Ivisited India at the invitation of India'sPhotographers' Association and theKarnataka state government as a mem-ber of a Chinese delegation composedof participants of the Pingyao InternationalPhotography Festival. It was December, andthe weather in Beijing was chilly, but imme-diately upon disembarking the plane at NewDelhi's Indira Gandhi International Airporta balmy blast of summer-like air greetedus. And so I noted the first of many ways inwhich India and China differ.
Flying on from New Delhi to Banga-lore, we had an opportunity to survey thegeography of the South Asian nation fromthe air. The terrain is generally level, withfew mountains or hills. In accommodating anational population of 1 billion, second onlyto China, India benefits from a greater shareof arable land.
The Indian people are typically very gra-cious. At each city, town and village we vis-ited, we were warmly received with flowersand smiles. The Pingyao International Pho-tography Festival (Asia) press conference inba
ngalore went off successfully, with greatemphasis placed on friendship and coopera-tion between China and India. Known as theSilicon Valley of India, Bangalore, the capi-tal of the state of Karnataka, also serves asthe center for the media and film industries.In covering the festival, the Indian press fo-cused on the cooperation between the neigh-boring nations. Newspapers, like the Timeso~ India and Hindustan Times, reported onthe press conference the following day. Ac-companied by large-format images, enrouteto visits, at the hotels and at newsstands, wesaw headlines such as "A View of Chinathrough the Lens."
In Karnataka we visited the World Heri-tage site of Hampi, an ancient city stretch-ing for dozens of kilometers across the hills.The stone palace, temples, markets, residen-tial buildings and military battlements areformed in exotic shapes. Unlike the archi-tecture of ancient China, in Hampi there wasno city wall and all the buildings were wellventilated and spaced out. We assumed thismight be attributed to India's hot weather,with the vented structures able to better dis-sipate the heat of the sun. The ancient Indiansgenerally built with stone, while the Chineseused wood. We assumed this was due to theunsuitability of the tropical trees of India,like the coconut and sandalwood. In contrast,China's poplar, willow and pine woods arewell-suited for sturdy construction.