The lens of a photographer capture the seen and the unseen, prominent and abstract, colours and emotions and most of all feelings despite the silence…There is absolutely nothing that remains hidden from the eye of a photographer. The quality, quantity, depth, height and breadth parameters beguile shutterbugs to freeze moments as it is and then frame these in 3X5 classics. As a photography enthusiast, you may look at everything with an eye of getting the best out of it; however, it is a fact that there are very few things that have a natural photogenic aspect just like diversity in India. Right from the beautiful landscape to the soulful culture, from the diversity of wildlife to the stunning architecture, there ain’t a better place in the world other than India to capture undying pictures of vivacity. A photography tour in India has a whole new dimension added to it with the impeccable diversity and higher on an average photography opportunity.
Let us discuss some of the photography avenues in India and also learn about the destinations and features that should be photographed in India:
“Capture the Infinitely Healing Nature and Learn about its Reserves of Enduring Strength”
Landscape photography in India is simple and at the same time complex. Undeniably the plethora of natural extravaganza in the country can make any landscape or nature photographers go gaga over it. The exceptionally beautiful Ladakh and its mountainscape is a personal favourite of imminent nature photographers in India; thecold desert of Nubra Valley and Zanskar Valley and the alpine lakes of the Leh region can be some of the best places for nature photography. In this desert race, do you think that Rajasthan and Gujarat would lag behind? Here as well the hot desert and its magically made sand-dunes certainly can catch the eye of photographers, Jaiselmer in Rajasthan can be the right destination for you, if you want to get some great pictures of the golden sand and some of the best sunsets in India. The Great Rann of Kutch in Gujarat (Part of Thar Desert) and its salt marsh also offers a piece of exquisiteness in terms of picture perfect photography.
If flora is what intrigues you, the Valley of Flowers in Garhwal region of Uttarakhand and Yumthang Valley in North Sikkim can be the right destinations for you. Garhwal region of Uttarakhand offers ample opportunities to frame nature at its best; Auli and the massive Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve are the places that can be visited for best travel photography in India. The magical spell of Himachal Pradesh can by no means be ignored when it comes to nature photography, while Dharamshala, Solang, Kangra district and Manali have quite a lot of places that quenches the thirst of landscape photographers.
The 7 alpine lakes in Kashmir and the Green Lake in Sikkim offer a distinct landscape of India; it is indeed one of the best places for snow photography along with some great trekking experience in India you can win some wonderful photo results. If you come to central India, you cannot be thankful enough to have visited Bhedaghat in Madhya Pradesh. Known for its Marble Mountains, this sugarloaf range with the meandering river to compliment shall give some of the finest frames to photography enthusiasts. Capture the mesmerizing beauty of the Western Ghats at Lonavala, Khandala and Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra and freeze the majestically cascading Dudhsagar and Athirapally waterfalls, situated in the state of Goa and Kerala respectively.
In Tamil Nadu, the scenic beauty rises above level at Ooty and Kodaikanal, the green lakes and the lofty mountains surrounding it offer scenic frames. Capture the surreal tea gardens and vivid shades of green at Munnar in Kerala and Darjeeling in West Bengal. The exceptionally picturesque Alleppey with its backwater, palm-fringed banks and houseboats are also worth capturing in Kerala. In northeast India, a photographer can go click after click in places like Meghalaya (Shillong, Chherapunji, Khasi Hills, Garo Hills and Jantia Hills), Nagaland (Arakan Mountains), Arunachal Pradesh (Tawang), Assam (Majuli, the largest river island) and in West Bengal (Mandarmani, Digha and Shankarpur). Also, Arakku Valley in Andhra Pradesh, Chilika Lake in Odisha and the beaches of Goa are some of the best places for photography.
“Capture Wilderness to Learn to Live a Meaningful and Harmonious Life”
One of the most difficult yet adventurous photography genres is wildlife photography, while most of the wildlife photography enthusiasts topple on jeeps in the national parks, there are still more who trust their natural surroundings to capture the hidden realm of the wilderness. In India, you can never go short of diversity in wildlife, as there are many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks stationed across the length and the breadth of the country. You will not regret your decision to visit India for wildlife photography.
If you are seeking something royal and exceptional, Hemis National Park in Ladakh is the place for you; with a large number of snow leopards and several migratory birds making it their home, you have a bounty to capture here. The Dachigam National Park in Kashmir is yet another great place to capture the splendid diverse wildlife of Indian Himalaya region. In fact it is one of the best places for travel and wildlife photography in India. The Kashmiri Stag or Hangul is what you shall be looking forward to for taking pictures in Dachigam. As a wildlife photographer, your greatest interest would be awaiting you at Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve in Uttarakhand, which is also known for its snow leopard population as well asother important animal species. Rajaji National Park (Known for its Elephant Population) and Corbett National Park are the other two best places for wildlife photography in India. The Great Himlayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh also offers photographers a treat with elusive Himalayan species and some of the best landscape in North India; you will definitely be able to get exemplary photo shoots done here.
If tigers are what interest you more, Ranthambore National Park and Bandhavgarh National Park can be your pick. The two national parks, Ranthambore in Rajasthan and Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh are known as the best places for tiger photography holidays in India and hence enhance your chances of getting decent tiger pictures to add to your profile. Tigers and leopard photography can also be done at Tadoba National Park in Maharashtra, being the largest national park in Maharashtra; Tadoba also has a rich collection of flora along with fauna. On the other hand, in order to capture the best of wildlife in Rajasthan, you can also visit Sariska, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary and Keoladeo National Park; you can make a fine collection of wildlife photos at Kanha National Park and Pench National Park. Capture some breathtaking pictures of majestic lions ruling the territory in Gir National Park.
The one-horned rhinoceros, Asian elephant and many species of deer can be best shot in West Bengal; the two national parks Jaldapara and Gorumara are the best for travel and wildlife photography in India. You are going to love trudging to the Northeast where diverse wilderness awaits, Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh, Khangchendzonga National Park in Sikkim and Keibul Lamjao National Park in Manipur and Kaziranga National Park in Assam offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife photography in Northeast India. Capture the enigmatic snow leopards, bounty of avifauna and migratory birds, stump-tailed macaques and sloth bears along with other members of the wildlife.
South India has its own stock to unleash when it comes to wildlife photography; home to a large population of elephants and a refuge to butterflies, national parks in South India provide best wildlife photography tour. Get the opportunity to shoot Indian elephants in their natural habitats and about 20 species of butterflies in the butterfly conservatory in Bannerghatta National Park, Karnataka. The Periyar National Park in Kerala and Bandipur in Karanataka are the best national parks for wildlife photography tour in South India. Crocodiles in Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha attract many wildlife photographers, while the complex mangroves here have become a huge attraction as well. All these national parks along with splendid wildlife offer suitable backgrounds and wonderful lights making each picture appealing and lively.
“Capture the Soul of Human Race, Learn about the Essence that Makes a Nation”
You just cannot take your eyes off and in this case, your camera lens off the Indian culture. An opulent cultural bank in India provides insights on what makes the country distinct and different from others. From religious faith that empowers its countrymen to the hulking high sacred buildings, from the joyous celebrations of unity in diversity to the distinct feasts of 32 dishes or even more! All these intriguing aspects make cultural photography a distinct genre to pursue in India.
The Indian cultural diorama has many jigsaw puzzles stationed across the length and breadth of the country, where the influence of religion is prominent; most of the culture photography in India can be framed around sacred shrines, places and cultural centres. Get the best of religion in Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi, Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan and Gorakhpur, and get an opportunity to capture the moments of pious Aarti (Worship) at the Ghats of Varanasi. Being the Land of Krishna, Varanasi has a special air about it, and as a cultural photographer, you will be intrigued by the abundant photography opportunities at Vrindavan and Mathura. Gorakhpur in North East Uttar Pradesh that shares border with Nepal also gives opportunity of capturing some incredible Hindu Shrines dotting the city. A rich cultural escapade can be to Uttarakhand (Char Dham, Haridwar, Rishikesh and Baijnath Temple) and Himachal Pradesh (Dharamshala, Mcleodganj and Dalhousie); you certainly have abundance to capture here and take back home.
Delhi is another best place for a cultural photography tour in India; the years of rule of different dynasties and the settlement of people from different sects of life have made Delhi a potpourri of culture. Indeed if we talk about cultural photography, there is no better place for cultural photography in India than the capital itself. Holi, Diwali and Dusshera are the best time to visit Delhi for best culture experience. The ruins of the Sheesh Mahal in Farrukh Nagar (20mi), Haryana can also be a great place to go for a cultural photography tour near Delhi.
A joyous and prosperous cultural aspect waiting to be photographed remains in the cities of Punjab. Amritsar being the home of the Golden Temple and Bhatinda housing the Takht Sri Damdama Sahib become important cultural photography destinations. Jammu & Kashmir also has several poses to give to a camera, Mata Vaishno Devi in Katra, Tibetan monasteries in Leh, a mélange of culture thriving in Srinagar and Domkhar in Ladakh allow unparalleled vivacious pictures. On the other hand, diversity brings you to the land of the Rajputs, Rajasthan; stop by destinations like Jaiselmer, Udaipur, Jaipur, Alwar, Ajmer and Pushkar to steal some moments from rich culture of India. The folk dance, traditional costumes, puppetry, delicious delicacies and the lifestyle of the people are the features that must be photographed along with rich architectural heritages in the form of temples and forts. The neighboring state of Gujarat has an equally rich cultural bank; capture the vibrancy of garba dance and the colourful traditional attires, the vivacious bazaars and the extent of religious faith at cities like Rajkot, Gandhinagar, Dwarka and Porbandar (Birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi). Madhya Pradesh largely boasts of its cultural inheritance with Khajuraho, Orchha, Bhopal, Gwalior, Sirpur and Burhanpur being some of the best places for culture photography in Madhya Pradesh.
The culturally rich Northeast along with Bihar and Chhatisgarh also provides brilliant photography opportunity. The cultural capital of India, Kolkata along with Belur, Shantiniketan and Bishnupur are the best places for culture photography in West Bengal. Durga Puja and Saraswati Puja are the best time to go for photography in West Bengal. Gaya, Patna and Rajgir in Bihar and Bilaspur in Chhatisgarh open the door to wonderful cultural photography in central India. Gangtok in the state of Sikkim, Guwahati ( Shankardev Kala Kshetra), Kamakhya, Majuli Satra, Sivasagar, Hajo and Agnigarh in Assam have a large cultural collection that can intrigue any photographer, and the cultural richness make the place unique and different here. The eastern coast of India has some exemplary cultural exhibition to make; Konark, Puri, Bhubaneshwar, Udaigiri and Khandagiri caves in Orissa and Tirupati, Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh are the popular places for cultural photography in India. What I will recommend here is the Tribal Village Photography tour in East India including Odisha, which will offer a rare insight into the core of India’s culture.
You cannot miss out on the southern part of the country when it comes to cultural photography. A kaleidoscope of culture can right be seen in Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram, Rameshwaram, Pondicherry, Kanniyakumari, Madurai in Tamil Nadu, Cochin, Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, Mysore, Badami, Hampi, Halleibid, Belur in Karnataka, Ajanta and Ellora, Aurangabad, Shirdi, Mumbai (Elephanta caves), Mawal, Bedse and Bhaja caves, Nanded in Maharashtra for cultural shoots. On the other side, Goa and its Portuguese style Churches and ancient temples also make for some great cultural photography options in West India.
“Capture Architecture to Learn about History, Creativity and Patience”
Although not the easiest form of photography, architectural photography has a certain edge that makes it one of the most popular forms of photography worldwide. The cup is full to its brim, when it comes to options of architectural photography in India. A plethora of options from the head of the country to the tail of it makes India popular amongst ardent architectural photographers.
You can journey up to Ladakh to capture the beauty of the majestic Tibetan Monastery reining the area; also the Leh Palace will compel you to frame a few shots here as well. You just cannot walk past the Taj Mahal if you are in Agra, as the world famous building and its architecture is to die for. Red fort and Fatehpur Sikri are other places that you must visit for some great architectural photography in India. Delhi is another best place for architectural photography tour in North India; the mélange of different dynasties have brought together a stunning array of architectural marvels in the city, to name some: Old Fort, Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, India Gate and Safdarjang Tomb are the best places photography venues in Delhi.
The royal forts of Rajasthan are certainly something great to capture; visit Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaiselmer, Bikaner, Kota, Udaipur, Kumbhalgarh and Alwar which are among the best destinations for architectural photography in Rajasthan. For your photography holidays you can journey through central India, where the architecture of Khajuraho, Gwalior and Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh and the sacred temple at Gaya in Bihar catch hold of your eyes.
The Konark Sun Temple built by Eastern Ganga Dynasty in Konark, Odisha needs no introduction, while on the other side West Bengal with its perfect juxtaposition of modern and ancient architecture provides good photography opportunity; Victoria Memorial Hall, Birla Mandir, Dakhineshwar, Bishnupur terracotta temples are some of the best photography destinations in West Bengal. The city of Nizams, Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh has its fair share of architectural collection; you may love to capture the beautiful Char Minar, Mecca Masjid, Golconda Fort and Falaknuma Palace are some of the monuments that your camera will love here.
The culturally rich Karnataka also has some brilliant edifices, and Mysore Badami, Hampi, Halleibid, Belur and Bangalore can be your favourite haunts if you’re interested in different artistic trend. The Pallavas and Cholas have largely contributed to the architecture of Tamil Nadu; the Dravidian style of architecture with huge temples and outstanding exteriors of the same is worthy to be capture in the lens. Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram, Rameshwaram, Pondicherry, Kanniyakumari, Madurai (Meenakshi Temple) are the best places for architectural photography in Tamil Nadu. Maharashtra on the other side boasts of rock-cut architecture along with some colonial era buildings (Victoria Terminus, Shaniwar Wada and Gateway of India), the caves at Ajanta, Ellora and Elephanta (Mumbai) are the places where you should go for architectural photography in Maharashtra. Goa, which is the neighbouring state of Maharashtra demarcate itself with a more contemporary Portuguese architecture style. The churches in Goa are what you will thoroughly enjoy shooting along with Portuguese influenced houses and symmetrical interiors. The artistic trends, the influence of several ruling dynasties and the creative bend of minds have contributed in making India an incredible place for architectural photography tour.
Reasons may differ from person to person, but India certainly is a land full of travel opportunity that offers something for everyone. So, the next time you are wondering where to go on photography tour, look no further than the Incredible India!