A new broom
(je moet deze open maken) Mrauk U has limited elelctricity, her house and thin blankets may not offer much warmth during the chilly nights, her few cooking pots may never be full, her broom was her only household equipment. Yet every morning she and her women neighbours are out sweeping the streets of the village. I watched with admiration and thought how much I take for granted.
A street scene from Jojawar, a small, but busy Rajasthani town where so much happens "on the street". I choose this image as in my opinion, it reflects the atmosphere and spirit of the town. So much happens in a small space. RAW image Exposure: f/7.1, 1/100 seconds
Old and (maybe) Wise
This elderly man seemed to be bemused with my photography he had spent some time watching me take the street scenes of Jojawar, a small town in Rajathan, maybe wondering when the camera would be turned to him. There was a twinkle in his eye and a half smile and as I turned to him.
Entering Kumbalgarh Fort, an impressive fort constructed in the 15th century. The second most important fort in Rajasthan after Chittorgarh. Surrounded by the the Aravali hills with nowadays a small village at its foot. As we turned the last bend of the road and approached the main gate a camel train turned the opposite corner in front of us. A lucky moment!
In the 11th century the poet-prince Baz Bahadur smiten by the singing voice of a Hindu shepherdess Roopmati, built for her high on the crest of a hill so that she could still see her village as she sung a pavilion as a token of his love. A magnificent expression of Afgan architecture. Today Roopmati's pavilion is being restored.
Jewels in the Dust
You may think that with her fine jewellery she is going somewhere other than to work on maintaining the road in Kumbalghar. She, together with other women, diligently break the stones smaller for the team, (normally their husbands) repairing the dusty road.
A memorable journey up the Lemro river. As you can see while her facial tattoes (Payae) are the same, her ears sport bamboo rings. She told me (via an interpreter) that her face was tattoed at the age of nine, she was wrapped in a bamboo mat with only her head protruding and bound so she could not struggle for the ordeal. For almost six weeks after she could only eat rice-gruel/pap while the wounds healed. I can imagine that infection was also an issue. Nobody is really sure how the custom became established, but a legend was that hundreds of years ago, Burmese kings and nobles used to come to Chin Hills and hunt for the beautiful Chin girls, as the fame of their beauty reached the court of Burma. To avoid their women being captured by the Burmese, they changed their beauty by tattooing the face of young girls. As I said before this practice has now stopped.
The Girl with the...P
Although Chin state is the only Christian State in Burma there are many moslim villages. (The first Christian missionaries Rev. Arthur Carson and his wife Laura Carson, arrived at Haka, the present Chin State capital, on March 15, 1899 from America.)
Mrauk U, literally translated means monkey's egg, but I could not find out why. While now a sleepy village, not so long ago it was the capital of a reasonable sized empire where Portuguese, Dutch, and French traders rubbed shoulders with the literati of Bengal and Mughal princes It is well worth leaving the warmth of your bed and equipped with a torch, climb the highest point in Mrauk U, to wait for the sun to rise.....