Northern India 2015

Sadhus are Hindu holy men or ascetics who renounce their worldly possessions and wander in search of moksa, or spiritual liberation. There are many of them in the holy city of Varanasi on the Ganges River. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

I spent a month in India from late January until the end of February, flying to Delhi and visiting four states in the north. I was last in India 38 years ago and there have been a lot of changes, but a lot remains the same. See also my blog that I kept at the time, which starts in January 2015. © Richard McGuire Photo

My hotel room balcony overlooked the narrow and busy street of Main Bazar in New Delhi. There was a constant sound of honking horns and ringing bells as cars, motorcycles, rickshaws bicycles, pedestrians and pushcarts all competed for their bit of street. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Men enjoy lassi and other milk drinks at a stand at night time on Main Bazar in the Paharganj neighbourhood of New Delhi. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

This man watches shoes for a few rupees in front of the Jama Masjid, the major mosque in Old Delhi. People must remove their shoes to enter the mosque. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Hindu priests pour milk into the sacred Ganges River, often referred to as Mother Ganga. Milk is a symbol of fertility. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Every evening there is an aarti ceremony with fire at Har-ki-Pauri ghats on the Ganges River at Haridwar, India. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Hindu devotees place burning offerings adrift in the Ganges River at Har-ki-Pauri in Haridwar, one of India’s holy cities. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

This female rhesus macaque monkey thought I was too close when photographing her with her child, so she lunged at me with teeth bared. I backed away quickly, but not before snapping her in action. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

These men were making gulab jamun at a restaurant in Haridwar, India. This popular dessert is made with balls of milk solids deep fried and soaked in in a sugary syrup. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

This sadhu or holy man in Haridwar showed me his lair, built into a cave in a rock cut above the roadway. He had all his religious paraphernalia including a staff with the ancient swastika symbol on top. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

These girls came up to me and asked if they could take a photo of me with the digital camera the girl on the right is holding. For many Indians, the sight of a foreigner is a curiosity. I posed for them and then asked them to pose for me. In the background is the Residency, a complex in Lucknow where the British holed up for months while under siege by Indian rebels in 1857. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

A sadhu or Indian holy man poses for a photo at Sangam, the confluence of the holy Ganges and Yamuna rivers at Allahabad. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

A man takes an early morning dip in the holy Ganges River at Varanasi, India. Although the river is filled with sewage, industrial waste and cremated body parts, Hindus believe the river is sacred and pure and that bathing in it washes away sins. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

In Varanasi barbers work on the ghats beside the Ganges river, shaving heads or beards or both. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

At the end of morning aarti or prayer ritual, devout Hindus often touch the flames in an act of purification. Such rituals are regular every morning and evening along that ghats in Varanasi, India. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

The monkey was on a leash. The dog was not. These two played together on the ghats (steps to the river) in Varanasi. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Bicycles and pedal rickshaws intersect at a busy intersection near the ghats in Varanasi. Although most motorized vehicles can’t enter this part during the daytime, motorcycles, unfortunately, can go anywhere they like. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

A priest is showered in flower petals that he has thrown into the air during the evening aarti ceremony by the Ganges in Varanasi. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

These were my fellow passengers on the train from Sanchi to Bhopal, that ran late. The man on the left spoke good English and he translated for the others, as I attempted also to communicate in my feeble Hindi. They had a lot of questions for me as it’s not usual for them to have a conversation with a foreigner. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

This group of Hindu men came to the Shipra River to bathe in the early morning at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

A Hindu man prays next to the Shipra River early in the morning in the holy city of Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Two cows stand nonchalantly on a street in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh as a motorcycle with two men drives past. Often motorcycles take numerous passengers — I’ve seen as many as a family of five — and very few people in India wear helmets. Sacred cows freely wander the streets and even railway stations throughout India. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

This fruit seller in Ujjain was selling grapes, pomegranates, oranges, bananas and apples. Ujjain is not touristy and people were friendly, often asking to pose when they saw my camera. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

A Hindu priest performs the evening aarti ceremony with fire beside the Shipra river in the holy city of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, India. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

The City Palace of Udaipur, Rajasthan is lit with lights at night that reflect in Pichola Lake. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

A young boy looks out his front door in the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Many houses in the blue city are covered with a blue wash. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Children hang out in the Blue City of old Jodhpur. Many of the houses here are covered in a blue wash, which some say was originally to ward off insects. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Sometimes in India you come across things on the street that have very little information attached. Such was the case with these figures on a street in Jodhpur, where I had to rely on my imagination. My guess, upon further reading, is that this is Rati on the left, the Hindu goddess of lust, passion and sexual pleasure with Kama, the god of love. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

A young girl balances carefully as she walks a rope below the fort at Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, hoping to earn rupees from impressed tourists. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

This old man was bundled up in a blanket to sip his tea and read his morning paper on a porch in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

These construction workers were hauling bags of cement on a street in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. They asked me to take a posed portrait of them, which I did. I then took a couple photos of them working. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

This woman asked to pose for a photo with her child for a few rupees. At first I refused her, but she persisted and I actually got a good smile from her. Many Rajasthani women dress very colourfully, but are shy about being photographed. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

A camel driver leads two camels across the sand dunes at sunset near Kanoi, an hour from Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

At the Karni Mata Temple in Deshnok, Rajasthan, rats feast on milk. The rats at this temple are venerated because they are believed to be the reborn ancesters of people in the community an hour south of Bikaner. Visitors to the temple need to remove their shoes as in any Hindu temple. There is rat feces on the ground and occasionally a rat will scurry across your foot. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

I met this regular winner of moustache growing contests, Vikram-ji, in the old city of Bikaner, Rajasthan. His moustache was tied up when I met him, but he unfurled it to show me. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

These colourfully dressed women pose for photos for tourists at Mehtab Bagh, a garden across the Yamuna River from the Taj Mahal. I got them to pose with the Taj in the background. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

About Richard McGuire

Richard McGuire is a photographer and photojournalist based in Osoyoos in the South Okanagan region of British Columbia, Canada.

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