Timeless Rajasthan, located in the western region of India is called “The Land of Kings.” The magic of Rajasthan; its rich heritage, colorful culture, glistening sand dunes, amazing lush forests and varied wildlife make it an incredible destination for the outdoor photographer. Cameras will go “trigger happy” with such a wide range of subject matter to photograph; from stunning palaces and forts, fabulous landscapes, tribal men with brightly colored turbans to the woman adorned in beautifully crafted jewelry and sarees that explode with color.
Two Nikon cameras were used; a Nikon D300 with a 18-270 image stabilizer telephoto lens; a Nikon D300 with an 11-18 wide angle lens as a backup camera; A Nikon SB 900 external flash was used for fill light when taking portraits in the bright sunlight. Several compact flash cards of 4-8 Gig capacities were used to capture the images.
By originating in Deli with a driver and a guide it was possible to photograph several areas each day. From Deli to the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan which is situated along the old camel caravan trade routes, a telephoto lens was useful in capturing people in their everyday activities; old men herding sheep and goats, woman carrying large baskets and water pots, camels pulling carts filled with fruits and vegetables and farmers tending to their fields.
Perched on the edge of the Thar Desert, in the heart of rural India, lays unique Khimsar. The Royal castle of Khimsar offers a wide range of photographic opportunities. A wide angle was used to capture the stunning architecture of the castle and a telephoto lens was used to photograph the castles colorfully dressed attendants.
Early morning light offers outstanding photo opportunities at Gadi Sagar Lake. Woman in colorful sarees can be photographed against a background of temples and pavilions filling up large elaborately decorated water pots. In the village of Jaisalmer, a wide angle is useful in capturing the mud-walled desert homes, whose walls are covered with very intricate colorful designs. The people of the village specialize in the making of puppets and are happy to stop and pose for a photograph. Early evening on the sand dunes a telephoto lens is used to capture colorful attired camel drivers as they pose for photographs silhouetted against the beautiful golden desert sunset.
Jaisalmar has plenty to offer the camera. When Maharaji Jai Singh ordered the city of Jaisalmar to be painted pink to welcome the Prince of Wales, he probably never imagined that the city would remain pink even after 150 years. Jaisalmar, home to the most beautiful lands and sand dunes of the Thar Desert offers a wide range of photographic opportunities. Many Hollywood movies have been filmed there. Jaisalmar has a feel of an oasis in the middle of the desert.
An early morning drive to one of the holiest sites in India, Pushkar. This small desert town clings to the side of a beautiful lake with many temples. Pilgrims are constantly visiting Pushkar to bathe in the lake’s holy water. An excellent photo opportunity is to visit the Pushkar Camel Fair.
The Pushkar Camel Fair is an annual five-day camel and livestock fair held in November. It is one of the world’s largest fairs. Men buy and sell their livestock; camels, sheep, goats and horses. The woman sell jewelry, clothes, textiles and fabrics. A camel race starts off the festival with music, song and exhibitions to follow.
A ride on a beautifully bedecked elephant leads to the Amber Fort. Behind high walls are magnificent pavilions and palaces. Early morning is the best time to photograph. A wide-angle lens is used to capture early morning activities as the sun casts a golden glow on the pavilions of the fort.
A visit to India would not be complete without a visit to one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, the Taj Mahal. It was built in 1631 by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to enshrine the remains of his queen Mumtaz Mahal. The white marble memorial of an emperor’s undying love for his queen took 22 years and 20 thousand workers to complete.
The Taj Mahal is located in the city of Agra. A rewarding experience was to stroll through the narrow streets of Agra and photograph people absorbed in their everyday activities. The people were very friendly and were delighted to stop and pose for a photograph.
The best time to visit Rajasthan starts from September to April when the climate is pleasantly warm.
The days spent in Rajasthan photographing the forts and palaces, the rustic and traditional lives of its people, rich colors, ancient temples, cultural performances,
vast desert and sand-dunes will leave you with great images from every location and forever preserve the memories of your amazing journey photographing timeless Rajasthan.