Northern India, colorful and authentic!
This part of India has a remarkable identity. You imagine yourself in a world where time stood still. A cultural treasure room where the real beauty lies in the characteristic people themselves. Appearing happy when you approach them and almost always willing to be photographed. With an amazing picture as result and a twinkle in their eyes when you let them see themselves on your photo. That’s what makes travel photography so special! The mutual satisfaction of these short meetings with someone who’s live you’ve captured forever.
The northern part is busier than the south and this has its charm. It’s a real experience driving in a rickshaw through the streets where cows, pigs, camels, horses and carriages, scooters and rickshaws zigzagging try to find their way. And that’s only the traffic. This part of the country has so much to offer. I’ve picked out some of the best for you.
What can you expect?
- India’s most authentic place (in my opinion), Varanasi
- Age-old traditions that are still very much alive
- One of the wonders of the world, the majestic Taj Mahal
- Characterful people who have life engraved on their faces
- Colorful festivals like the Holy festival of colors and the Pushkar Camel Fair
- Gorgeous temples and fortresses
- A cuisine that tickles your taste buds
- Jaipur, also known as the pink city, India in its purest form
- National Park Ranthambore, a home for a diversity of wildlife, such as the Bengali tiger and leopard
I’m always happy to be back on Indian grounds. And to see my good friend Kapil, one of India’s best guides. It was with a reason that he was mentioned in the top 5 best travel guides worldwide in 2018, a ranking given by travelers. Repeatedly we traveled through India together, scouting special locations for travel photography. He has a gift for tracing the real and pure India and he completely understands what a photographer is looking for. He has visited the Netherlands and his familiar with Dutch culture. It’s a good cooperation with this professional.
I gladly share some highlights and I invite you to come along and experience this country for yourself. I have no doubt that you too will cherish northern India and remember this again and again.
2700 year old Varanasi, also known as Benares, is one of the oldest cities in the world. A personal favorite that I look forward to every time. In the Hindu religion this is one of the most important Pilgrim places. Here, you experience the real India. You only have to stand in the streets for 10 minutes and you’ll be amazed by what you see passing by, pure India. You’ll see a lot of Holymen who, as the name states, are holy in India. Unique in their existence. Just like the Aarti Ceremony that takes places daily in the “ghats” on the banks of the river Ganges. A ritual performed by seven young priests, with sounds of ancient instruments that move you. Take a moment to just be still and take it all in, before you grab your camera and capture this immersive ceremony on film.
The “Taj”, as the majestic Taj Mahal is popularly called, is a fabulous palace. Build between 1632 and 1648 as tribute to and last resting place for Mumtaz Mahal, wife of the fifth emperor of the Mughal Empire. It is with a reason that this place is one of the seven wonders of the world. You can watch this building from multiple sides and because of its symmetry it’s evenly beautiful from every side. Obviously it’s a touristic highlight, but you really want to see this with your own eyes. It’s a true gem for photographers.
Jaipur, capital city of Rajasthan and better known as the pink city, is another pearl representing authentic India. In 1876 the city was painted pink as a sign of hospitality for the visiting prince of Wales. The bazar, the flower market, the Galta Ji monkey temple, the Amber and Nahargah fortresses are just a few of the highlights. Just like city palace, water palace and the famous Hawal Mahal palace, also known as palace of winds. It has everything for characterful photos.
Pushkar, once a year home of the Camel Fair, is a hippie town from the past. There’s still a special vibe which creates a comfortable atmosphere. You’ll find a lot of Holymen wondering around town or hanging around the holy lake. According to their religion, every Hindy has to come to Pushkar at least once in their life, to clean themselves in the holy lake and wash away sins and sickness. At night you can see sacrificing rituals in one of the 52 ghats around the lake. A place where you can feel culture in a way that’s only possible in India. The Camel Fair is a festival known worldwide and a real attraction for photographers. The combination with Pushkar makes it an ideal destination for photography.
Ranthambore National Park is one of the most famous tiger reserves in the country. The park is a delight in itself with beautiful landscapes, nature and jungle. The park is divided into sections and in every section you’ll find Bengali tigers and leopards. You can feel the excitement in the jeep when the first tracks are traced. Focused and filled with anticipation you stare into the jungle, who will spot them first? And once they appear in front of your camera there’s nothing but respect for the elegant predators. An intense game drive experience you have to experience for yourself!
Remote villages, a visit to people’s homes and a local school shows you the real day to day life. This not only provides you with characterful portraits, but you also get to know the real India. Friendly as they are, they really open up if the feel your intentions are honest. And they love to see the photos you took of them. A big smile and twinkling eyes, enjoying the little things in life. You just want to be a part of this.
Travelmarks photography.. your experience!