My tour to INCREDIBLE INDIA.
What an incredible oppertunity I got! It litteraly took years, but Januari 2017 it was finaly time. I went on a tour to my dream destination…. Incredible India!
Several years ago I got invited by an Indier who owns his own hotelchain and he offers riding holidays. There where several reasons not to be able to accept the invitation earlier, but this year it was fi-na-ly time! The dreamtour could start!
20 and 21 januari
After a quiet flight we arrive in Jaipur and see our first exotic birds. After we have picked up our suitcases our driver is already waiting for us and waving to us with a note with our names in his hand. As soon as he has picked up his car, we have doubts as to whether it will fit with the suitcases, but with some fitting and measuring we are in the car with our luggage! Before we actually start the ride we are taken to the Mandawa hotel in Jaipur where we have the chance to freshen up before the three hour ride to the Mandawa hotel in Mandawa where we will spend the week.
During the car ride we really look our eyes out! There simply are no traffic rules! All traffic drives criss-cross. Lines are for decoration, the use of your direction indicator is only a suggestion, you do horny to warn others that you are going to do something (without looking, of course) and of course you can easily go with three cars side by side on a two-lane road. No problemo. Furthermore we see a bus going for our nose, dommedarisen with carts on the road, everywhere cows are running loose and it is fascinating to see how many people fit on one scooter. Ooh and on a scooter or motorcycle it is of course not mandatory to wear a helmet. You can also wear a construction helmet or just nothing. After a drive of three and a half hours we arrive in Mandawa, a very nice place to see! We are welcomed by our host and immediately receive a delicious (warm) lunch, that is a good arrival! Meanwhile, our suitcases are carried to our room.
Under the guidance of one of the hotel staff we walk around Mandawa after dinner, on foot this place is even more fun to see! This way we can spot good locations for the shoot in the Haveli. These are beautifully decorated houses. We are also going to take a look at the stables and we may even have a round on those mighty Marwari horses, and I can tell you ….. They are something different than the horses we are used to in the Netherlands! Very forwards (but still good to ride).
Today is the first day with photo sessions. Because during our visit there is also a big festival in the hotel (Taalbelia) it was pretty planned when we could do which photo session in connection with building and breaking down the stages. That is why we start at the castle and we looked for a black stallion and a white fungus for this photo session. What are the pictures together!
At our request, a heavy metal box is brought in which contains this beautiful rig. On this rig they are very economical because it is made of real silver and real gold and they are heirlooms from the family. Normally the gear is only acquired at festivities such as a wedding.
In the afternoon we go to the oasis and the horses can run through the water, what a beautiful sight! After the session with the horses is finished and they go back to the stable, we see all kinds of other wildlife. The most beautiful birds pass by, but we also see a lot of Chipmunks, very nice to see!
Getting up is still difficult! We are about 4 o’clock at night Dutch time. After breakfast we continue to the desert resort, one of the other hotels, this time in beautiful African style. The loamy walls, made of cow dung, give this resort a very different look than the British style of the palace where we stay. While we were busy, a journalist came along who was curious and wanted to know what we were doing. So we are still photographed and we ended up in a newspaper that was distributed throughout Rajasthan. Then we were also recognized as “those Dutch photographers”, very funny.
We also decided to perform the session at the oasis again, this was a nice session. While we wait a while at the water while the horses are taken, we see the most beautiful birds pass by. A beautiful hop, a beautiful Kingfisher and many other colorful small grits. Really a pleasure to stay on the water for a while.
Today we decided to capture the cute foal, what a pity it is! We were also told that this foal is nameless and that it is customary to wait until the foal is about three months old before it gets a name. This has to do with the fact that they want to know the character of the foal well to give a nice and fitting name but also because the chance that the foal does not come through the first three months of his life is still quite big.
After this session we will go on an outside ride, and what an experience that is! I am allowed on the stallion Badal and with the horses we drive through the Rajasthan Desert. At full gallop the sand dunes. Here you notice that these horses have an extra acceleration, what a force in that hindquarters! Wow! Totally tough to be the first to climb up that hill!
in the afternoon there is another session on the schedule. We are going to the sand dunes (where we have been stormed on horseback today) to photograph horses there. The stable help always tells us that we can do a “jump session” there. “Horses will go jump”. So we think that those horses will jump over something, but nothing turned out to be less true. With “jumping” they meant that the horses would go prancing! This was certainly no disappointment, what were they there!
Today there is some time to walk around the city. We get a very nice tour through Mandawa, also called “open art galery”. The guide who takes us with us tells about everything about the houses, who used to live there and who still live there today. He can also tell everything about the paintings and the different Haveli. Very fascinating. He also shows us the nicest shops in the city. Where they have the most beautiful scarves, shoes and paintings for sale. You look your eyes out!
After this walk we had seen a dune further down from the stables and yes, of course we could go there to photograph. We take again the beautiful black stallion and a brown mare. Full of enthusiasm the horses are lunged in front of us and on the sand dune. It remains wonderful to see the power that these horses possess displayed!
Today is a drizzly day, and that makes it too bad for a photo shoot. Instead we make an outside ride (we Dutch are not so dirty from the rain, to some disappointment from the Indians;)). Furthermore, we decide to walk around the city again to see if we can score some more souvenirs for the home front and for ourselves. Scarves, figurines, paintings and shoes are scored.
At the moment we came back from the town we saw that the sky was beginning to clear up, just in time for sunset, we called the stable help quickly and that came immediately rushed so that we could still do a reportage in the stable. The horses were quickly made ready for us and so we could still enjoy a beautiful sunset just behind the barn. And what a picture we could make!