Jodhpur “The Blue City” of India
Also called the “Sun City”, the blue palette of the second largest city in Rajasthan is mainly seen in the old part of the city. Dominated by the 15th century Mehrangarh Fort, the city spills beyond its walls. The blue color represented the Brahmins-the priests of the cast system. The city is also known for its ample supply of sandstone. The taupe tones of the city set against the shades of blue of the walls and houses make for interesting backgrounds for its colorful and friendly people. A street photographer’s dream. But make sure that you watch your step as the animals roam freely here. The sacred cows and community cared for cats, dogs and goats wander along the narrow streets as the traffic swerves around them.
Scenes from the streets of Jodhpur:
Kathmandu is set in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. You get a glimpse of Mount Everest when landing at Tribhuvan International Airport. It serves as a landing pad for those jumping over to “Base Camp”. The city itself appears to be busting at its seams. We headed out to the villages to get a glimpse of village life. The people work hard in the hills, farming terraces that grow rice during monsoon season and wheat, barley and onions in the dry season. As the sun sets in the foothills of Nagarkot with the massive Himalayans beyond, the smoke from the hillside huts begins to waft over the terraced valley below as people harvest wood and tend to their fields. The school bus passes and the joyful sounds of the children’s laughter spreads through the cooling air. A nice way to spend the last rays of daylight, getting a feel for local life. A different pace, a different place. Village life, Nepal-Heaven on earth.
In the city, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pashupati Area Shiva Temple, is where you will find the Sadhus. The colorful Hindu Holy men that live in the temple and rely on donations to support their spiritual life. The colorful markings on their faces are symbols of their different sects. This Hindu temple is a working site and you’ll see open cremations taking place several times a day.
Sri Lanka has a surprising variety of different scenes. Colombo has a city vibe, just hours outside however, you can find both seascape and mountain villages. If you’re willing to venture further out, you will find the tea plantations planted in terraces. We took advantage of the sea, traveling to Galle to see the stilt fishermen and to visit one of the last remaining weaving factories. Sooriya Weaving Mills is one of only 5 remaining weaving mills in the country. They process cotton from start to finish here all by hand. These handmade products are fast disappearing as the industry has been mechanized over the years. Galle itself has become very tourism centric and you’ll find reasonable priced beach hotels lining the coast. On another day trip towards the interior of the Island, we visited the mountainous region of Kandy. Many people flocked to settle here after the tsunami of 2004, seeking higher elevations. Thirty thousand people were swept away in that tragic event. Walking the back streets of Columbo and Kandy is where you will find the heart of Sri Lanka, it’s people. They are welcoming and curious. The children are taught the English language in school and are anxious to test out their communication skills with visitors. It is the kind of place where neighbors are family and communities are strong. Sri Lanka has a “happy” vibe and I hope my street portraits convey that.