TRAVEL. Travel and photography go hand in hand. At least for me. Travelling without a camera is almost an anathema. A camera, especially a digital one with instant play-back, helps to connect with the local people. Strangers become friends. Doors open. People invite you to their homes, a privilege few tourists are lucky enough to enjoy.
There are many lands to visit as yet but, here is a modest presentation of a few places visited, over the last few years, in India and the South East Asia.
MAHARASHTRA AND RAJASTHAN. Maharashtra has one of the longest coastlines along the Western Ghats with mountains, hills, rivers and of course the Arabian Sea. Fertile and almost evergreen.
In contrast Rajasthan is land locked, mainly arid and desert land. The landscape is seemingly barren and bleak to the casual observer. Nevertheless, Rajasthan is one of the richest in architecture and culture with magnificent forts, palaces, unique architecture in its 'havelis' and, of course, the very colourful attire of both women and men who make up for the bleakness of the surroundings.
WEST BENGAL AND NAGALAND. Two thousand kilometres away, across the country, in the east is West Bengal. Farther east, on the other side of Bangladesh, are the seven hill states in the North East. Nagaland is the eastern most of them, bordering Myanmar.
With the mighty Himalayas in the north and the Bay of Bengal in the south, where the Ganges and its tributaries shed their watery loads, West Bengal is like Maharashtra in many ways. Fertile, evergreen and rivers and lakes abound. People of both the states are also alike in many ways. Nagaland, another childhood dream destination, atop the Naga Hills, is worlds apart from the rest of the country. It is a mixed blessing that the people have still managed to retain much of their tribal culture, which is gradually disappearing in the name of 'progress'. For pristine nature and sheer grandeur of the mountains, and the simple, loveable people there are not many regions like Nagaland.