While I consider myself fairly well-traveled, I had never previously been to India.

Just before the recent Spring Festival holidays in Hong Kong, we suddenly remembered we had an unused hotel voucher for a hotel stay in Jodhpur, so on the spur of the moment we decided to visit a country that we had wanted to visit for such a long time. And now that I have, I intensely regret that I didn't do so earlier, as I found it to be truly a wondrous land, especially for photography.

This page collects selected images and some related background information and thoughts from this trip.  These were taken either with a brand new Leica M10, which I had been very fortunate to get from Leica Hong Kong on the very first day it was available (January 19th) or a Leica Q. 

Bazaars in Old Delhi

"Old" Delhi exists like a Bizarro alternate universe version of "New" Delhi.  Physically the two regions of Delhi are interconnected via the usual transport infrastructure, but I couldn't help but feel like I was stepping through some sort of magical portal between dimensions whenever I traveled from our hotel in New Delhi to Old Delhi.

While New Delhi looks and feels quite similar to many of the other supercities of Asia, with its wide roads, gleaming office towers, sleek shopping malls, and impressive monuments to the country's recent history, Old Delhi feels like it is still sometime in the 1970s. Or even earlier. Jaded as I have become with most of China's "old cities" (like Lijiang in Yunnan Province), where almost every inch of the purportedly ancient cities have become Meccas of commercial activity, I was truly amazed by the extent of how most of Old Delhi is still completely authentic.  While there are of course the hostels, restaurants, and shops catering to international tourists, these are only a small fraction of the day-to-day life in Old Delhi. The rest of the city within a city continues upon its decades of unchanged everyday activities in the myriad bazaars spread over hundreds of streets and alleyways.

The following images are from my random walks through the Spice, Weddings, and Tradesmen's Bazaars.

"Workers at the Spice Bazaar (1)". Old Delhi, India, India. January 2017. © Jon She. Leica M10, Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.4 ASPH.

"Double Level Shop". Old Delhi, India. January 2017. © Jon She. Leica M10, Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.4 ASPH.

“Waiting for the Barber”. Old Delhi, India. January 2017. © Jon She. Leica M10, Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.4 ASPH.

"The Cobbler". Old Delhi, India. January 2017. © Jon She. Leica M10, Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.4 ASPH.

"The Bathroom on the Roof". Old Delhi, India. January 2017. © Jon She. Leica M10, Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.4 ASPH.

"A Dream of Spice and Dogs". Old Delhi, India. January 2017. © Jon She. Leica M10, Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.4 ASPH.

“Men and their Scarves”. Old Delhi, India. January 2017. © Jon She. Leica M10, Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.4 ASPH. A team of sartorially elegant resting laborers at the Spice Market in Delhi.

"Alley Chefs". New Delhi, India. January 2017. © Jon She. Leica M10, Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.4 ASPH.

"Toilet Companions". New Delhi, India. January 2017. © Jon She. Leica M10, Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.4 ASPH.

Lodhi Gardens, Delhi

Another place I really enjoyed walking around was the Lodhi Gardens.  This is a sprawling modern park that meanders around several historical buildings and ancient ruins, giving it a 1960's science fiction bookcover feel.  In the mornings there are many local residents who run through it or, a la Central Park in New York, engage in numerous other varieties of sports, as well as pop-up yoga and meditation groups.  I was very fortunate the day I was there to run into a family who were having their breakfast there, served by their driver.  They invited me to join them for tea and conversation. A very pleasant experience indeed. 

"Morning Meditation". New Delhi, India. January 2017. © Jon She. Leica M10, Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.4 ASPH.

Traders Markets, Delhi

If one is willing to get up before the crack of dawn the traders' markets in Delhi are also wonderful places to visit, with almost no other tourists to be seen.  I only had one morning to spare, and only had a couple of hours at the fish and also the flower markets, otherwise I think I would have spent a week there.

"Flower Weavers at Dawn". New Delhi, India. January 2017. © Jon She. Leica M10, Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.4 ASPH. This was a picture where the high ISO capabilities of the M10 came in really handy.

“Blood and Guts”. Delhi, India. January 2017. © Jon She. Leica M10, Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.4 ASPH. Fishmongers at the traders' market preparing fish for sale - slicing and dicing the catch of the day using floor-mounted vertical knives.

"Flower Market Smoke Break". Delhi, India. January 2017. © Jon She. Leica M10, Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.4 ASPH. Another photo from my visit to one of the flower markets in Delhi. This one is of a laborer taking a cigarette break between hauling massive bales of flowers used for Hindu temple prayers.

Other Locales in and around Delhi

I have to admit that I was perhaps overly focused on Old Delhi on this trip.  The next time I am there I will try to make up for it by actually visiting some of the other places in Delhi.  During this short visit I was only able to visit the Sikh Temple, and the Taj Mahal at nearby Agra - where I was able to take several holiday photos, but only one semi-interesting one of another family there.

"The Sikh in the Window". Outside the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Old Delhi, India. January 2017. © Jon She. Leica M10, Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.4 ASPH.

"Family at the Taj". Agra, India. January 2017. © Jon She. Leica M10, Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.4 ASPH. This is a shot of a family I literally almost collided into while walking through the crowds of local tourists at the Taj Mahal on India's Republic Day. The red sandstone building immediately behind them is one of the two pavilions on either side of the main palace - one a temple and the other a "guest house".

Jodhpur, Rajahstan

A short hour's plane ride away from Delhi is wonderful, magical Jodhpur.  Like a setting from a movie about the medieval world (e.g. Ladyhawke or Name of the Rose...), the Old Town of Jodhpur lies beneath the constant gaze of the Fort, a majestic pink structure set into a hill.

The Old Town is formed of hundreds of narrow lanes, and also has a number of serene reservoirs that one sometimes comes upon suddenly.

Just outside Jodhpur are numerous small and very interesting villages that one can reach quite easily by car of motorbike, albeit through very dusty roads.

"The Ladies of the Lake". Rajahstan, India. January 2017. © Jon She. Leica Q, Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH. We came across this group of lady construction workers in their traditional colorful saris working on a civic project just outside Jodhpur.

"Night and the Tuk Tuk". Jodhpur, India. January 2017. © Jon She. Leica M10, Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.4 ASPH. A tuk tuk driver waits for his first passenger at dawn, by reading in the light of his cab.

"The Fort at Dawn". Jodhpur, India. January 2017. © Jon She. Leica M10, Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.4.  A straightforward shot of the fort above the Old Town of Jodhpur.