“Excuse me sir, can I help you?”, “I was wondering which direction would be best to go for a run”, “Excuse me?” – in complete bemusement, “A run”, “A run?” . . . This farcical conversation continued until I gave up and ran down any old street to explore Jaipur at dawn, and hope not to get lost. I had been warned on numerous occasions about the heat of Rajasthan, regardless I was keen to see how Indian cities and villages went about their mornings and to experience different perspectives of places. I watched immaculately dressed kids walking to school, markets coming to life with people from local villages coming to sell their goods and others simply enjoying a morning cup of tea watching the world go by (and a lost western tourist trying not to act too out of breath).

Man with his grandson

I would not suggest that anyone should take my approach and run through the back streets of the largest city in Rajasthan or the desert town of Jaisalmer. However, I would propose taking an early morning stroll through any city or town that you are staying in. It will allow you to experience their morning rituals, see the town wake from its slumber to start a new day and, most interestingly, give you a chance to come into contact with some welcoming and colourful people who, if you are lucky, might even offer you a cup of tea and a biscuit.

Elder from a Bishnoi village

Below and above are some of the wonderful people and colours from Jaipur to Jaisalmer, who made getting up early in the morning worth the effort. If you wish to travel to Rajasthan or any other part of India, do give James a call on 020 72896100 or alternatively e-mail him at james@ampersandtravel.com.

Colourful women in the desert

Women sharing a joke on the streets of Jodhpur

This was generally the look I received when running