It was 12:30pm when we arrived at the Nasik Bus Station with all our gear. Our original plan was to head over to Vadodara in Gujart, located 10h bus journey from Nasik (more likely 12h knowing from the experience). Our bus was supposed to leave at 1pm. With simple mat we figured out that we would get there in the middle of the night! This is not an option without a pre booked hotel.
Ok, change of the plan- we have to skip Vadadora and go to place located far enough to travel through the night. Anyway- who needs to waste their time for sleeping in the hotels- right! We finally decided to head over to Udaipur- city located 16h on the bus from Nasik. Our bus departure was at 2:30pm so we should get there early in the morning. Sounds great, window seat picked and we were on the way to Udaipur to continue our adventure.
First leg of the journey or I should say first 8h were going really slow. I was looking at Google Maps on my phone thinking to myself- we hardly left Nasik so there was no chance already to get to Udaipur on time!
As the night was approaching we finally hit the motorway. Then it was the time to go to sleep on this dirty but surprisingly comfortable bus.
At night we stopped in Ahmedabad and trust me this place at night looked like a ghetto!
Few ours later there was another stop in the middle of nowhere. This time it was a small restaurant next to the motorway looking like place a from Twin Peaks television series!
It was an early morning as we were approaching Udaipur, greeted by a massive traffic with a car crash after car crash. At some stage we were driving on the wrong side of the motorway against oncoming traffic to avoid waiting- I must try that sometime in Ireland!
Nearly 19h later we finally arrived to Udaipur. It was a long journey but I was excited to explore this new place.
With my never failing method of hotel search “I believe it when I see it” we decided to the stay in the Jag Niwas Guest House located in the heart of the city with the beautiful views.
Refreshing shower in the hotel and we were ready to explore the city and get the feel for the place.
It was around 7p.m when we decided to head back and give a try to our hotel restaurant located at the rooftops. After tasty dinner and a few drinks it was a bedtime for us to get rest for day ahead.
Before the bed I had a chat with hotel manager about possibility of going outside of the city in some remote location to photograph people in the Villages.
Next morning we didn’t wake up till late. After shower we went upstairs to our rooftop restaurant for a breakfast. It was another beautiful and sunny day in Udaipur. I’ve packed all my necessary equipment for some portraits photos. The hotel manager arranged a rickshaw for midday with his friend Soni who spoke good English. He promised to bring us to the remote village called Koriat located about 10km from Udaipur up in the mountains. On the way we bought a couple bags of rice, flour, chocolate and biscuits as a gift to people.
When we arrived to Koriat, which was surrounded by mountains and a desert instantly, we were approached by kids who actually never seen the white people before. It’s a kind of strange feeling I have to say.
After talking to one local man- Puna, we were invited to his home and I had a pleasure to photograph his mother- over 100 years old women who was blind, her name was Harkibaj. She actually didn’t know when exactly was she born.
When we finished photographing this lady we moved down the village and there was one lady with two kids sitting outside her house who also agreed to be photographed. Her name was Magali and two children were called Kali and Takio. As we were finishing photographing we were approached by another lady from neighborhood called Tanquwaj. She asked us if I could also photograph her family as her husband Linbaji lost his job and they were in a difficult situation. They invited us to their home. We offered them gift of rice, flour and money. We took some great photos outside their house and a couple of photos inside.
Then we went to another village called Banadia located 25km from Udaipur where we photographed one more family…
It was already getting dark when we finished photographing so we headed back to Udaipur after this fantastic and unique experience. As we were coming back from the Banadia we already arranged with Soni our rickshaw driver to go again next day in the afternoon but this time to place called Verda located near Tiger Lake about 30km from Udaipur.
Next day we met with Soni outside our hotel at 2:30pm and we headed in Tiger Lake direction. Landscape in this area was very different from previous day. Green rice fields surrounded this area. Soni explained to us that this was possible in this area as the water was supplied from the Tiger Lake.
As we were getting close to our destination village we had another surprise- very old guy on his camel heading to Tiger Lake to deliver straw for the animals. I asked Soni to stop the rickshaw and talk to the old man if we could take a couple of photos. After the short conversation I got a go ahead. I was so excited because up until then the only opportunity to photograph camels I had was in the ZOO! After about 15min I was really happy to move on with a few nice photos of Naru and his camels. For me it was already a great start to the day number two of photographing people in villages around Udaipur.
As we arrived to Verda, I spotted a very interesting looking guy with a big turban on his head. Again Soni spoke to the man for a short while and we were again on the way to take some snaps. About an hour later I was again delighted because I had opportunity to not only photograph Lalsing in his turban but also Banrigaj- a beautiful lady from the same village. These people were so friendly and welcoming that even they offered some tea to us.
This was another great day in India.
We returned to Udaipur and went for dinned and drinks. At this stage we were thinking to head back to the hotel after such a productive day.
There was one more surprise waiting for us- a young guy that we got to talk to on the street suggested to go to a popular dance show that had been running for the past 15 years in the local museum. Without thinking too much we headed there. It was a very enjoyable experience of music and dance but most importantly I spotted a few very interesting young girls dressed in colorful outfits that would make quite a subject to photograph.
Straight after the show I went to speak to Dipak Dixit who was the organizer…
Our original plan was to leave Udaipur next morning to head over to Jodhpur but I guess this plan was just about to be changed. We arranged two girls for 11am next morning in the very same museum for an hour photo shoot. After spending nearly 2 weeks in India I can easily say that things just happen here and you can expect anything and everything at any time.
Following morning we met with Dipak Dixit and were introduced to Tara and Prianka- my models. There father drove two girls from some village located 50km from Udaipur on his motorbike. About an hour later we finished the shoot took a couple of fun moblie photos for the memory and we said good bye…
Since we stayed in Udaipur one extra day and it was still early in a day we decided to pay a visit to the City Palace. This magnificent place was built over a period of nearly 400 years being contributed by several kings of the dynasty, starting by the Maharana Udai Singh II as the capital of the Sisodia Rajput clan in 1559, after he moved from Chittor. It is located on the east bank of the Lake Pichola and has several palaces built within its complex. We spent there few hours walking around and headed back to the hotel to get ready for another day of travel this time to Jodhpur were we planned to stay just one night…
Until next time, Marek
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