Sunday, January 13, 2013

Jaipur, India - Inner City (part 1)

Jaipur (the pink city) is located in Northern India.  The city was founded in 1727 and is home to over 3.5 million people.  The original city is surrounded by a huge wall, nearly 20 feet high and 10 feet thick.  Seven gates allow passage in and out of the city and at one time, they were locked each night and reopened in the morning.

Inside the gates, the city takes on a unique flavour.  I don't think words can quite describe the energy of this place. It's overwhelming; like standing in the eye of a tornado.  Cars, trucks, buses, bicycles, motorcycles, goats, camels, cows, people, you name it ... all moving at different paces, horns blasting, jammed between one another, swerving in and out, like salmon swimming upstream.  The air is thick with exhaust from a sea of vehicles and the sounds levels make conversation challenging without raising your voice.

Motorbikes and scooters are one of the most popular modes of transportation.  The roads are filled with them and I have seen street vendors sell helmets like they are an everyday item.

Here, a family shares a scooter for transportation.  I have seen an entire family of five on a single motorbike!

Despite the noise and chaos, people seem genuinely happy.  When people notice my camera, they smile and quite happy to have their pictures taken.

The streets are very crowded and it's difficult to move about.  One might expect that kindness might be the first casualty in a society so densely populated, but that is not the case.  I make eye contact with almost anyone, smile and they light up with a genuine return smile;  it's really quite incredible.  In all of this chaos, people are walking up to me and struggling to make contact, communicating with broken english, or speaking in Hindi with many hand gestures.

A young girl in a Rickshaw style taxi looks at me with curiosity as I point my camera in her direction.

If the chaos below isn't enough, the city above offers more!  Wires strung in ever direction serve as a jungle for wild monkeys that swing from cables like trees in a forest.

Raaj and I arrive in the market area and begin our walk around.  The market is a sea of colour with vendors selling fruits, vegetables, gifts, jewelry and clothing. Seen here is a vendor with his cart of assorted nuts.

Stay tuned for PART TWO

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