Children in an alley, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2006.
In every city or town I went to, the alleys and back streets consistently proved that the small moments, like encountering these kids, were just as meaningful as the big monuments. Also, they provided a good lesson for the hard moments of the trip as well as something to carry into the future: if children facing as difficult a future as these two probably will can find something to smile about, it shouldn’t be such a big challenge for those of us with much better prospects.
Shashihansa Yantra, Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2006.
Also called the Samrat Jantar, the structure in the photo is a 90-foot-tall triangle sundial. The angle descends at 27 degrees, the latitude of Jaipur, and the cupola at the top was used for announcing monsoons and eclipses.
To summarize what you can learn from a quick Googling, the Jantar Mantar were observatories built around 1730 in five of northern India’s most important cities and used for measuring a multitude of different aspects of the heavens. At the Jaipur Jantar Mantar, which translates as “chanting instrument,” there are fourteen structures hewn from local stone, marble and bronze that are still accurate to within 60 seconds.
I wasn’t overly impressed with Jaipur, but the amazing Jantar Mantar was well worth it.
Five women and a man at the local bazaar, Nawalgarh, Rajasthan, India. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2006.
Indian bazaars are well known for their explosions of color, but I’m fond of this photo because, despite the mix of colors and their intensity in the midday sun, it has certain understated quality to it. That could also be the creepy guy on the right, though.
Mural of woman admiring herself, Hotel Mandawa haveli, Mandawa, Rajasthan, India. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2006.
The murals adorning the havelis of the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan are remarkable because they depict not just the maharajas and favored deities of the time, but also scenes from daily life. Some of these show airplanes and cars, fantastical concepts that the painters had never seen and, surprisingly, accurately painted, based only on verbal descriptions.
Others, like this woman preening in front of her mirror, were more subtle in their subject matter, but no less unusual for it. Haveli walls had previously been reserved for the grandiose, so expending effort on the mundane was a revolutionary idea in art deemed acceptable for the wealthy haveli owners.
Bhagton-ki-Haveli balconies, Nawalgarh, Rajasthan, India. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2006.
Although the murals painted on to the havelis in northern Rajasthan may be unusual and unique to the area, the havelis themselves were not. They were, however, well preserved by the desert winds and sands, and so many buildings – like the Bhagton-ki-Haveli – still stand, their symmetrical beauty for all to admire but for the smallest of “donations”.
Samosa shop during a power outage, Nawalgarh, Rajasthan, India. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2006.
This fried munchies shop in the nearly microscopic town of Nawalgarh served up the best samosas the FMA and I had during our two-plus months in India. Blackouts in these were a daily occurrence except in the biggest of cities, but wide doorways kept the bright sunlight shining in, and a combination of gas burners and charcoal kept the kitchen fires burning.
A teenager and her brothers, Mandawa, Rajasthan, India. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2006.
You might think I’m joking, but the reason I met this young lady and her family has everything to do with milk, homemade milk. It was the first time that I’d had milk fresh-squeezed, as it were, and also the first time that I met the cow responsible for my continuing health. Read more