A Passage to India

It's been a long time since I last wrote.  I've had a busy old time since my last post.  Excluding Christmas and New Year and moving house, I've also been off on (a very belated) honeymoon for the majority of November to India and Nepal.

We flew from London to Kolkata via Mumbai and there we started our journey through North East India and into Nepal, where we ended in Kathmandu.  We visited: Kolkata, Darjeeling, Karmi Farm, Gangtok, Chitwan National Park, Royal Beach Camp and Kathmandu. 

Of course I spent much of the time spending quality time with my wife but I did still take my sketchbook with me and took many, many photos of the incredible sights along the way.  Here are just a few of some of the sights and places we visited:

Whilst in  Kolkata we spent an afternoon soaking up the relaxing atmosphere of the Victoria Memorial.  Such an amazing building with a real fusion of Indian and colonial architecture.  The strangest experience was the number of photographs we were asked for, it made us feel like celebrities, but is something that is really hard to get your head around.

Also in Kolkata (which was actually my favourite of the places we visited) we went on an incredible photographic tour of the so-called 'grey area' of the city.  Our knowledgeable guide Manjit showed us the local shops, street food vendors, places of worship and we got a real insight into everyday life in the vibrant city.  This is a painting I completed when I got back of a milkman decanting milk into the metal containers.  If you want milk in Kolkata the milkman brings the goats straight to your door!

After our stay in Darjeeling we then went on to the capital of the former Kingdom of Sikkim, Gangtok.  In this part of India you really notice the Chinese influence in architecture and in the buddhist religion and culture of the people.  Here are some of the buildings perched in the hillside.

From our hotel in Gangtok we had a breathtaking view of the 3rd highest peak in the world, Kanchenjunga.  Looking the other way from the balcony was this typical street scene.

After an eventful cross into Nepal we eventually managed to get to Chitwan National Park.  Here we went on some safaris.  Both of which left us with plenty of views of crocodiles (some from a lovely rickety canoe boat...eek!) but no sign of any rhino.  Thankfully one showed up in our hotel garden that night so we got an up-close view of it.

Here are a couple of drawings of the elephants which were having their bath in the river on our return from the first safari.  We watched them for ages.

 This cheeky elephant took money in its trunk to give to its owner in order for you to have a stroke...it was so cute we kept handing the notes over!

I'm sure I'll share more from our trip at some point as there are plenty of photos I have intentions of turning into paintings.  Until then, that's all from India and Nepal for now :)

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