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Photographer's Note

'Chai' is the Hindi word for tea but it usually means the well-known sweetened spiced milk-tea beverage. A 'wallah' is one who performs a specific task; a rickshaw wallah drives the rickshaw, a dhobi wallah washes clothes and chai wallahs, you guess it, they make chai. Chai is the lifeblood and the national drink of India and chai wallahs are almost everywhere in Rajasthan, from busy urban street corners to hidden alleyways, at bus terminals and crowded railway platforms, along lakesides and on footpaths. When you need a fresh cup of chai, the chai wallah is always available ready to serve at all times of the day or night.

Chai wallahs take pride in their chai, after all each and every day, it is their responsibility to sustain and nurture the masses by providing the beverage that keeps Rajasthan running. To stand out from the rest, many chai wallahs develop a stylized preparation and presentation for their chai. Some chai wallahs put a little something special in their chai, a smashed up nub of ginger, a pinch of cardamom or a strand of saffron on top, to make it unique and keep their customers coming back.

Here is a shot from Ajmer, a compact and bustling old town about 150 km south west of Jaipur. I watched this chai wallah as he made his pot of chai and I was surprised to see several people waiting for their chai to be served. It is quite a sight infact watching how he prepared a cup of hot chai. I think many who have traveled in India come away with fond chai drinking experiences, and it's simply difficult to resist a second cup as I have experienced. It’s been five years since my last visit, yet I’ll never forget sitting in open-air chai shop sipping the steaming creamy spiced liquid..

Additional pictures
Workshop1: After brewing, the boiling chai is strained into these pre-heated shiny stainless pots
Workshop2: The environmental friendly and disposable clay cups

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Additional Photos by abmdsudi abmdsudi (abmdsudi) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3904 W: 144 N: 8956] (38812)
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