Beads for monks

Monks have to haggle in the market, too

In the market leading up to Dharamshala’s Namgyal Monastery, the spiritual home of the Dalai Lama in exile, a fierce debate breaks out, not over theology or discipline, but the price of prayer beads.

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Beasts of burden

Steep mountain alleys

Donkeys plod the market lanes of Upper Dharamshala.

Not your typical Indian laboring animal, but they’re not unheard of in these parts either.

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City lights

Amritsar at night

A bustling night bazaar in Amritsar, yet away from the market, the city and countryside are pleasantly dark. India remains short on power and nights outside the major cities can be low-light affairs.

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That’s no dried fruit

Almonds

It took me a good long while to figure out that dry fruits, in the Indian context, are not dried fruits. From a dry fruit wallah in the spice market of Old Delhi.

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My regular paanwallah

My paanwallah

Fondly referred to as the disco paanwallah in Green Park market.

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Sabji hei!

A little young for this job

A sabji (vegetable) wallah from Jodhpur’s old city. Much of the fresh produce in India is still sold from open-air stalls and carts. Shiny, air-conditioned supermarkets are still a relatively new phenomenon and usually only found in big cities.

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Phoolwallahs of jodhpur

Garland

Early in the morning, the scent of flowers mixes with the reek of cow dung in Jodhpur’s old market lanes. Meet the phoolwallah, the flower salesman, stringing together garland of flower petals.

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Grab the bull by the horns

Creepy

Or not, as I’m pretty much cattle-phobic. Still.

I’m better than I was, but yes, I’m not getting closer than I need to.

This was a bit of a challenge in Jodhpur (above), which I can say — without any exaggeration — smells like it has the most cows-per-capita of Indian city/town/village/hamlet I’ve visited. Seriously, that place is cow-patty central.

It’s really a wonderful place — with all the heart and chaos and color of India — just a little bovine-ridden.

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Mounds of mitai

Candied saunf and other sweet namkins

Sort of. Sweet snacks. Meethi paan masala, saunf, dried fruits and the like.

From the market lanes in Jodhpur’s old city.

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I’ll never be your beast of burden…

You still look like an ass to me.

Donkeys plod the crowded market lanes of old Jodhpur.

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