Rajasthan is known for the colourful attire of its inhabitants (some say that the more arid the state, the more rainbow-like the clothing) and, as in India as a whole, the vitality and character of its markets and market people. Two of our favorites are the fruit and vegetable and spice markets of old Udaipur and surrounding streets, with hundreds of small but specialist retail shops, which are to be found close to Delhi Gate, and Bapu Bazar. On Tuesday afternoon, we managed to escape from the rigours of equipping the house to indulge ourselves in one of our favourite pursuits.
With just a few words, we let the images paint the picture .
An India of contrasts and striking juxtapositions
A sadhu brings his elephant to the market, to the awe and delight of schoolboys well aware of the divinity of Ganesh, the elephant god.
A few Rupees, put into the elephant’s trunk and passed up to the sadhu, ensure a good reception for the photographer.
The market women sit on the ground surrounded by their produce. The market opens at around 10 am and goes through to after dark.
We have been coming to this market since we visited Udaipur on our first trip to India in 2003. Over the years and a few photos here and there(!), a number of the market women now recognise us and will readily pose for photos; always we try to return with copies for them. Some are more reluctant.
This woman, for example, was keen to have a photo with her bright-eyed young child. John took several on a trip in 2011 and tried to give her prints last year but she was not there. This time, she recognised us and asked to be photographed again. When we returned yesterday, armed not only with the most recent print (above) but also several from 2011, while other women received only one or worse still none, the decibels rose and Felicia feared that John was about to be lynched. Needless to say, John was customarily oblivious – just as well!
Snacks made from batter poured through a sieve into hot fat
Basket weavers in one of the small side streets
Brightly coloured spices
and just about anything else you might fancy
Felicia buying supper
Time for a freshly-squeezed juice
Indians have a very sweet tooth!
Our lovely friend from Udaipur, Deepti, who is in England this year doing a master’s in Development Studies, told us that the fruit and vegetable market is her favourite too; her parents brought her to it when she was young and she was able to select the fruit and vegetables herself.
Another contact here , Paradhi, a keen photographer, told us that she had seen a Facebook posting of the photo of Felicia purchasing vegetables in the market (above); she said that she had never thought of taking photos of the market — for everyone here it is just normal! Of course, but it is this ‘normality’ which makes India such a wonderful place to visit. One man’s normality is another’s adventure.
We’ve been giving thought to a more permanent means of transport, having used the excellent services of a local taxi firm with a very helpful driver, Pakash, who has taken us under his wing. This smart model caught our eye …