Riders jostle for position in the Polo Trophy 2004 match. New Delhi, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor.

New Delhi

We began our trip in New Delhi after a long flight through Amsterdam. Our trip was to be a guided tour of the state of Rajasthan, the "Land of Kings," and Delhi was both our departure and return point.

New Delhi is the bustling capital of India and surrounds the "old city" of Delhi, one of the most densely populated locations on the planet. When traveling through old Delhi (and many other places in India) you get a sense barely-controlled chaos which is quite impossible to describe.

We spent some time visiting sites in New Delhi, including the famed India Gate, a war memorial, and Rashtrapati Bhawan, the presidential residence and former palace of the viceroy. The palace, like many buildings in New Delhi, was designed my the English architect Lutyens, and has a distinctly European influence.

Indian culture places strong emphasis on family, and the weekend we were in New Delhi was one the most propitious times of the year for young couples to be married. Over 17,000 weddings were celebrated in New Delhi in just a 3-day period!

 

Right: Young women and India Gate. This 42-meter high arch was built as a memorial to Indian soldiers killed during the World Wars. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor

 

 

 

 

Presidential guard at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the presidential residence in New Delhi, India. Nikon D70,

18-70mm DX Nikkor.

Indian classical dance performance at the Sanskriti Foundation, New Delhi,
India. Nikon D70, 50mm f/1.4 AF Nikkor

The omnipresent "autorickshaw," a 3-wheeled vehicle used for everything from taxi service to deliveries, zips
through an uncharacteristically empty intersection. New Delhi, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor.

Polo Trophy 2004

A highlight of our stay in New Delhi was a VIP invitation to attend the "Nawab of Bhopal and Pataudi" Polo Trophy 2004 match at the New Delhi polo grounds. As my wife is an English-seat equestrian, this was a special opportunity for us. I of course promptly left our box and joined the local photojournalists covering the match from the sidelines. (Fortunately nobody asked me for credentials.) Although forms of polo have been played for over two thousand years in various parts of Central Asia, the modern sport owes its roots to India and its "discovery" by the British, where by 1870 it had spread throughout British India and from there on to the West.

My long lenses having been lost, shooting action with a short lens posed some creative challenges. I decided to shoot pan-blurs, which provided some worthwhile images with a different take on the match. 

Polo match, New Delhi, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor.

Winning rider after the match. New Delhi, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor

Bagpipers perform at "halftime" during the match, New Delhi, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor

Members of the winning polo team accept medals and pause for photographs. New Delhi, India.
Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor

Sanskriti Foundation

While in New Delhi we enjoyed a very pleasant private tour of the Sanskriti Pratishthan, (or foundation). The Sanskriti Foundation is an Indian cultural organization founded in 1978 by Mr. O.P. Jain, a prominent figure in the India cultural scene, and Abhay's wife Gareema's uncle. The word Sanskriti means 'the process of cultivating', and the foundation's goal is to "cultivate an environment for the preservation and promotion of artistic and cultural resources." The Foundation operates two museums as well as a an artist-in-residence program. A highlight was to see the many beautiful terracotta and "everyday" artifacts preserved and explained here.

Ceramic artifacts, Museum of Indian Terracotta, Sanskriti Foundation, New Delhi, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX
Nikkor.

An artist at the Sanskriti Foundation recreates wall art typical of early Indian culture. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX
Nikkor.

Sanskriti Foundation founder O.P. Jain in the Museum of Everyday Art. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor.