Photo du Jour #60: A Produce Merchant in Pushkar, India

Woman wearing traditional jewelry and clothes selling vegetables in Pushkar, India

India’s streets are a sea of intriguing faces.

If only this produce merchant and I had spoken the same language, for I think she would have had remarkable stories to share. I crossed the woman’s path while exploring the more quiet, but extremely colorful back lanes of Pushkar, India. (Pushkar is in the Indian state of Rajasthan and it’s perhaps best known for being one of the five most sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites.)

As this scene presented itself to me, I noticed the juxtaposition of the traditional and the modern — the woman’s weathered face and her traditional, clunky, silver jewelry contrasting with the shiny and new motorbike behind her. I was pleased that she graciously allowed me to take her photograph. And I wondered – what must be on the minds of individuals who have never held a camera, never had a copy of a photograph with their likeness on it? Indeed, they must be just as intrigued by a shutterbug’s motives as I often am about the treasure chests of stories they possess.

Woman wearing traditional jewelry and clothes selling vegetables in Pushkar, India

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30 Comments on “Photo du Jour #60: A Produce Merchant in Pushkar, India

    • Mark, I agree that her jewelry is amazing! I’d be curious to learn the symbolism behind each piece she’s wearing. For example, were some wedding pieces, were others given to her when she had children? So many questions!

    • Thank you, Suzanne. In addition to being curious about her life stories, I’m always fascinated to see the ladies of India wearing what I would perceive as formal jewelry while performing even the most laborious tasks (carrying firewood and buckets of soil on their heads, picking tea leaves, etc.) It’s such unique practices that make travel such a joy and a learning experience!

  1. Wow, this is such a mesmerising photograph Tricia. It saddens me the way that modern western society paints age as a disease we must strive to eradicate. When I look at this photo all I see is wisdom and beauty :)

    • Hannah, well said! A characteristic I appreciate about many eastern cultures is such a reverence for wiser (and older) relatives.

      So, I see that you’ll also soon be embarking on a ’round the world trip? How exciting! What’s the first country you two will be going to?

      • We are travelling in India for a six month period before heading east, though beyond that our plans are very much unknown – just the way I like them :)

      • I think that’s often the best way! (We did the same during our 5-month Asian get-away – beyond Indonesia, we didn’t know where we were headed.) And six months in India should be fantastic – we were there one month, and only were able to explore a handful of spots in southern India. When do you leave?

    • I agree, Victor – how observant you are. During our travels through Asia, I remember hearing that several of the cultures were superstitious about their photograph being taken. Perhaps that was the case with this woman’s neighbor.

    • Hi Karen & thank you!

      I do remember the lighting as being magical the day of my visit. It illuminated the whitewashed buildings, which had colorful accents, perfectly!

  2. I have been dreaming about going to Pushkar since years! But not yet go the chance! Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos!

      • Sonali, no we haven’t yet made it to Gujarat, but I remember seeing promotions while in India. The architecture looks fantastic! Is that the state in which you grew up?

      • Yes. Born in Gujarat. I am a Gujarati. Ahmedabad has now applied for world heritage status. Some amazing monuments with Mughal, British and Hindu influence can be seen in my city. I have captured them. You can see them in my other blog sonalidalal.blogspot.in. Do visit my state whenever you can.

      • Thanks for sharing your other site, Sonali – I’m enjoying seeing more of your work from India!

        It’s fun that you can document Ahmedabad through your photographs long before the rush of visitors arrive (once it gets UNESCO status). :)

  3. Great shots. Love the vibrant colours of the merchant’s headpiece, and the look of knowing in her eyes.

    • Anita, thank you & well said! The everyday dress is quite something, isn’t it? I appreciate that each item probably has some important symbolism in the Rajasthani culture.

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