Rajasthan in pictures

Rajasthan in pictures

With its rich colours, friendly people, over-populated cities and stunning countryside, India is a photographer’s paradise, and nowhere more so than Rajasthan. As you wander through the state’s pastel-coloured cities and labyrinthine bazaars you’ll be presented with endless photo opportunities, whilst the wonderful rural villages provide an opportunity to meet the locals and experience a slice of authentic Indian life. Imagine Asia specialist and keen photographer Ric tells us why Rajasthan is one of his favourite places to take photos, and shares a few of his favourite snaps from his recent trip.

Get in touch with Ric to hear more about his experiences photographing Rajasthan and to start planning your own voyage of discovery to this spellbinding state. Call us today on 020 3553 0848.

For me, photography has always been about exploration. I’m not sure whether I take the camera out with me to encourage me to explore, or whether I explore to make sure I find the perfect spot for a good photo – but either way my travels always seem so much more enriching when I have my camera in my hand. I’ve always felt at ease taking pictures in a city, a busy market or somewhere I can easily get lost and blend into the background, photographing people as they go about their daily lives. However when I first started to travel I became amazed by portrait photography, as well as stunning landscapes or urban scenery captured at just the right moment. How did people manage to be in the right place at the right time, or have the opportunity to meet someone face-to-face to take their photograph?

I quickly learned all of these answers when I visited Rajasthan. Far from being a tool to help me get lost into the background, in the sleepy villages of rural Rajasthan my camera does exactly the opposite, and helps break down the barriers to bring me closer to the community. In these colourful, quiet and completely tourist-free parts of India, a photo really can be a common language. When you walk through villages, farms and even around old castles and palaces, you cannot blend in, but nor do you need to. Old men in bright turbans, women in beautiful saris and seemingly every child you meet will want to pose, look directly into your lens, and then smile with delight as they see their image on the rear of your camera. These colours, romantic settings and endless sunsets all come together to make for one of the most magical locations to photograph, and knowing that this is all real, authentic India makes it all the more enchanting.

Another thing I have really learned since travelling with Imagine is the value of a truly great guide, which Rajasthan has in abundance. He or she will no doubt know half the town, introduce you to grandparents, uncles, brothers, aunties… all of whom will want to share a photo or two, making it easy to get that eye-to-eye contact that can be so hard to ask for yourself. What’s more, when the sun hits the right point in the sky, or the shepherds bring out their flocks, your guide will be one step ahead, and have you in the right place at the right time for sun-kissed landscapes, busy town meetings and all the other colourful festivities you would love to catch on camera. The intricate knowledge your guide has of the places he is showing you – even down to what time someone usually does their ironing in front of their house in Jodhpur‘s blue city – is what really helps you scratch beneath the surface of the destination, creating the special images that will forever remind you of a wonderful holiday in India.

Picture 2

I like to use my photos to try to redefine expectations, and for me this picture captures a side of India that is so rarely portrayed. The rural areas of Rajasthan are worlds apart from the chaotic buzz for which India is famous. Here I look out over the flooded farmlands of Shahpura, around 70km south of Jaipur. These stunningly open and pristine landscapes are far more frequent than people imagine, and why shouldn’t they be in a country so vast and varied.

Picture 3

Blue is the warmest colour. The old lanes of Jodhpur‘s blue city are a magical place to spend a day. Many people only venture as far as the sprawl of blue between the clock tower and the huge Mehrangarh Fort. However the real highlights are beyond the fort, accessed either through a series of fortified gates or through some dizzying back streets. Here you will find a much calmer, quieter and more authentic city.

Picture 4

A lady sits at the front of her home in the rural city of Bundi. The city is famous for the colourful frescos of its palace, and this eye for colour can be seen throughout the narrow streets and houses too. Although often overlooked by tourists in favour of Jaipur and Udaipur, I think Bundi is an essential stopover for those who want to garner the romance, chivalry and general energy that sums up populated Rajasthan.

Picture 5

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Rajasthan was meeting the colourful Rabari shepherds in Jawai. While appearing to me to be of fairly modest wealth, I learnt that goats are so prized that a male can have a value of over £300. With herds as big as 200 animals, the shepherds certainly have some bankable assets.

Pictures 6 & 7

For me, by far the most interesting experiences in India happen away from the beaten tourist path. Wandering through the villages that surround Ramathra Fort, I was the only tourist for miles. I started chatting to these two ladies who, although shy at first, were soon excited to have their photos taken and see the pictures on my screen.

Picture 1

A member of the Bishnoi Tribe, near Rohet, close to the city of Jodhpur. I had been invited to meet his extended family and learn about the traditions of this dwindling group. Fantastic farmers with close family ties, the Bishnoi believe in looking after their animals at all costs, with dogs, goats, cows and chickens all fed before the human members of the family.

Picture 7

I took this photo whilst out tracking leopards at the simply stunning Sujan Jawai Camp in the remote wilderness of Rajasthan’s Aravalli Hills. This alien landscape – one of the most incredible I’ve ever seen – is home to a dozen of these elusive big cats, as well as a rich local culture, which for me was the real lure. Moments like this, when we pulled up in the jeep and watched the sun start to set, were just the icing on the cake.

Picture 8

The iconic Hawa Mahal in Jaipur. Its intricately carved design was created to allow the ladies of the royal household the chance to watch the festivities taking place on the street below, whilst retaining their modesty and not being seen themselves. Today it faces a busy road in the city’s old town and changes from pink to orange as the light shifts throughout the day.

Picture 9

A boatman shows poise and strength in rural Rajasthan, close to the village of Ramathra. He rowed for well over an hour to show me his home.

Comments are closed.