Triporteurs in India

•March 21, 2007 • Leave a Comment

India manufactures and uses more triporteurs than anywhere else in the World. In its heirarchy of traffic, until recently three-wheeled commercial vehicles outnumbered 4-wheelers. No 3-wheelers are used for pleasure – all triporteurs are used commercially.

This includes the ‘tempo’ and ‘bajaj’ (generic terms for any 3-wheel transporter), the ‘auto’ (or autorickshaw taxi triporteur), and a variety of pedal-assisted triporteurs, cycle-rickshaws and handcarts.


Tempo Taxi at Sheesh Mahal, February, 1994.


Cars and Curry

•March 20, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I’ve had a lifelong interest in old vehicles – particularly commercials.

I lived in Asia for 10 years, and I decided to be a part-time professional photographer.

During breaks from work I travelled extensively around India eating good vegetarian curry and photographing traffic..


Photographing Traffic

•March 19, 2007 • Leave a Comment

While normal tourists visit the Taj Mahal when in India, I’m to be found photographing traffic.


January 2007

Harley Davidson Taxi

•March 14, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I don’t know if they’re still there, but when I used to visit Delhi in the 1990’s I used to visit the Harley Davidson taxi stand at Connaught place. (This photo is from 1996). They plied a fixed route to the wholesale markets in Old Delhi. Their engines were replaced with Bajaj deisels many years ago, and it was a delight to chug along from what used to be ‘modern’ Delhi (ie 1950’s style) to Old Delhi, which was delighfully pre-war.

Old Delhi was the opposite of the ‘supermarket’ or ‘mall’ approach to selling, ie a small amount of everything being available in one place.

India’s old style of selling came from village traditions, where different areas (usually certain castes in that area) specialized in different skills or manufacture or repair of particular goods. So in cities there would, for example, be a street full of ‘shirtings, suitings and saris’ shops. Another street might house all the metal locker and luggage shops. This would be fine if you only wanted to buy one sort of thing. If you wanted to buy a lot it took several journeys.


The pedal-triporteur Stand

•March 13, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Commercial delivery has a heirarchy that reflects the commercial vehicles used. From truck to 4-wheel Tempo Matador van, to 3-wheeler tempo or bajaj (ie Piaggio Ape), to carrier-tricycle for local distribution.

This is a stand in a Madras street where you can hire a triporteur and rider.


Gujurati Road Crew

•March 12, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Labouring jobs on the roads throughout India are done by teams of low-caste women. They are to be seen everywhere carrying woks on their heads full of gravel, or sitting by the roadside breaking up rocks with hammers.

Throughout Asia, women are considered 2nd class citizens. When I lived in Nepal, I read a local magazine that addressed such issues (rare), and one sentence from it has always stuck in my mind:

“Why is a girl-child always given a broom and not a pen?”


February, 1997

Fast Food

•March 12, 2007 • Leave a Comment

This fast-food delivery is just down the road from Mysore zoo.


Photo January, 2007