Where Can You Go In India?
Rajasthan train is the way to go in this part of India. If you drive any distance in rural India you “get it”. A train ride cannot be beat for getting around expediently and without worry of accident. And they are more or less timely, given the part of the world you are in. A Rajasthan tour is probably tops on most “what to do in India” lists. Blue City of Jodphur, Pink City of Jaipur, Ghats of the Ganges. Princely states, harems, ladies palaces, all can be seen easily by Indian train. Most of these sites can be seen in a busy, but not frenetic week of Rajasthan train travel. The largely intact forts and palaces are full of centuries old antiques from elephant palanquins to ornate hookahs. After the tiger safari, riding an elephant up to a palace, marching around a fort and a smattering of local colour side trips to equally fascinating Fort Chittaugarh (Fort Chittor) and erotic Khajuraho temple can be easily arranged by India Rail.
You can get a view of the Indian countryside outside of the teeming cities. In the middle of nowhere you will be surprised to see an Indian Rail employee who looks like a local farmer, and most likely is one. He may be quietly waving a flag with full sense of purpose having fulfilled the days rail duty. Occasionally there will be children playing or locals just gazing at the wonder of the train lumbering through their regular schedule. So take in the big sites but be sure to admire the everyday living in this exotic and colourful land.
For more on Indian railway travel, see also:
Houseboat Perspective Kerala Southwest India, Part 2
A cruise in southwest India? Kerala, Alleppey, Appaluza, Malabar. Pepper, rubber, spices. Beaches and backwaters. Brackish canals and estuaries. A houseboat perspective is what you need to see this area as a local.
Most people come to this region for the Ayurvedic tourism and boating. Boating? Yes, cruising the waters, kicking back the Kingfisher beers, wallowing in the subtropical warmth, taking in the coconut palms and the candy coloured saris and the rice barges and the swollen paddies and the weathered fishermen. That is what The Venice of India is all about. Get the houseboat perspective and you can take it in on all sides from the open water.
Take a moment to observe life as people go about their daily business of laundry, bathing, transporting, walking, paddling, playing and living.
Monochrome or Kodachrome, no matter how you view it, the houseboat is a good way to travel in Kerala.
For more on a houseboat perspective in Kerala, southern India, see:
Kerala Houseboating, A Water Perspective
Water transport offers lots of opportunities to ogle and gaze and stare and grasp what your neighbours and enemies are up to.
Being on a river, stream, ocean or just about any body of water works as a staging for this type of moving street photography. And travel photography by houseboating is up to the task. People living, loving, crying, enjoying, working, playing, existing in their world, with their world as a backdrop.
For one thing you can get a unique perspective on life around you with a broader, unobstructed, more open view. You do not have to deal with traffic, telephone lines, mind your own business people, angry dogs or any of the other things that get in the way of your little boxed lens and your plan for a contest winning image. This can also be problematic as you may miss something even more interesting than what currently has your attention by the mere fact that so much is going on and available. All eyes on deck, all of them.
People are the same around the world but the different tweeks of life are what is interesting. Children everywhere love playing in water but it is what Indian youngsters do that is fascinating. Everyone has dirty laundry but we do not all hang it out to dry in the subcontinent sun. Many people need to get to work by local transport but we do not all travel by dugout across a series of canals. Drinking water is a universal and basic necessity but we do not collect it by canoe. Street photography by houseboat is a unique and rewarding format.
For more on Kerala and southern India, see:
People of southern India, Kerala Backwaters
Plod through the shallow waters of the Venice of India on a kettuvallum. These are Kerala houseboats- former grain barges converted into people transport. Surely you will see daily life from a water perspective.
Long before roads, these canals were the transport of choice for locals and still are today for many; why go overland with the 900km network of Backwater interconnected canals, rivers, lakes and inlets on your front step? Watch the palm fringed waterways with rice paddy backdrop where coir, jute and rice filled boats compete for space on the waterway. Everyday folks zigzag water traffic from houseboats and local industry just trying to get their daily shopping done.
See you on the waters.
For more on house-boating on the Venice of India, Kerala Backwaters: