Top 10 Reasons to Visit India


People often ask me about my favorite destinations. For photography, India is definitely one of my favorites. I have traveled to India four times in the last few years and each time I find more appeal. Yes, the culture shock can be substantial but there's lots to love about India too.


Here are my top 10 reasons why photographers should visit India:


1. Color


India is a colorful country.  The women wear flowing saris of every imaginable color along with ornate jewelry.  The men of Rajasthan wear colorful turbans.   They add color to almost everything.  They even paint the elephants.  From a photographer’s point of view, vibrant colors draw your eye to everything around you.


2. Intensity


The culture shock that you experience in India propels you into a heightened sense of awareness.  You notice things you wouldn’t see in more relaxed environment.  And, if you’re there to take pictures, this helps your photography.  You don’t just observe India, you experience it.


3. History


India has a long history and many of its historical sites are still standing.  Every city has temples, palaces and forts and you are able to visit and photograph most of them. The Taj Mahal in Agra, the Amber Fort in Jaipur and the City Palace in Udaipur are but a few examples.


4. Culture


India provides a freedom of religion supporting a diverse population.  Hinduism, Muslim and Buddhism are practiced throughout the country as well as many other religions.  There are many ethnic backgrounds among the population too.  But it is the combination of ethnic background and religion that creates India’s unique cultures and traditions that are so appealing to photographers.


5. People


If, like me, you want to photograph interesting people in their natural environment then India will be a photo rich environment for you.  With many different cultures, occupations and styles of dress, there is an endless supply of interesting people, from religious people like priests and sadhus, to everyday people like merchants and farmers.  And most are very willing to let you take their photo.


6. Festivals and Weddings


It seems like there’s always a festival or a wedding taking place when you visit India.  People in India are honored by foreign guests and always welcome you whenever an event is taking place.  These are great opportunities for photography because many people are dressed in their traditional best and many traditional ceremonies are taking place.


7. Markets


Markets in India have a life of their own and are very photogenic.  Some are small areas where vendors come to sell their crops.  Others are large areas where everything under the sun is sold.  Some are in crowded alleys.  Others are on the side of the road.  While the market locations and their colorful merchandise will catch your eye, it is the interaction of the people, the vendors and their customers, that create the biggest appeal for photographers. 


8. Heritage Hotels


Many of the old palaces and lodges of India’s kings or Rajs have been turned into hotels so it’s possible to stay at a hotel that is as photogenic as other sites in the area.  There styles range from opulent to quaint but all of them are historic and great places for photographers to stay.


9. Transportation


Vehicles in India are an art form as much as a means of transportation.  The main roads are crowded with colorfully painted trucks and busses, often loaded to the hilt.  The smaller streets are clogged with other form of transportation from pedestrians to rickshaws to tuk tuks to cattle drawn carts.  India has found a way to make organized chaos work and provide endless photo opportunities at the same time.


10. Cows


Cows are revered in India so you will find them everywhere.  The cows, by themselves, are not that photogenic but the places you find them are and they make a great focal point when they are laying in the middle of a store, blocking a road or being washed.


May your travel and your photography both be rewarding!


     Roger Nelson