in larger numbers than I have noticed before.

monkeys