India Then & Now – 1979 through 2013

India has changed a lot in the 33 years between my two visits to India, but many things have remained the same. The biggest change as I understand it is the expansion of the middle class which has increased private motorized traffic in the cities a lot. I think they also have caused an increase in upscale restaurants and hotels. The classes below the middle class still exhibit similar behavior to what I remember from my 1979 visit. I would guess that things have changed for these classes too, but externally things look similar to me.

I first visited India December 1979 and stayed for the month of December. I visited Bombay (now known as Mumbai), Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, and Varanasi (also known as Benares). I traveled around India by public transportation and by trains between cities. India was much different in 1979, it’s middle class was not as developed as it is in 2013, had a smaller population, and didn’t have a lot of private motor cycles, automobiles, and trucks. Most of the commuting was done by human or engine powered rickshaws, bicycles, carts drawn by humans or draft animals, or public transportation which were buses or trains.

My second visit was in February 2013 and I visited some of the same cities as I did during my first visit. I found that there were a lot of private cars and trucks, motor scooters and cycles, some bicycles, still a lot of human and engine powered rickshaws, fewer carts drawn by humans or draft animals, and public transportation which are still buses and trains, but they are extending the newish mono-rail system. Driving in India takes a special skill, not only do they drive on the opposite side then we do in the USA, but cars, trucks, buses, or other vehicles, will be driving in the opposite direction in your lane. The Indians seem to understand this unwritten rule-of-the-road, and by honking their horns constantly for passing or whatever else, they get by. Driving in India is not for the faint of heart!

Agra Fort Map DSC_1611.jpgAgra Fort DSC_1603.jpgAgra Fort DSC_1608.jpgAgra Fort DSC_1621.jpgAgra Fort DSC_1627.jpgAgra Fort Detail DSC_1631.jpgAgra Fort Detail DSC_1634.jpgAgra Fort Detail DSC_1636.jpgAgra Fort Mud Marble Restoration DSC_1646.jpgAgra Fort Mud Marble Restoration DSC_1649.jpgAgra Fort Mud Marble Restoration DSC_1651.jpgAgra Fort Mud Marble Restoration DSC_1656.jpgAgra Fort View of Taj Mahal DSC_1641.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1353.jpgCow Patties Stacked Up DSC_1370.jpgCow Patties Stacked Up DSC_1373.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1358.jpgCow Taking a Drink DSC_1490.jpgIndian Cow DSC_1487.jpgFood Vendor 12-79 India 01.jpgFood Vendor India 12-79 33.jpgFriendly Indian Boys DSC_1401.jpgGanges River Bathers 12-79 India 07.jpgGanges River Bathers 12-79 India 13.jpgGathering Firewood and Dung 12-79 India 08.jpgIndia Brass Worker 12-79 5-01.jpgIndia Holy Man 12-79 17-10-V.jpgIndia Sharpening Saw Varanasi 12-79 16.jpgIndian Banana Stand 12-79 18-X.jpgIndian Camel Cart 12-79 23-X.jpgIndian Camel having lunch 12-79  1121-17.jpgIndian Checkers 12-79 10-X.jpgIndian Guard 12-79 India 1121-05.jpgIndian Snake Charmer 12-79 13-X.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1316.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1321.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1326.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1330.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1333.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1339.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1340.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1348.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1364.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1367.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1381.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1382.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1385.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1390.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1400.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1404.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1409.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1667.jpgIndian Street Scene DSC_1737.jpgIndian Trash Wagon 12-79 15-X.jpgItimad-UD-Daulah Tomb DSC_1444.jpgItimad-UD-Daulah Tomb DSC_1453.jpgItimad-UD-Daulah Tomb DSC_1456.jpgItimad-UD-Daulah Tomb DSC_1457.jpgItimad-UD-Daulah Tomb DSC_1464.jpgItimad-UD-Daulah Tomb Gate DSC_1447.jpgJaipur Food Stands 12-79 India 10.jpgJaipur Fruit Stands 12-79 India 17.jpgJaipur Street 12-79 India 1521.jpgMen Jaipur India 12-79 24.jpgTaj Mahal Descriptive Sign DSC_1596.jpgTaj Mahal 12-79 India 07-X.jpgTaj Mahal Close-up 12-79 India 25-X.jpgTaj Mahal Close-up 12-79 India 531.jpgTaj Mahal Complex from Mehtab Bagh Garden DSC_1478.jpgTaj Mahal Complex from Mehtab Bagh Garden DSC_1480.jpgTaj Mahal Detail DSC_1523.jpgTaj Mahal Detail DSC_1528.jpgTaj Mahal Detail DSC_1538.jpgTaj Mahal Detail DSC_1543.jpgTaj Mahal Detail DSC_1551.jpgTaj Mahal Detail DSC_1560.jpgTaj Mahal Detail DSC_1564.jpgTaj Mahal Detail DSC_1569.jpgTaj Mahal Detail DSC_1574.jpgTaj Mahal Detail DSC_1586.jpgTaj Mahal Detail DSC_1588.jpgTaj Mahal DSC_1520.jpgTaj Mahal Gate Detail DSC_1495.jpgTaj Mahal Gate DSC_1491.jpgTaj Mahal India 12-79 10.jpgTaj Mahal India 12-7935-XX.jpgTaj Mahal Mosque DSC_1570.jpgTaj Mahal Police Car DSC_1599.jpgTaj Mahal Worker a Day Before Retirement DSC_1554.jpgAgra Preparing Inlaid Stones DSC_1685.jpgAgra Inlaid Stone Work DSC_1689.jpg