Rural India

We arrived in Shahpura and checked into Shahpura Bagh, an upmarket (to say the least) home stay. It’s owned by members of the local Royal family and they have turned their country house into a small hotel. It’s got a really genteel feel and the owner has recent ancestors that were instrumental in India independence.

After a very interesting night hearing lots of recent Indian history, we got up and set off on a Jeep tour to visit a small remote farming village then back into the small town. It’s off the tourist track thankfully. Everywhere we went we were met my waving, smiling locals shouting “welcome, welcome”. In the town Sara was practically mobbed, in a nice way, and they loved having their photos taken. No-one was asking for money or for anything in return. It was one of the most uplifting experiences of my life!



Happy Holi

We started Holi, one of India’s most important religious holidays by driving out of Jaipur and snapping the locals enjoying themselves. Neon coloured powder is thrown in celebration. And generally smeared on whoever is close! When we got to Samode, the village of our next hotel, we got into our white Holi clothes and joined in the festivities. I was going to have some Bhang but our driver was dead set that I shouldn’t. So made do with beer!


Living the life of a Maharani in Varanasi

India is made up of layers of reality. There is no one “real” India. The upper classes have always enjoyed a lavish and sumptuous life. My wife Sara and I were fortunate enough to experience a window into that world by staying at the Nadesar Palace in Varanasi. It was built by the Maharaja of Varanesii in 1834 it is in the style of an English country house. It only has 10 guest rooms. Fabulous!