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INDIA



The photographic opportunities were almost endless and worthy of many return visits. India is a vast country but from my short visit it is a country of extremes of wealth but that did not affect people's warmth towards me - a sure way to attract local Indians is to produce a map in a busy location! The Indian people were very friendly towards having their photograph taken, often offering to be included in the shot. A highlight of my time in Dehli was being involved in the Holi Festival, where I could not avoid having coloured dry paint powder thrown over us and being sprayed with water -much to the amusement of my travelling companions I had a streak of red hair for days afterwards!

There were many memorable occasions but one significant visit was to Varanasi, a very holy city on the banks of the mighty and sacred Ganges river. One of the main attractions are the numerous ghats along the banks of the river. In the evening I hired a boat and oarsman and marvelled at the synchronised pumas performed on the river bank, which culminated in the leaf-boat lamps being floated on the river. The following morning I was on the river before dawn in order to experience the sunrise over the river - amazing, and to view all the activity of the local people along the water's edge.



Anybody who has visited the Amritsar golden temple will have a lasting memory of a place of peace with masses of people enjoying the holy environment. I was one of few Europeans visiting that day but enjoyed a warmth of the local people that was typical of India's hospitality.



During our trip I undertook several railway journeys, which is a must for any traveller; if nothing else but to experience the atmosphere on Delhi Station at any time of the day or night, the organisational service on-board during the journey and, sadly, the extreme poverty of the children who live on the some of the stations.



Any trip to The Taj Mahal must be combined with a visit to Fatehpur Sikri, which was the red sandstone capital of the Emperor Akbar and stretches out along a ridge with magnificent views all round.The Royal Palace is a majestic building, which leads to the impressive Jami Masjid and is the sacred section of Fatehpur Sikri. On my final day I visited Udaipur and stayed on Jag Niwas Island. During my stay I was fortunate to witness the Dewar Festival, which was full of colour, music and dancing.