Location: Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India (26° 55′ 12″ N, 70° 54′ 0″ E)
Date: 27 Dec 2008; 8.30am
Camera: Canon 400D with Sigma 17-70/f2.8-4.5
The Gypsies or Roma that we know today originated from India and migrated across to the West over a thousand years ago. The origin of their culture is the hostile habitat of the Thar Desert of Rajasthan. Two of the most common group of so-called gypsies in India are the Bopa and Kalbeliya. They are the lowest caste in the Hindu caste system and live a nomadic life, sleeping underneath the stars on the outskirts of towns in Rajasthan. They worked as street performers travelling between fairs and festivals such as those of Pushkar and Bikhaner, as well as selling ethnic jewellery and accessories at tourist spots. They are talented musicians and dancers and they used to be sought after by maharajas as court performers; however their stable livelihood disappeared together with the royalties of India. They can be easily identified by their darker skin, colourful costumes and abundant adornment of accessories, the most common being the nose rings.