“Pic of the Week”, February 26, 2021: A Parade in Jojawar

04 Parade

Our entry into the city of Jojawar was delayed by a traffic jam.  When we got out of our vehicle to see the reason why, we encountered this parade on the city’s main street.
I never did find out what the reason for this gathering was — perhaps a Jain celebration?  But the colors, music, chanting and enthusiasm of the celebration were engaging and evident. 
Within 10 minutes it was over and we resumed our journey to our hotel.   But I did gain an appreciation for how people in India love to celebrate.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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“Pic of the Week”, January 29, 2021: The Masala Chai Men’s Club, Jojawar

00 Masala Chai

While rambling around the city of Jojawar, we came across this group of older men.  They were gathered in the shade of an overhang, shoes off, sitting on towels and blankets, smoking and enjoying good conversation and some masala chai.
As is typical of the more remote regions of Rajasthan, the men almost uniformly wore turbans.
A street vendor near them was cooking up masala chai, a treat our tour group had grown to enjoy.  We watched him go through the process of preparing our chai — a mixture of boiled milk, water and spiced tea.   He kept constantly stirring the mixture until it was ready.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)


 

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.All Trips / Asia / India

Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, Agra

04 Tomb of Itimad Ud Paulah

The Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah (hereafter called TID), also know as the “Baby Taj”, is overshadowed in popularity by some of Agra’s other tourist attractions, namely the incomparable Taj Mahal (25 mins away) and Red Fort (14 minutes away).   Yet TID is a beautiful marble structure that’s worth a visit, especially at dusk or dawn as the soft light highlights its beautiful architectural details.
TID is on the eastern banks of River Yamuna and was built by Nur Jahan, wife of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and step-mother of Sha Jahan (who was to become the builder of the Taj Mahal).  Nur Jahan built the tomb for her father, Mirzā Ghiyās Beg,  a Persian amir in exile who had been given the …

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A Wedding in Jaipur

01 A Wedding in Jaipur (2)

If there’s anything more colorful than a wedding in India, I’m not sure what that would be.  It’s uncommon for a group of tourists to be invited to a wedding celebration; this unique opportunity arose because our tour guide was a good friend of the groom, hence the invite.
Indian weddings are still mostly arranged affairs, the parents picking appropriate mates for their children.  I personally believe that marriage for love is better, but the Indians are happy with their system and it seems to fairly work well for them.  Marriages in India are as stable as those anywhere in the world.
We arrived at the rented venue, part of a total of about 250 people ultimately attending.  We were invited to …

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“Pic of the Week”, December 4, 2020: Monkey getting a Drink, Sri Lanka

Polonnaruwa (237)

Sri Lanka is home to several exquisite and fascinating historic sites, one of which is the medieval city of Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There’s a river not that far from the ruins, but this toque monkey was innovative, deciding instead of having to scamper a mile or more for a drink, she would simply drink from water trapped in rounded stone holes (probably where logs had been inserted centuries ago).
Simple, but effective and thirst-quenching. 
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“Pic of the Week”, October 30, 2020: St. Clair Falls and Tea Plantation, Sri Lanka

00 St. Clair waterfall and plantation

A traditional stop when driving the road from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya is to see St. Clair’s Falls, one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka.  It was misty and cool in the mountains here at nearly a mile above sea level, as it often is.
The cascade of the Kotmale Oya river through the St. Clair tea plantation (from which the falls derive their name) is a pretty sight.  I’d previously visited these falls about 20 years earlier and recalled a lot more water literally filling the river and pouring rather than trickling down the mountain.  I asked my driver whether the water was so low because of dry weather?  No that was not the case — apparently the flow …

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“Pic of the Week”, October 23, 2020. Audience Hall, Red Fort, Delhi

00 Hall of Audience, Delhi

The Diwan-i-Aam, or Audience Hall, is located in Delhi’s Red Fort.  It was here that Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (best known for building the Taj Mahal) and his successors meet with citizens to hear their grievances and requests.
The Audience Hall is covered with a roof but is open on three sides, with a back wall and weight-bearing pillars and arches made of red sandstone.  The hall measures 100 x 60 feet.  Apparently at one time its ceiling and columns were painted with gold — that would have been quite a sight.
It’s an impressive and beautifully constructed space, highlighted by place where the Emperor would sit —  a magnificent elevated white marble throne inlaid with semi-precious stone (a technique later perfected in …

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.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

Views of Sri Lanka’s Tea Country from the Rear Window

Trip to Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka (95)

Despite being a small nation, there’s a lot of beautiful scenery to enjoy in Sri Lanka, from lovely palm-fringed beaches, to charming small villages, to ancient cities.  As far as scenery to enjoy while on a road trip, I don’t think there’s anything more appealing than a drive through the tea country of the mountains.
The following images are a short gallery taken from my back seat window while traveling from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya, the latter city in the heart of the country’s tea-growing region.  The roads are curvy and progress is slow, but I suppose that’s a metaphor for life in Ceylon.
Here are some of the scenes spotted along the way:
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance …

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