The People, The Food, The Temples ................... Les Gens, La Nourriture, Les Temples.................

Some Photos from 2005 to 2019..... Quelques Photos de 2005 à 2019

2020, trip cancelled....... 2020, voyage annulé

Introduction image
+33 6 06 61 60 60
Last update / Dernière mise à jour 29/06/2019

See below or click on a link above for some of my Indian photographic memories from 2005 to the present day.
Voyez en bas ou cliquez sur un lien en haut pour une sélection de souvenirs photographiques de 2005 à aujourd'hui.

Contacts :
Toby is no longer on Facebook
Tobywhitfeld on Instagram

Villages ESPOIR on Facebook  

Volunteers for Rural India 
Vikki Kumar, Hotel manager and guide in Rishikesh, on Facebook. 


I now have my flights booked for this year's trip. 

I leave Paris on June 20th and return on July 31st

The itinerary this year has not yet been determined  but will probably not include any places I haven't been to before  unless I manage to get to Lucknow or possibly Shimla.

I intend to spend my birthday on 22 July in Laxman Jhula. 
Look out for updates in the next few weeks  ..........

Previously :
Itinerary from 6 March to 17 April 2018

Paris - Delhi
Flight AI 142 CDG T2C @ 21:30 on Tuesday 6 March to DEL T3 @ 10:00 on Wednesday 7 March

Delhi - Udaipur
Flight AI 471 DEL T3 @ 13:10 on Wednesday 7 March to UDR @ 14:20

1 month in Udaipur to try to improve my Hindi.
Classes with Manish Paliwal

Up to Laxman Jhula to see Vikki Kumar

Dehra Dun - Delhi
Flight AI 9646 DED @ 07:45 on Sunday 15 April to DEL T3 @ 08:45

Back to Delhi for 2 nights with my good friend Ravi Paliwal

Delhi - Paris
Flight AI 143 DEL T3 @ 13:05 on Tuesday 17 April to CDG T2C @ 18:00 on Same Day

Previously :

Itinerary from 21 March to 19 April 2017
Périple du 21 mars au 19 avril 2017
21 March – Leave Perpignan @  05:40 on TGV6204 to Paris Gare de Lyon arrive 10:45
21 March – Flight from Paris CDG Airport @ 21:30 on Air India AI 142 to DEL, arrive 22 March 10:00.
22 March - Flight from Delhi DEL @ 11:00 on Air India AI 75 to Bhubaneshwar BBI arrive @ 13:00
One week visiting "Tuku" Sovakar Behera's Greenlife Rural Association in Gundalaba Village near Puri, Odisha

Tuku ji

28th March – Leave BBI @ 09:55 Air India AI 78 to DEL, arrive 12:20
3 days in Delhi to visit my friend Ravi and also the India Photo Archive Foundation
31st March Delhi to Udaipur on night train Merwar Exp from Nizamuddin arriving @ about 07:30 1st April
Visiting various friends - Pamu and family, Rikhil, Ravi, Rakesh....

4th April leave Udaipur on 18:15 hrs Merwar Exp 12964 for Delhi Nizamuddin with Pamu, berths A2/38 & 40, arr 06:35hrs then on 11:00 hrs Bl Haridwar Exp 12911, berths A1/32 & 34 to Haridwar arriving 16:35 hrs 5th April
Bus to Rishikesh / Laxman Jhula
Stay at Mango Tree Guest House, Lakman Jhula

15 April - Leave Rishikesh on bus to Haridwar then train @ 14:55 to Chandausi arriving that evening 19:45
(Not very happy with this travel option, currently looking for alternatives)
16th and 17th at Amarpurkashi (APK)

18th April - Leave APK via bus to Moradabad then to Delhi MB – DLI @ 12:25 arr 15:20 25036 Rmr Dli Link Ex
19 April - Leave Delhi DEL @ 13:15 Air India AI 143 for Paris CDG to arrive same day @ 18:55
One night in Paris as the Intercity night train to Perpignan no longer operates.
20th April Paris to Perpignan on tgv 6217 carriage 8, seat 81 at 18:07 arriving @ 23:18

LAST YEAR, 2016 :
Proposed itinerary from 20 January to 3 March 2016
Périple provisoire du 20 janvier au 3 mars 2016
18 Jan – Leave Perpignan 12:15. Eurolines. Arrive Barcelona 16:15
Hostel : Black Swan,
19 Jan – Leave Hostel Black Swan by Metro Arc de Triomph to Sants, then Sants to Airport.
19 Jan - Leave Barcelona 14:00. BA (Iberia) IB4681, arrive LGW North Terminal 19 Jan @ 15:20
Transfer LGW from South Terminal lower forecourt, stops 1 to 5, to LHR terminal 5 (by National Express JL 707) 16:05 to 17:00
19 Jan – Leave LHR Terminal 5 @ 21:00. BA 0199, arrive Bombay 20 Jan @ 11:15
Bombay to GOI by Air India @ 16:20, AI 661, arrive 17:30
Need pick-up at GOI
Jan 26th or 27th Cancona to Gokarna Non-res or by Bus

Feb 2 - GOK 18:40 to Lokmanya Tilak 06:35. Matsyaganda Exp 12620 S10 43 UB
Feb 2 - Lokmanya Tilak to Bandra Terminus 8.5km Rickshaw
Feb 2 - Bandra Terminus on Bdts Aii Udz Ex 12995 15:45 to UDZ 03 Feb @ 08:55 S4 35 UB

Stay in Udaipur making local trips till 14th, then head north to (Jodhpur, Rat Temple, Mt Abu)

Feb 19 – Leave Bikaner 17:00 for Haridwar 09:15 by BME HW Link Exp 24888 S6/8 SU
Feb 20 - Arrive Rishikesh (by Taxi) 20th 11:00
Feb 27 - Leave Haridwar on 27th @ 14:53 to CH 19:45 on 14114 Link Exp S6/70 UB
Feb 28 & 29 @ APK
March 1 Moradabad to Delhi MB – DLI @ 12:25 arr 15:20 25036 Rmr Dli Link Ex D15/49 window (Upr Samprk K Ex 15036)
March 2 Delhi 07:05 Terminal 1D to Bombay by Goair G8 330
March 2 13:15. BA 0198, arrive LHR 17:40.
12 hours stop-over
March 3 - Leave LHR 06:20 BA (Iberia) IB 7471, arrive BCN 09:20.
March 3 Eurolines or Train 13:00 to Perpignan 16:30.

Previous year, 2015 :
L'année d'avant, 2015 :
8 Jan 2015 - Leave Paris 21:30hrs. Air India AI 142 CDG to DEL, arrive 9 Jan @ 10:05
Lunch in Delhi with my friend Ravi
 Ravi 2014
then later that day :
9 Jan - Del to Tvr AI 48 @ 18:05, arrive Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kerala @ 22:40 hrs.5 nights in Trivandrum (new to me). 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 Jan.
14 Jan - Trivandrum to Kollam, Kerala - 65 km, probably by bus.2 nights in Kollam. (new to me). 14, 15 Jan.
16 Jan - Kollam to Alappuzha (Alleppey), Kerala - 80 km, probably by bus.2 nights in Alleppey. 16, 17 Jan.
18 Jan - Alleppey to Kochi (Cochin) on a 2 night Houseboat ride (new to me) 60 km to Kochi. 18, 19 Jan.
20 Jan, arrive Kochi, hope to meet up with my friend Shahir Alazhar, rickshaw driver who loves singing Charles Aznavour songs !!!3 nights in Kochi. 20, 21, 22 Jan.
Shahir 201223 Jan - Kochi to Mangalore, Karnataka - 420 km Night train from Ernakulam jcn ERS on Rajdhani Express 12431 @ 22:35, arriving Mangalore jcn MAJN @ 05:30 on 24 Jan @ 05:302 nights in Mangalore. (new to me). 24, 25 Jan.
26 Jan - Mangalore to Gokarna Karnataka - 300 km by Madgaon Passenger 56640 from MAJN @ 06:12, arriving GOK @ 10:106 nights on the beach and in the region of Gokarna. (new to me). The goal here is to swim, relax and eat simple Indian food. 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 Jan.
1 Feb - Gokarna to Galgibag beach in South Goa - 85 km by Madgaon Passenger 56640 from GOK @ 11:11, arriving Cancona CNO @ 11:378 nights around Galgibag / Patnem / Chaudi - the relaxation continues. Room booked at Santosh's on the beach at Galgibag - fish curry and lobster in view. Probably visit Organic Farm, Old Goa etc. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Feb. 
Santosh in 2006
9 Feb - Goa to Hampi, Karnataka by night bus - 360 km, arriving morning of 10 Feb.4 nights in Hampi, Rocks, Sunrises, Temples, Sunsets. 10, 11, 12, 13 Feb.

 Hampi in 2006

Hampi in 2007

14 Feb - Hampi to Aurangabad, Maharashtra. Travel 14/15 night via Hospet to Hyderabad / Secunderabad - 530 km. by KOP HYB Express from HPT @ 19:00 to HYB arriving 06:45, then SC by Devagiri Exppress 17058 @ 12:25, arriving at AWB @ 23:20 - 505 km (maybe find a direct night bus instead) 3 nights in Aurangabad. Visit to Ellora Caves, and possibility to visit Ajanta Caves. 15, 16, 17 Feb.

Ellora 2007

18 Feb - Aurangabad to Sanawad / Omkareswar, Narmada River, Madhya Pradesh (new to me) - 315 km. Arrive 19th am. Stopping at Maheshwar, Omkareswar. See Google Images.4 or 5 nights exploring 100 km of the Narmada River 19, 20, 21, 22 Feb.
23 Feb - Omkareswar to Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on night train or bus (route to be determined).3 nights in Varanasi (Benares) on the river Ganges.This is the most holy city in India. It's also the home of my godson Vikki Kumar.

Aarti Puja, Varanasi, 2012

Vikki Kumar 2006

28 Feb - Varanasi to Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh - 330 km, by Farakka Express 13413 @ 11:20 arriving at CNB @ 21:05.1 night in Kanpur, not my favourite city, but where my good friends Aman and Sheeti live with there baby daughter Aashi (who I have yet to see).

Aman & Sheeti's marriage 2011

Sheeti Shukl Bajpai 2011

1 March - Kanpur to Amarpurkashi (APK), by Sangam Express 14163 @ 21:25 - arrive Chandausi 05:30 on 2 March - 300 km2 nights 2, 3 March in APK, the rural health and education project run by Mukat and Jyoti Singh. They inspired me to set up my association, Villages ESPOIR.

APK village 2007

APK market 2008

4 March - APK to Delhi via Moradabad - 190 km. RMR DLI LINK Express 25036, @ 12.25 Arrive 15:201 night in Delhi. 4 March
5 March - Delhi to Paris. Arrive Paris 18:30 on 5 March
5 March - Paris to Perpignan on night train 21:56 - arrive 07:20 6 March (back to reality).

Photos by/par :
+33 6 06 61 60 60
Last update / Dernière mise à jour 01/05/2019
  • Perpignan, Languedoc-Roussillon, France



... the story begins in Delhi

Read More  
Chilar Game Reserve

Chilar Game Reserve

Relaxing, but not a lot of wildlife...

Read More  
Rishikesh & Laxman Jhula

Rishikesh & Laxman Jhula

Land of Yoga, Meditation and Chillums

Read More  
Dharamshala & Mcleod Ganj

Dharamshala & Mcleod Ganj

Home of the Dalai Lama in Exile

Read More  
One month in rural India

One month in rural India

on an educational / health project in the village of Amarpurkashi (APK) in Uttar Pradesh

Read More  
A few days in Varanasi

A few days in Varanasi

Also known as Benares, Banaras or Kashi

Read More  
Hampi via Mumbai (Bombay)

Hampi via Mumbai (Bombay)

I really don't like big Indian cities. But sometimes you have to pass through them to get somewhere really worthwhile.

Read More  
To Cochin and the backwaters via Mysore

To Cochin and the backwaters via Mysore

In particularly the area of Fort Kochi, a favourite destination.

Read More  
Varkala, Madurai & Pondicherry

Varkala, Madurai & Pondicherry

Pondicherry or Puducherry is a former French Trading Post

Read More  


A pleasant surprise

Read More  
Buddhist caves at Ajunta and Ellora

Buddhist caves at Ajunta and Ellora

Using Aurangabad as a base, and visiting Aurangabad caves and Bi-Bi ka Maqbara

Read More  


Home of the Taj Mahal

Read More  
Into Rajasthan

Into Rajasthan

Starting with Jaipur, then on to Pushkar, Jaisalmer, Jodhphur, Udaipur and Bundi, then to Orcchha in Madhiya Pradesh for some more amazing monuments

Read More  
Cross-country to Odisha (formerly Orissa)

Cross-country to Odisha (formerly Orissa)

In the tiny village of Gundalaba, I stayed on a turtle protection project and witnessed turtles laying eggs on the beach at 2am

Read More  
Ramnagar Village, Bihar

Ramnagar Village, Bihar

Staying in a village without electricity, or running water.

Read More  


Can't seem to keep away...

Read More  
Greenlife Rural Association

Greenlife Rural Association

In a tiny coastal village in Odisha

Read More  
Bapu Kuti Ashram

Bapu Kuti Ashram

Ghandi ji's last official residence

Read More  


Without the night clubs and lager louts

Read More  


Rocks, Temples, Sunrises, Sunsets................. my kind of place.........

Read More  


With its amazing Golden Temple

Read More  
Arrival in Delhi

Arrival in Delhi

... then on to Varanasi as fast as possible

Read More  
On to The East Coast via Bihar

On to The East Coast via Bihar

to the village of Gundalaba, not far from Puri. This is where my friend Tuku-ji runs Greenlife Rural Association, for the protection of Turtles

Read More  
Amarpurkashi and Kanpur

Amarpurkashi and Kanpur

A quick stop in each of these places

Read More  
Aman and Sheeti's Wedding in Kanpur

Aman and Sheeti's Wedding in Kanpur

If my friends Aman and Sheeti didn't live in Kanpur, I would never go there !

Read More  
Amarpurkashi and Chandausi

Amarpurkashi and Chandausi

Back again, for a flying visit

Read More  


This time with my friend Tuku ji from Greenlife Rural Associaition

Read More  
Turtle Conference in Mahabalipuram

Turtle Conference in Mahabalipuram

(formerly Mamalapuram). With Tuku ji representing Greenlife Rural Association

Read More  
Udaipur, Rajasthan

Udaipur, Rajasthan

Still a favourite destination

Read More  


A nephew of one of my good friends in UK was getting married in Goa when I was there.......

Read More  
19/12/2012 - 05/02/2013
Goa December 2012

Organic Spice Farm, Goa

Other Goan Produce

Kochi, including the First Indian Biennale Art Festival January 2013

Biennale Art Festival

Munnar Tea Plantations, Kerala

Chinnar Nature and Wildlife Reserve, Kerala

Bidar, Karnataka

Hyderabad, Telangana

Varanasi, or Benares, Uttar Pradesh

Udaipur, Rajasthan

Diu, Gujarat

Veraval, Gujarat

Somnath, Gujarat

Flying Home from Mumbai

17/12/2013 - 26/02/2014

In my favourite breakfast bar

Early morning on Lake Pichola

Street Performer (unofficial)

Inviting.... not !!

Reading the Sunday Papers

Hello !!   Give me 5 rupees please....

House for Sale.... incase you can't read Hindi

2015 image
08/01/2015 - 05/03/2015
Left Paris 21:30hrs 08/01/15.
Arrived Delhi on Friday morning. Just enough time to take a cab from the airport to have a quick snack and a chai with Ravi before heading back to the airport for my flight south that was delayed 3 and a half hours
Arrived eventually in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 2am 10 Jan. 2015

Enfin arrivé à Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala à 02 hr janvier 10 2015
Later that morning, a day in Trivandrum with Sue and Monique, then back to Varkala where they were staying (40 min train ride, standing room only).

Popcorn - the Universal Snack

First night in deluxe hotel, then moved to budget accommodation.

After a healthy fruit salad, muesli and yogurt breakfast, I went to the quieter north end of the beach to reserve a bungalow-style hut for 12th & 13th.

On the north beach away from the crowds.

A good village atmosphere with the local fishermen.

It takes a dozen men 30 minutes to pull in the nets........

.......when you see what they caught, you wonder why they bother...

This guy threw a hook and line into the sea from the beach and caught a decent size fish in 5 minutes

Started my "collection" of Ambassadors immediately on arrival in Varkala.
Just found out they stopped manufacturing these cars in 2014...... the end of an era.  It was based on the 1956 Morris Oxford Series 3

Pleased to rediscover the delicious South Indian food.

Varkala to Kollam, for a short canoe trip on the backwaters.

Pause for fresh coconut milk

Another Ambassador for the collection.

Kollam to Amritapuri Ashram by backwaters ferry boat

The Ashram is on the other side of a backwater from a traditional, small Indian village, and is anything but traditional, with its high-rise accommodation packed with visitors and residents from around the world.

The high-rise ashram

Bridge built to evacuate the Ashram in case of emergency

Amma, the hugging guru was not due to return from Chennai till the following week, so the Ashram was relatively quiet.

Amritapuri to Alappuzha (Alleppey).
Sunset on the beach.

Mosque on Alappuzha Canal

Another Ambassador in fine condition

Staying cool in Alappuzha

Alleppey to Fort Kochi for the Asian Biennale Art Festival.

Some what disappointing compared with 2 years ago, but one or two pieces that caught my eye, or at least look interesting when photographed.

Poem by Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller turned into a piece of art

Giant crab made from waste plastic

35° C in Fort Kochi, and feeling chilli

Happy to see Shahir once again, and listen to his renditions of Charles Aznavour songs

Shahir and his 2 sons

More simple and good local cuisine, often in colonial settings

The daily fish auction by the Chinese fishing nets at Vasco da Gama square

Another simple South Indian breakfast - paratha, potato sabji and chai

Making paratha, or parotha, or porotha

Love Boat

Cochin has high population of Christians and one of the best levels of literacy in India

You're never far from fishing boats, coconuts and the backwaters...

....and Ambassadors

Fort Kochi to Alleppey for one night on houseboat.

First night un-scheduled at Riverside Cottage as the houseboat trip was delayed by one day.

The lower deck is a large living area with a kitchen, staffed by two excellent chefs.

The upper deck has a large bedroom, bathroom and small terrace.

Omelette, paratha, toast, pineapple and chai for breakfast.

And a copious lunch...

From Fort Kochi, via Ernakulam railway station to Goa, arriving at 5am at Canacona in South Goa, then to Talpona beach. Would have been idyllic, but I had picked up a viral asthmatic bronchitis in the train, and was not at my best for the 10 days in Goa.

Talpona Beach

Talpona beach - NOT the most crowded beach in Goa...!!!

Lucky escape !! A bunch of 15 coconuts falls just beside Magali.

At the north end of Palolem beach you can take a boat ride on the river. Very peaceful, and well worth doing

Goa to Hampi by night bus - extremely uncomfortable !!

Hampi is the land of temples, palm trees and boulders

Egg curry and naan bread, difficult to beat !

Paneer masala and naan bread, Puri sabji with coconut chutney

Crossing my legs, crossing my fingers...


"Ruby" impersonating Hanuman

Gray Langur or Hanuman Langur. Friendly but very cheeky monkey !

Preparing the batter for idlis

Idli with Samba and Chutney

Only in India could you find toilet paper called "Supreme" and "Passion"

Rickshaw driver Jilan

3m high Shiva Lingam

Underground Temple

Elephant Stables in the Royal Enclosure

Stepped Tank (for drinking water)

The Queen's Bath

Paddy Fields

Invited by complete strangers to join in their roadside picnic. The generosity of these people is very touching.

Hampi to Aurangabad by train

Reservations printed and pasted to corresponding carriages.

Then Bibi-ka-Maqbara, Ellora Caves, and Ajanta Caves by local buses

Bibi-ka-Maqbara : The poor man's Taj


Ellora market


.....and back to Aurangabad by bus

Aurangabad to Omkareshwar (whatever you do, don't go there) & Maheshwar (wonderful !!)
3 nights by the Narmada River
In the filthy dirty town of Omkareshwar, Magali still managed to take a beautiful photo !!

We were invited to join evening Puja with a group who meet every evening at sun-down

There is a wonderful "old-world" feeling in Maheshwar. Perhaps like Varanasi 100 years ago, but quieter.

Traditional weaving factory

Hanuman temple in old colonial house

Maheshwar to Dhamnod, then Indore by bus, then to Bhopal by train, and finally a night train to Varanasi

A rare sight in India, seen on Indore Station Platform

Varanasi is where I first met my godson in 2006

He hasn't changed !!

Soup Kitchen

The ghats on the highly polluted Ganges are the centre of Varanasi's activity.
Laundry : clothes are washed in brown water...

......then dried on the banks and the ghats among mud and cow shit !!

Bollywood : the cinema regularly comes to the ghats to film

Dog's Ohm: the ghats are home to numerous stray dogs

Breaking the cycle of death and rebirth : Having your ashes sprinkled in the Ganges at Varanasi ensures
 going straight to Paramathma, avoiding potentially thousands of reincarnations

Ablutions : Daily washing away of your sins

Pilgrimage : The Ganges attracts many holy men. Not all of these Babas are genuine, but most are

.....and most are very photogenic

Meeting up : I finally met up on the ghats with Sais who has been a Facebook friend for 3 years.

Contemplation : Or just spending time with your best friend

Puja : The nightly Aarti Puja, performed on several ghats by trainee priests draws large crowds every

Ceremonies : Crowds pour down to the Ganges continuously, to perform all kinds of celebrations that
 usually include throwing flowers into the river.

About 20 minutes rickshaw ride away from the river Ganges is BHU (Benares Hindu University), with its
 grand Shiva Temple

When in India, try to get yourself invited to a marriage ceremony. You will be looked after like VIPs......

......but if the ceremony finishes late, you may have difficulty getting back to your hotel

Varanasi to Kanpur.
Aman and Sheeti with their 18 month old baby Aashi.  I wouldn't go to Kanpur except to see them.

A beautiful gift from Sheeti to Magali - a perfect fit

Kanpur to Amarpurkashi, known as APK, (between Chandausi and Moradabad). The train due to leave Kanpur at 21:17 left at 03:20. We arrived in Chandausi at 16:30 instead of 05:30, so we lost one whole day of the 2 days visit to APK.

What's wrong with this picture ? Not all the sockets are in use !!
Well it was 2 o'clock in the morning...

This train has just been repainted inside and out. The garlands of flowers commemorate such a rare

The bus from Chandausi to APK

Happy to meet Deepu's new baby. I was at her marriage on 2 Feb 2014

Yes, they have an Ambassador at APK too

The campus is a bit of a mess this year, with lots of building work going on

The new multi-purpose block

New classroom block

Magali learns how to make Roti (Chapatti)

Success !!!

There are hundreds of monkeys at APK. They are very cute when they are young, but get quite vicious when adult

APK to Delhi.

Delhi to Paris 05/03/15.

Paris to Perpignan on Intercités train de nuit
Inde du 20 janvier 2016 au 3 mars 2016
India from 20 January 2016 to 3 March 2016
Une semaine à Goa / A week in Goa

Une semaine à Gokarna / A week in Gokarna

Poisson au curry / Fish curry

Petit déj / Breakfast

Vélo à louer

L'appel de Dieu....   /   The call of God....
Départ pour Udaipur / Leaving for Udaipur

Escale à Mumbai / Stop-over in Mumbai
Bandra Terminus

Weighting area

Une semaine à Udaipur/ A week in Udaipur

Cette voiture n'a pas bougé en 2 ans / This car hasn't moved in 2 years

So inviting !! / ça donne envie !!

Restaurant végétarien / Vegetarian Restaurant  

Chaï avec vue / Chai with a view

Udaipur plage / Udaipur beach

Tiger Lake

Festival du Lac / Lake Festival

Thali rajasthani / Rajasthani Thali

Petit déjeuner Euro-indien / Euro-Indian breakfast

2 jours à Mont Abu / 2 days in Mount Abu

Scooters "Green" disponibles en noir et blanc. / "Green scooters come in black and white.

Il conduit son bus avec 35 passagers, sur une route de montagne..... Sourriez, c'est l'Inde !!!
He's driving his bus with 35 passengers, on a mountain road...... Smile, this is India !!

Ne me demandes pas...... / Don't ask me.......

Flexi-train / Bendy-train

3 jours à Bikaner / 3 days in Bikaner

Temple Jaïn / Jain temple

Temple des rats à Deshnok / Rat temple, Desnok

Rat albinos et aveugle / Blind albino rat

Trop mignons........ !! / So cute.......... !!

Musée du Fort de Bikaner / Bikaner fort Museum

Zebra crossing..... er, I mean camel crossing !!

Sleeping on the JCB

Transport scolaire

Une semaine à Rishikesh, Laxman Jhula / A week in Rishikesh, Laxman Jhula

Vue du "Mango Tree Guest House" où mon filleul Vikki est manager
Vue from "Mango Tree Guest House" where my godson Vikki is manager

Rishikesh, grand centre de pèlerinage / Rishikesh, major pilgrimage centre

Pure veg....

Auto-portrait / Self portrait

Vikki fait des chapattis / Vikki making chapattis


Comme tous les ans, 3 jours à Amarpurkashi / As always, 3 days in Amarpurkashi

2017 image
"INDIA 2017" was a short trip of just one month.
Started with one week in Gundalaba village, Odisha.
My friend Tuku ji runs a turtle protection project among other environment related projects.
The female starts digging a hole to lay her eggs.
Apparently not disturbed by (Tuku-ji) the human presence

She lays about 100 eggs

Then fills in the nest, and leaves, never to see her eggs hatching.

Green Life Rural Association gather eggs from as many nests as possible.

Then they transfer them to a man-made nest......

...... in a secure site, where stray dogs can't dig them up.

Once hatched, they are released on the beach and make their own way to the sea.

Back in Gundalaba village.

Enjoy an amazing sense of peace..... until the cows come home !!

Then off to a conference to discuss making the local beach front a Plastic Free Zone....

The site was deliberately chosen to show the deplorable state of the popular tourist area.

Most of the audience were women, as the men were out at work.

Tuku-ji getting serious. He is passionate about saving India and saving the planet !!

After the conference, a symbolic clean-up.

....... and finally, a few words from our foreign correspondant.....

From Gundalaba to Puri, then to Bhubaneshwar to take a flight to Delhi.

In Puri

Nice hotel for 8€ per night.

Halal Chicken

Puri Railway Station

Breakfast on the train to Bhubaneshwar - Samosas

Week 2 started with 3 nights in Delhi.
I had met Aditya Arya, curator of the India Photo Archive, in Paris in June 2016.
I was determined to pay him a visit in Gurgaon, Delhi this year.
Aditya ji is not only very friendly, but has a passion for the history of photography.

Aditya Arya ji

While wandering around Old Delhi, I came across the Gurudwara Sisganj Sahib Temple.
Sikh temples traditionally provide food for anyone and everyone.

Close by is the Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) Old Delhi

Old Delhi is fascinating, though often too crowded to move around and take photos freely.
On this day the temperature was 40°

Delhi, the hub of India...

Large Ganesh and life-size Buddha

I'm not 100% sure, but I think this cupboard under the stairs is in fact a repair workshop,
though I have no idea what for !

Everything 100 rupees !!

Old Delhi's electricity network is in a shocking state.

National Rail Museum, Chanakayapuri, New Delhi

Most of the exhibits are in better condition than current rolling stock !!

Left Delhi on 31/03 on night train to Udaipur.
Arrived 07:30 on 01/04
Women's Festival at Gangaur Ghat, Lake Pichola, Udaipur, Rajasthan.

Gulab Bargh (Rose Garden), Udaipur

Around Udaipur

Free long-term motor-cycle parking.

Letter Box offering express service to Pisa....

Wok the .... ?

Aloo Tikki and Chole (Fried Potato Cakes with Chick Pea Sauce)

Street Jacuzzi, Udaipur

Udaipur is famous for its typical local Street Art

Colourful March by Hindus in the strets of Udaipur

And back to Lake Pichola.
Lake Palace, Udaipur

From Udaipur to Rishikesh on 04/04, via Hazrat Nizamuddin on 05/04,
then to Haridwar, and finally a taxi to Laxman Jhula / Rishikesh
Traditonal building practices, Rishikesh....

.... Hanuman seems to have his doubts.....

Tree with private balcony

When choosing a local restaurant, eat where the locals eat...

Waterfall, just 2 km from Rishikesh

Down on the Ganges at Rishikesh, the ideal place to say Suriya Namaskar (Greetings to the Sun) every morning as it appears above the hills about one hour after sunrise.

Suriya Namaskar !

Suriya Namaskar !

Suriya Namaskar !

Suriya Namaskar !

At 7:30 am, you have to bring your own tea...

Laxman Jhula is the other side of the Ganges from Rishikesh.
Thanks to the Beatles, it has 60 years of history as a "Chill-Out" destination.
Still a favourite place for real and fake Gurus, Sadhus, Babas etc....
And a surprisingly pleasant laid-back sort of ambiance.
The Mango Tree Guest House is run by my Godson Vikki and his associate Shobam.

Vikki Beta

Shobam Bhai

Around Laxman Jhula

Fresh Sugar Cane Juice


I've never seen straberries as red as these.....!

Typical local tourist shops.

As Laxman Jhula is strictly vegan, you have to go to Rishikesh to buy eggs.

Walking along the banks of the Ganges.....

Laxman Jhula Bridge joins Rishikesh to Laxman Jhula.

I.5 Km downstream is Ram Jhula

Trayambakeshwar Temple getting a much needed re-paint

View from Mango Tree Guest House

Laxman Jhula Bridge with no one on it - a rare sight !

Morning bath-cum-Puja

Rishikesh to the left, and Laxman Jhula to the right

Morning bath in the Holy Ganga....
Cleanliness and Godliness at the same time.

Yoga is what Laxman Jhula and Rishikesh are all about.

A Political debate in the street

"A-political" bull

The only way to travel.....

Free meal, this time offered by Hindus in Laxman Jhula

Trainee Sadhu, religious ascetic.

Another Sadhu

More Sadhus

Another trainee Sadhu

Trendy Sadhu

Laid-back Baba

Commercial Sadhu / Guru

Holy Water from the Ganes - the perfect gift formy friends in Amarpurkashi


Nightly Ganga Arti Puja Ceremony (Blessing the Ganges with music).

Hanuman at the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple near Laxman Jhula

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple

Left Rishikesh on 15/04
Return to Amarpurkashi, as every year.

Former Project Director, Mukat Singh, at the Eco-Harmony Project that he set up 2 years ago.

In the village

Village Doctor's Surgery

Street Food at its best - Deep-fried Potatoes in Spicy Batter

उपला  Upla
Fuel for heating and cooking, made from cow dung and straw.
The smoke given off is carcinogenic.

Wedding equipment rentals

Dry toilets at the Eco-Harmony Project

New construction in the classroom blocks

And finally a quick look at some food......
Aloo Paratha (Potato Pancake), Dahi (Yogurt), Chatni (Spicy Sauce) and Chai (Milk Tea).

Poha (Puffed rice) and accompaniments

These 3 Aloo Parathas with Yogurt and Pickle were ordered using
Indian Railways Food Delivery App "Food on Track", paid for with my "Paytm" digital wallet,
and delivered to my seat in the train by a restaurant at the chosen station.

Bhindi (Okra), Dal and Rice

Korean Food for a change

Making Tandoori Nan Bread

Nan Bread, Rajma (Kidney Beans), Palak (Spinach) and Rice

Salad, Dal and Rice

Roti, Salad, Dal and Rice

Samosa with sweet and spicy sauce

Special Thali .....

.... with Nan Bread, Raita and Chatni

Shobam's home made Chocolate Cake

A healthy breakfast at the Mango Tree Guest House ...

..... and another

I raided the Guest House fridge one morning, as everyone was still asleep at 8 am.
I made this Fruit Salad, Yogurt and Muesli Thali with Honey

Raj Bhog and Rabri / Rasgula

Typical APK Food, for Staff, Students and Visitors

And finally, Airport Food !!

Now let's start planning the next trip.....
2018 image
Happy to be able to take 6 weeks holiday again this year, after a shorter visit in 2017.
I spent the first month in Udaipur, Rajasthan, one of my favourite places in India.
The Idea was to have one hour of Hindi classes every day to improve my ability to communicate and share with the locals.
I already had a reasonable vocabulary, but little understanding of grammar.
I can now read and write quite well, though I still don't understand a lot. Indians like to speak fast !

The photos are more or less in chronological order

Back to my favourite Guest House, Old Jheel. The first floor doubles as staff quarters with 2 rooms and 16 bunk beds.
My room with terrace on the 4th floor was the only other room occupied.

Love this view from my terrace.

Peaceful Lake Pichola

View from my favourite restaurant for chai - Dream Heaven on Hanuman Ghat

City Palace

Preparing for the Ladies Festival

Typical street in Udaipur - at a quiet time of day !!

Colourful Udaipur - Bohara House
The streets of Udaipur are full of colour, and in particular traditional Rajasthani wall paintings.

Jagdish Temple, Udaipur

Royal Cenotaphs

Queens' Gardens - 5 Gardens with Fountains
Rain Without Clouds - Bin Badel Barsat - बिन बादल बरसात

Mali - Gardener - माली

Fountain - Churna - झरना

Statue of Chetak ridden by Maharana Pratap Singh at the Battle of Haldighati on 21 June 1576

Street Food - Samosa, Aloo Barda, Bread Barda, Poha.........

Gypsies selling to local store

Favourite Parantha Stand

School's Out

Jagdish Chowk, the Central Square in Old Udaipur

Lake Palace Hotel

Lake Pichola - again

Battyani Chohotta - a popular tourist street

Amazing weeding boat !

Jagdish Temple, Jagdish Chowk

I dare you !!

Maachli gel ki Raani hai, jeevan uska pani hai ...................

School girls selling their handicraft at the Ladies Festival

Udaipur is full of Bougainvilleas, Belvederes and Beggars

Back to Dream Haven for Chai with a view of the City Palace

Potato Crisps drying in the sun

Gulab Baagh - The Rose Garden

Hanuman - The Protector

Some of the many puppets depicting Hindu Gods at the Ladies Festival

Symbolic feeding of the Gods

Classic Hindu subjects with a modernist flavour, carved before your eyes.

My Hindi lessons continue

Gandhi stands where once Victoria did, in front of the former Victoria House, now a library

Full Bat-tree

Surprised to see bats sleeping in daylight in temperatures reaching 40° C

C'est le monde à l'envers, Robin !!   ....   Holy hamstrings Batman !!!

Hemant making Uttapam

Love this Ayurvedic Pharmacy............

Glimpse into a private world 

Dream Heaven Restaurant. 8 am breakfast and it's already 35°C.

Tree House. Built in 2000. Not a single branch was cut during its construction.

Tree House : Roof-top terrace

Classic and traditional dance at the Bagor ki Haveli

Eggs - Any way you want them, so long as they're fried.

Another festival, I think this one was by the Jain Community

Beautiful Albino Horses

Your Mahout went that way....

Cooking for the Free "Dal Bati Churma" Meal at the Ladies Festival on Gangaur Ghat

There's enough for 2000 people

Simple is best !! Fresh Food Café, Udaipur

Gangaur Ghat

Wall Painting inside Udaipur City Railway Station

Outside Udaipur City Railway Station

I leave behind several friends and my month of Hindi classes and head for Rishikesh & Laxman Jhula

This spookily quiet carriage filled up in the first 45 minutes of the 13 hour journey from Udaiapur to Haridwar

45 minutes from Haridwar Station, I arrive in Laxman Jhula / Rishikesh - Renowned centre for Yoga and Meditation.

I like drinking my morning chai on the street, like this one here in Laxman Jhula, where you can watch the town waking up and people greeting the new day.

Gurus, Babas and Sadhus are some of the first people to appear in the morning.

Morning Greeting from Shiva

Some people have more difficulty getting up in the morning.

Morning Puja under Laxman Jhula Bridge.

Morning Puja in the Ganga with friends.

The first of 3 major storms in the 10 days I was in Laxmn Jhula

Things soon get back to normal - breakfast is served.

People can go about their business again.

By Midday it's over 35° C again

Boat trips can resume.

The Temples can get back to business too.

Laxman Jhula from the 13 storey Trayambakeshwar Temple

Rishikesh from Trayambakeshwar Temple

Trayambakeshwar Temple

Make the most of it, the rain will be back again tomorrow. But for now..................

Have a real old-fashioned lemonade while you wait....

Or take a look in the Laxman Jhula-ry shops......

Or bag a colourful bargain......

Or treat yourself to some chic "French" toilet paper.....

Grab some fresh fruit.

Grab a photo of a local star....

Grab an abassador before they're all gone.... 

.... and they all end up like this.... Sadly, they stopped making them several years ago.....

Grab a bite to eat at one of the 2 neighbouring restaurants, both called Chotiwala.....

Whichever one frightens you the least.... !!!

Dosa - the day gets off to a good start...

Laxman Jhula Beach - the sense of calm is overpowering !

The sacred Ganges - Mata Ganga - winds her way through Laxman Jhula and Rishikesh.

Visit to the abandoned Maharashi Mahesh Yogi Transcendental Meditation Ashram - visited by the Beatles in 1968
Maharashi Dhyan Vidhaapeeth - Maharashi Meditation University - महर्षि ध्यन विधापीठ

Visitor accommodation

The Beatles' Bungalow

There is an amazing eerie sensation in this overgrown sanctuary of calm

The 100 or more "Meditation Pods" originally even had electricity....

Kitchen and Dining Rooms

The Ashram had its own Post Office, Printing Press, Temple........

.... meeting rooms


... offices etc.

An hour before sunset, back in Laxman Jhula, the colours soften, and architecture blends into nature.....

Stupas into flora.....

Temples into rocks.....

And the last boats full of tourists return from the "sunset trip"

Time to start planning 2019......
2019  image

My Indian escape this year was later than usual,  from June 20 to July 31, so that I could be in my favourite country on my birthday, on July 22.

Finally arrived after several delays Perpignan to Paris , 31 minutes late, Paris to Roissy, Charles de Gaulle, 2 hours compared with usual 50 minutes, Air India Paris to New Delhi, over 3 hours late...... 

Arrived in Udaipur from Delhi on time on the night train...... 

Back in my usual room on Gangaur Ghat
The water level is very low in Lake Pichola

The Ghat is very "Shanti Shanti" (peaceful) 

Trees give much needed shade 

The water is low and more dirty than usual, but people still need to wash themselves and their clothes. 

Beside Tiger Lake

Breakfast is looking good... 
नाश्ता अच्छा लग रहा है

Freshly painted Ganesh Temple 

Soon to disappear, all cables are being put underground 

Let the monsoon begin 

After a couple of rainy days the hot and humid weather is back, though the really hot weather is in Europe this end of June !
The no longer used Sas Bahu Temple near the famous Eklinji Temple (where photography is not allowed), has plenty of shade for sitting and contemplating. 

Before entering Eklinji Temple, a visit to the grounds 

Distant hilltop temple with dried up lake and slowly-dying lilies 

Local speciality deep fried masala chilli peppers.... or are they deep-fries battered rats.....?

Next, a 21 hour train ride from Udaipur to Haridwar, then Rishikesh by bus.. 

Laxman Jhula and Rishikesh nestle in the Ganges Valley in Uttarakhand, Northern India. The towns area magnet for spiritual tourists. 

Temples and ashram abound

Shiva, the god of destruction, in a garden of tranquility

Meanwhile, back in town the streets get busy with commerce

Policemen's point of view

The Rajasthani Restaurant in Rishikesh has a reputation for its copious portions of high quality food. If you like Indian sweets, you can't go wrong there either... 

Ganga Aarti Puja - water, fire, prayer....

...... And chanting too

Sunday is market day.
The large market selling fruit & veg, clothes and household items is a few kms outside Rishikesh 



Smaller market in town

And finally, a Maruti Suzuki Convertible (from car to shop) 

The ever changing view of the river Ganges, from the Little Buddha Café 

Morning mist

Rain with a little hail

Laxman Jhula Bridge by night 

Ganga Aarti Puja.  Every evening around 7pm beneath Terah Manzil Mandir (13 floor temple) 

Rishikesh by night, from Laxman Jhula

One of the many Yoga Ashrams in Rishikesh and Lakshman Jhula 

Jai Shri Ram

Hello life

This luxury hotel was already under construction when I was here in 2005 

Mata Ganga.  Mother Ganges

Lord Shiva

An Obligatory visit in Chandigarh : The Nek Chand Rock Garden

The commercial centre of Chandigarh has lost all aesthetic appeal.  Designed by Le Corbusier,  late 1950's

TheLaw Courts and Legislative Assembly are currently being fully restored to their original design.

Lawyer waiting for his client outside the law courts

"The Hand of Peace",  or the "Bird of Peace" ? 

Cinema by Le Corbusier

Heading back to Rishikesh and Laxman Jhula. 

Still my favourite car...!!!

Between Chennai and Mahabalipuram,  a great visit to Crocodile Bank. 

The colourful fishing village of Mahabalipuram. 
Temples,  carvings and great seafood

Pondicherry or Puducherry

Coffee and Croissant on the East Coast of India..... or am I dreaming

Elephant Blessing

Pathé Cinema

One of many French Colonial Buildings still in use - Lycée Français

Another is the Institut Français de Pondicherry..... on a quiet Sunday morning

French Institute Garden

On the streets of Puducherry

French Engllish Translation

Surprised to see a vintage Italian Fiat Pal, and no vintage French cars

The Paper Factory in Puducherry on a Sunday morning....

Food available for those flying from Chennai Airport

On the subject of clever animals, it's a dog's life in the Diplomatic Enclave in New Delhi

Back in Delhi on the way to France, visit to the Gurudwara Sikh Temple

An unusual museum..... part of the International University of Sanitation

A real throne !

Self-service toilets

The National Rail Museum, New Delhi

...and a final museum, The National Museum of Modern Art, New Delhi. This painting is supposed to represent Udaipur.

To be continued.........Next year ( Had to cancel the 2020 trip due to Covid-19, and 2021 is not looking good either....!)