The year was 1988 and I was going to India. That is a staggering 24 years ago and still the image of the Taj Mahal stays in my memory. It is one of the wonders of the world and rightly so. I will never forget the overwhelming feeling of awe as I stood and gazed at it. It is so much bigger than photos can depict, you can see the small figures in front of it. The splendour of the marble and inlaid gems sparkle and then the beautiful love story that inspired the building of this monument. Shah Jahan dedicated it to his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
It was sunset when I first saw it, then next morning at dawn I went again. It was totally different, the mist swirled around and created a mystical image that I tried to capture on film. It was before digital cameras so it was weeks before I could get the film developed. Even though photos do not do justice to this breath-taking building it still triggers my memory and takes me back 24 years and I can feel the atmosphere and aura that surrounded the whole area.
This is the importance of photos to keep your memories alive.These photos have been scanned from the original photos that are now becoming a bit faded. I have so many albums of travel and family photos that I enjoy looking through. I think as I get older I find looking back an enjoyable pastime.
During my 3 week stay in India I rode. a camel for 4 days across the Thar desert in Rajasthan. Explored the magnificent cities of Jaisalmeer, Jodhpur and Jaipur. Biked from Jaipur to Agra. Finally rowed down the Ganges from Alahbad to Varanasi. I feel quite exhausted just thinking of it.
I took all the film back to New Zealand to be developed and the excitment of going through them was reliving the adventure again. Now with blogging I am reliving the experiance again…
Notice the cushion and sheep skin on the saddle? About half the other trekkers ended up riding on the camel carts, laying on their stomaches with very sore backsides. The camel has a very uncomfortable gait. I gave my sheep skin to the camel boy who rode with me, singing and happy for the 4 days. It was the first trek for my camel, he had been retired from a previous life of racing. He wanted to take off for the finish line as soon as he felt some one on his back, so I was always the last person to mount up and Raja had to be held down by 3 camel boys until I was aboard. I loved it. The other camels, being seasoned trekkers, just stood or lay around till the command to go was given.
We rode 6 to 8 hours each day then in the evening it was eating, dancing and singing around a fire till we crawled into our tents.
The other thing that stays forever in the memory is the sound and smell of India. These amazing trucks, often gaily decorated in garlands and flowers, are driven with the hand on the horn all the time. The trucks have right of passage on the roads and every thing else must give way. The only exception is the cow, they are sacred and every one gives way to them. They some times lay down in the middle of the road causing traffic chaos, but that is India…
When I finally picked my photos up from the developer it was this one that became my favourite.