India 2019

Rajasthan travel photography with Olympus Micro 4/3

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Why India?

I love Indian food and have never been to India, so when a flight came up at the right price I couldn’t resist. It’s a place that has always interested me, lots of history with a totally different culture, and the chance to potentially see tigers in the wild. More specifically, the ‘golden triangle (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur), is in Rajasthan, well known for “Food of the Kings”.

Why Micro 4/3?

I cleared out my Nikon DSLR kit in late 2017, moving to Micro 4/3 simply because the size of the camera and particularly the lenses would be really helpful for travel. Indeed, I was able to bring a full system, with lenses from 12-400 mm (35 mm equivalent of 24-800 mm) in a small underseat cabin bag.

Getting there

There are multiple direct daily flights between the UK and India. However, my flight was with Lufthansa via Frankfurt. Why? Because I picked up business class tickets for the princely sum of just £1006 each. The flight was decent enough, but I did suffer a seat malfunction that necessitated the cabin crew performing some mechanical surgery mid-flight.

The Plan

Spend a few days in Delhi, taking the local sights, then take a train down to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. From there, take another train to Ranthambore, to visit the national park of the same name, specifically to try and find some tigers. Head to Jaipur, on the train, to see attractions such as the Amber Fort and the Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory. Onwards to Udaipur, supposedly the most romantic city in Rajasthan, resplendent with its city palace. The next stop would be Jodhpur, “The blue city”, finishing up with a flight to Amritsar to view the Golden Temple, and the border guards doing a dance-off with those from Pakistan. After that, back to Delhi for a couple of nights to see the sights of Old Delhi.

The results


To ease into the craziness I expected of India, the first stop in Delhi was near Connaught Place, in New Delhi. My thinking was there would be less traffic and noise than in the crowded parts of Old Delhi.

Overall, it worked. I saw some of the local landmarks, and while the traffic was, at times, very heavy, I found it easy to get around.


The main target here was the Taj Mahal. It really is a stunning building. By getting there early, it was also not too busy. By the time I left the site, the crowds were really building up. While there, I used Uber to book a car for 4 hours and had him take me to several other sites.

Alas, when leaving for Ranthambore, the train was delayed by over an hour, which would mean a missed connection and losing a night. So it was a very bumpy 5-hour drive in a taxi.


Unfortunately, we both ended up with bad stomachs here. Really bad! To the extent that of the three nights we were booked, we could not leave the room for two days. So, we did not get into the national park to look for tigers, as neither of us fancied being bounced around in a jeep for hours on end, miles from a toilet. One saving grace was that we were in a decent hotel, with a nice big room.


Our hotel was an old Haweli, and it was very nice. The food was epic, and they had traditional dancers on the roof each evening. Visiting the Amber Fort, City Palace, and Jantar Mantar provided a wealth of photographic opportunities. We hired a driver with an old Ambassador for a day of sightseeing around the city. Of all the places we visited, this was out favourite.


Touted as “The most romantic city in all of Rajasthan”, neither of us found Udaipur particularly appealing. It was probably the stench from the sewers that seemed to permeate everything. The city palace was nice, as was the Jagdish temple.


The ‘Blue City’, although there are fewer houses painted blue than you see in a lot of photos. After a difficult time getting to the hotel, through narrow streets full of packs of dogs, and their associated mess, coupled with a major new event, we decided to leave after just one night. Definitely not our cup of tea.


Two days before flying to Amritsar, the Pakistani military shot down an Indian fighter jet and captured the pilot. As one of the main reasons for going there was to visit the border to see the gate closing ceremony, where we would be two of very few white faces in a sea of 25,000 riled up Indians, we decided to cut our losses and head home. It was a shame not to get to see the Golden Temple, but such is life.


India was a real mixed bag for us. The food was amazing, and many of the attractions we visited were stunning. However, scratch the surface a little and there is real poverty and filth. They do tend to view Western tourists as just money walking around. The Taj Mahal charges 50 Rupees for entry for Indians and 2,000 Rupees for foreigners. Imagine trying to charge a tourist in London 40 times what a local pays.

Obviously, it was disappointing not to finish the trip, but with two nuclear-armed countries angrily prodding each other, we didn’t fancy being stuck there if they decided to start shutting airports.

I am sure we will return to India, it is a vast country with many different regions. However, I am not in a hurry to go back. The next time will be somewhere like Goa, or maybe up into the hills in Shimla.