India

The beaches of Goa.

 

King George Hotel in Bombay.

India Gate.

Victoria Station - the Bombay train station.

Okay. Holi. Holi is an Indian holiday. But it isn't like any other Indian holiday. It was originally the Spring Festival of Colors, celebrating the spring growth. Now it is the one day of the year when India's lower castes get to let off some steam. Everybody else hides. Color is still a part of it. Water-color-filled water balloons. Colored powder to spread on somebodies face.

By early morning, everybody else barricades themselves and seriously inebriated Indians take to the streets. By some time in the afternoon they have all passed out and others start to emerge.

But the photo below is still morning. A vendor walks the streets with colored substances for sale to celebrants.

On this trip, I was in Varanasi for Holi. The hotel staff strongly recommended that I join them for celebrations on the fifth floor ceiling and not venture outside. I had "played Holi" as the Indians say, once before, and knew what of they spoke, so I agreed. Particularly since I had been accosted by a gang of youths on the street the afternoon before. In this picture, Holi celebrants five floors down on the street yell up to us just what they will do to us as they hold us against the wall, should we choose to join them, while attempting to throw water balloons five floors up at us.

Holi celebrant tourists on the fifth floor roof party. We threw powder on each other. One guest, a very buff Japanese guy, did go out. He returned with his shirt hanging in shreds. An unfortunate young British woman had arrived at the airport that morning and taken an open-air rickshaw to the hotel. Her shirt was shredded, she had scrapes across her chest, where people had groped and scraped. Note the trend among Asians in many countries to have very long finger nails on the pinky finger. She was in tears. Holi is not for the timid.

Here I am after Holi.

This shot is actually from after my first Holi experience, three years earlier, in Rishikesh. I had not taken the advice of the hotel staff where I was staying and went out. There were no taxis. I walked for hours. Got lost. Was drenched, pounded by water balloons. People through buckets of water from rooftops that I attempted to dodge. I was both loved, hugged, and targeted by Indians who were amazed at a ferengi (the Hindi word for foreigner) playing Holi. After wandering for five hours, and finding the bus station, only to find it closed, I found a hotel that would put me up for a few hours, and took the shot below. Then things settled down and I got a ride back home (Dehra Dun). Holi happens in April generally, given variations in their calendar, the exact date varies.

 

Uttarkhashi - the pilgrimage region of the Indian Himalaya.

 

The Taj Mahal - note how small the person is in relation.

The Red Fort.