INDIA, Jan. 2009


Photos © Ruud Leeuw

Our very first visit to India... At the airport of New Delhi we were met by a chauffeur and he drove us through Rajasthan. After visits to Jaipur and Pushkar, we took to the road again for Udaipur. It was the first stop where we would stay two nights instead of one.

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After a disturbed night and a cold start at Pushkar (but an excellent breakfast), we were pleased to find the sun warming quickly. The nights are cold. We settled in for the six hour drive to Udaipur. We soon became engrossed in the fascinating scenery outside again.


Rajasthan The sun is out but it takes a while to drive away the cold of the night, so people can shed their jackets.


Rajasthan A young goat herder takes things easy.

All these photos were taken from the car while driving. Speed bumps in villages work well to slow traffic down.

I could take photos left and right from me, from the car.
But sometimes I found the subject on the road behind us...
This made aiming the camera from the backseat a little more difficult.
But time to stop, and spent time in the villages we passed, simply wasn't there.
Note the layers the women wear, large shawls are used to dress warmly.

Rajasthan The countryside turned distinctly desert-like, less villages and the roads became simpler (two lanes).

Take a break...
We passed through another town, which traded extensively in marble.
This camel seems to be on a break...

Marble in Rajasthan


Bricks are in India probably more common building materials than marble these days; we saw bricks being baked in huge quantities.



Overloaded trucks
Using sacks the trucks can be loaded with even more goods..

Watch for the big trucks
Those heavy loaded trucks can appear from out of nowhere. They are lumbering juggernauts, filling up your entire windscreen and taking right of way..
Our driver did a good job negotiating these behemoths, but it slows you down a lot.


Pigs who wants them 'Nobody' eats pig meat, but can anyone tell me why I saw so many?
To be on the safe side we stuck to a vegetarian diet; no hardship as Indian dishes taste excellent.
Busses and trucks aplenty on the roads, but sometimes you see them beside the road... The road accidents I noticed during our stay often involved a truck, sometimes just one truck.

The road network seems to cope with the growing number of vehicles, but as soon as one arrives in a major city one is slowed down to a crawl because of the congested traffic.
But these problems are not new: by the Mughal period there was such hectic traffic on the roads, that a watchman was appointed and each road was guarded for the safety of travellers...
In Bihar, south-east of Patna is a road, in a place called Rajgir, which was built by a ruler called Bimbisara... in the 6th century BC! And it is still in use!
In all ancient texts, travel is mentioned. Some refer to the many elephants and caravan loads that travelled and some others mention the route they took.



Women are often involved in roadworks, earning a few rupees while the work on the land is finished or out of season.
We were often driving at too high a speed to make a photo of people working on the roads, but here the speed was somewhat reduced due to climbing a pass through mountainous terrain and though slightly blurred I found I had to include it in a tribute to the hardworking women in India.


Rajasthan Our driver had trouble finding diesel fuel for his car and stopped at many fuelstations, only to find them closed or without diesel. By the sixth or seventh attempt he found himself (and us!) lucky. About time too, as with increased worry I had noticed his fuellight had been on for quite a few kilometers.

35 rupees is less than 60 euro cents, noted for history.. At home it is around 95 - 105 euro cents

Roads in Rajasthan In all fairness: we seldomly saw roads so bad.. But they never heard of drainage that is for sure.

India has a vast network of national highways that cover the length and breadth of the country. India has a total of 65,569 km of highways. The longest National Highway is NH 7, which goes from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to the southernmost tip of India, Kanyakumari in Tamilnadu. It covers a distance of 2369 kms. One of India's very famous highway projects is the Golden Quadrilateral Highway Project, connecting India's four metropolitan cities, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkatta and Chennai.



The variety of transports is endless...
That strange vehicle is a taxi, it looks homemade but in this region we saw them more often.



Variety of transportation There was even the occasional -decorated- elephant on the road.




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