The road trip through Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh India by myself and two News Ltd colleagues Rob Maccoll and Peter Wallis went almost without a hitch and produced some nice images.
First small hiccup of the trip was in Jodhpur when we were told our long booked and requested Ambassador car (a clone of the 1950’s Morris Oxford) could not be supplied – “It is not possible Sir” we were told by the company several times.
Well it was possible. On the way to the Jodhpur Fort I meet Kishore and his beautifully maintained Morris lookalike. ‘Kish’ is as proud as punch of his white Ambassador and apparently he is the only remaining licensed Ambassador driver in Jodhpur. Despite having a previous booking ‘Kish’ was keen to take on our 7 day trek through Rajasthan and on to Agra. Fee negotiated and we had our transport.
So began our sedate (max 85 kph) road trip … and we only had two flat tyres in the first three days to slow us down further! Kish was a brilliant font of local knowledge and a great character – a priceless find. Our cruise through the amazing colours of Rajasthan took us from Jodhpur to Udaipur, Pushkar and then on to Jaipur for the World famous Elephant Festival and Holi.
As Kish was rightly concerned about damage to his precious Ambassador during Holi we hired a local tuk-tuk for the morning. The driver quickly understood that we were not tourists and took us way into the Jaipur suburbs where the locals were really celebrating the Holi Festival in earnest. We even shared whisky – and ‘colours’ – at his brothers house with the extended family. Obviously the locals saw us as prime targets for ‘colours’ , dousing of water and the odd ‘dance’ or two !
After a very long shower to wash of the myriad of coloured dyes we left Jaipur. Whilst Rob and Pete continued on to Agra with Kish I took a side trek to the Holy City of Vrindavan for a few hours where I met up with Syam and his motorbike. Syam gave me the most exhilarating ride of my life – flashing through the tiny alleys and lanes of the busy little town from temple to temple and gripping tightly to two Nikons. Vrindavan would have been worth the visit for Syam’s ride alone !
On to Agra … where we did the tourist bit and visited the Taj Mahal … nice building. The plan was to take the train from Agra to Varanasi, however, we found the trains booked out for several days and arranged a speedy car transfer instead.
Varanasi and the Ganges provided many images in beautiful light and we had a great view from our hotel rooms right on the ghats. Couldn’t bring myself to have a swim though! After 3 nights in Varanasi it was back to Delhi, then Kuala Lumpur and home.
A truly memorable trip and our first publication is already arranged – a spread in the next edition of the Walkley Magazine.
Below I’ve posted a few pics from the many I made on the trip. I’ll let you know here, on Facebook or Twitter when the full pic essays are up.
All images © Brian Cassey – from top – Jaipur, Wedding in Jodhpur, Holi in Jaipur, Sari’s drying on the Ganges at Varanasi, Dancers in Udaipur, The Ganges Varanasi.