Posts tagged: Jantar Mantar

India: Wandering Aimlessly In Jaipur

By , May 23, 2011 2:30 am
Colorful Camels

Colorful Camels

Looking for a hotel seems to be getting more and more difficult for us each time we arrive in a new city. As we consult travel guides, the recommended hotels are conveniently located nearby train stations, but there is no other appeal. In Jaipur, we end up walking for hours looking for a midrange accommodation. Is it too much to ask for a clean hotel that is moderately priced in India?

Old Building

Old Building

Exhausted but not willing to give up, I go on my own to look for the best place for my Frenchie. Two hours later, I return with just that. I find a business hotel in Jaipur with a friendly professional staff that is willing to negotiate with me.  It is heaven to step inside a nice hotel with clean white sheets, new bathroom, and free wifi. Maybe the dirtiness in India is starting to get to us after all.

Room @ Hotel Le Grand

Room @ Hotel Le Grand

Bathroom @ Hotel Le Grand

Bathroom @ Hotel Le Grand

In the mornings, we get breakfast at the hotel next door, owned by the same owner. It is nice to have fresh squeezed juice and sit outside by the garden with no agenda. The restaurant employees are mostly Nepalese. It is the first time we meet a Nepalese and I find myself starting at them in adoration. They look Chinese at first, but their other physical features indicate they are not. I talk to them about Nepal and learn that they still live there, but come to India to work because there are more jobs here. They live in India for most of the year and then return to Nepal to visit their family. They are so friendly and wonderful to meet that it makes me want to visit Nepal even more.

Coconut Leaves

Coconut Leaves

In Jaipur, there are a few sightseeing activities to do, but with the recent loss of my friend, I feel no desire to move. Boris gets me out to go do some walking around in the bazaars and visit the Jantar Mantar to see astronomical instruments built by a lover of architecture and astronomy.  Also in this area, there are a few buildings to admire. The pink facade of Hawa Mahal, part of the City Palace, is pretty unique. From afar, you can see Amber Fort.

Hawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal

Architecture @ Jantar Mantar

Architecture @ Jantar Mantar

Beautiful Street With Shops

Beautiful Street With Shops

My favorite spot turns out to be a popular local destination to hangout and admire the Jal Mahal, a water palace. There are lots of families here and we notice the large number of colorfully dressed females walking together in groups. Our rickshaw driver informs us it is a festival for women and we think he is referring to the Gangaur Festival. I recommend coming straight to this part of the city as the air is better, it is more peaceful, and there are many shops, restaurants, and hotels scattered nearby.

Jal Mahal

Jal Mahal

Single And Married Ladies All Dressed Up Together

Single And Married Ladies All Dressed Up Together

More pictures of Jaipur.

Stairwell @ Jantar Mantar

Stairwell @ Jantar Mantar

Planet Locator @ Jantar Mantar

Planet Locator @ Jantar Mantar

Small Fruit Market

Small Fruit Market

Shopping Alley

Shopping Alley

Rickshaw In Front Of Minaret

Rickshaw In Front Of Minaret

Vegetarian Thali With Dosas

Vegetarian Thali With Dosas

What We Paid: INR USD Euro
– Sleeping train from Jaisalmer to Jaipur 2d class with AC 950/pp 21.10 14.90
– Private double room @ Hotel Le Grand [very nice and clean, AC, Wifi, recommend, bargain hard as prices start at 4500 for a double] 1500/double 33.40 23.50
– Sankalp Taste Of South chain restaurant 145/pp 3.22 2.27
– Mc Donalds Mc Chicken Meal 75/pp 1.67 1.17
– Breakfast @ Hotel Palms 95/pp 2.11 1.49
– Jantar Mantar entrance fee 100/pp 2.23 1.57
– Camera fee @ Jantar Mantar 50 1.11 0.78
– Auto Rickshaw for an hour 150/ride 3.34 2.35

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

India: Meeting Photographer Vikas Dutt In Delhi

By , May 9, 2011 12:00 am
Photographers Vikas Dutt & Vishal Arora

Photographers Vikas Dutt & Vishal Arora

Before I started this world tour, I decided that it would be a great opportunity for me to learn photography. I purchased a DSLR, a couple decent lenses, and accessories. Then from reading blogs, I learned the basics of photography. Months later, I believe my pictures got a little better but I still felt like there was a lot to learn and why not from people that are better than me.

With this goal in mind, I started to search for professional photographers in India. Only one caught my eye and it was photographer, Vikas Dutt, from New Delhi. I immediately sent him an e-mail asking if he would meet with me to discuss photography and maybe go on a photowalk together. To my surprise, Vikas Dutt replied to me and after a few e-mail exchanges, I had an appointment to meet with him in New Delhi.

I was ecstatic at the idea of spending some time with a famous photographer. On top of that, his talented colleague, Vishal Arora, joins us. We meet at a coffee shop and discuss photography and traveling. Then they take me on a 2-hour photowalk through two of the most visually interesting places in Delhi.

Our first stop is at Jantar Mantar, one of the 5 astronomical observatories built in India during the 18th century. It is composed of enormous sculptures that are actually scientific instruments that measure the movement of the sun and other planets. The red color and the various shapes are perfect to try the techniques I learn from Vikas Dutt. The main advice I will always remember is: “When taking a picture, I try to imagine what people usually shoot and I need to make sure my photo is nothing like that.”

As much as possible, I try to apply these tips and my pictures turn out to be much different from what I would have gotten on my own. In my post-processing, I also try to be a little more creative. You will tell me what you think.

Staircase

Staircase

Astrological Structure

Astrological Structure

Astrological Measuring Tool

Astrological Measuring Tool

Perspective

Perspective

To The Sun

To The Sun

Stairway To Heaven

Stairway To Heaven

Next, we go to a beautiful spot hidden from the tourists. Agrasen Ki Baoli is an ancient well that is now a hangout spot for youngsters. This is where I get to practice the second valuable advice from Vikas Dutt: “When I go take architecture pictures, I always spend a few minutes trying to understand what was in the designer’s mind. Once I think I got it, I try to capture the details that were important to the designer and what other people don’t always catch.”

Agrasen Ki Baoli

Agrasen Ki Baoli

Ancient Well

Ancient Well

Couple Hanging Out

Couple Hanging Out

Light Inside Agrasen Ki Baoli

Light Inside Agrasen Ki Baoli

Dry Cleaner Ironing

Dry Cleaner Ironing

Clothesline

Clothesline

Grandmother & Granddaughter

Grandmother & Granddaughter

I can’t thank Vikas Dutt and Vishal Arora enough for being so nice to me, spending time showing me around, and sharing with me their experience and tips. I am hoping this will help improve my skills and creativity, but most of all, I am very happy to have met the two of you. Hopefully, our paths will cross again, either in India, in Europe or in the United States.

Admire the work of Vikas Dutt on his website: http://www.vikasdutt.com

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