What’s that one thing that pulls you into the world of travel? I have been asked this question often and my answer remains the same, “The People”. The curiosity to meet strangers on untrodden paths, and eventually knowing them during the journey lure me the most when it comes to traveling.
We travel, we meet and we move on. But during those journeys, a few are able to make a deep imprint on your mind by their mere appearance, presence, stories, passion, or just indescribable emotional connect. It still brings me back to those faint memories of meeting unfamiliar faces in the train compartment during the long hours of journey in my childhood and how it used to create a bond with them within few hours. I always somehow wanted to freeze those moments in my life.
So, when I actually hit the road in real, I never missed the opportunity to connect with strangers and capture a few of them into my lens. It’s been more than 10 years; I have been traveling to numerous destinations in India and have tried capturing some of the most compelling faces from various corners of the country. Though a static picture can’t capture the entire gamut of experiences like sound and smell, calmness and chaos, peace and drama, it sure does depict unsaid emotions that tell a story worth sharing.
I present some of my most favorite portraits, shot in different locations at different times during my fascinating journeys across the country so far.
Chamba | Uttarakhand
I shot this photograph on a busy market street in Chamba when I decided to explore the narrow alleys of the hill town in Uttarakhand. The man was waiting for his bus at the stop along with a few others. The smile on his face, sharp features and the expression (specially) made me capture him into my lens.
Padavedu | Tamil Nadu
I was wandering aimlessly on the street of this small town named Padavedu, capturing the daily life around the temple nearby. After an hour, while on my way back, I was approached by this woman who was selling flowers. She was wondering about my whereabouts and curious about my camera and tried to communicate in her local language. Failing to understand even a single word, I asked for help from a local who told me that she wanted to see the photographs. As I was showing her the photos, she asked me to capture her flower shop.
Tawang | Arunachal Pradesh
In 2013, I landed in Tawang for an assignment for Arunachal Pradesh Tourism. We were shooting at various locations for the Travel Video and one of the shoot locations was at a local’s house in a remote village. While shooting in that village, I met this aged woman who belonged to Monpa Community. Just before the shoot, she took me to her backyard to show the traditional Monpa house where I shot this photograph.
Munnar | Kerala
I was too keen to see the make-up session of the traditional Kathakali dancers. So, I arrived at the cultural center in Munnar an hour before the show. As the artist was getting ready, I got the perfect opportunity to capture him in the right lighting set-up. The natural light falling on his face made the frame worth capturing into my lens.
Kutch | Gujarat
During my visit to the Rann of Kutch Festival in 2016, I happened to visit Bhirindiyari village. Dominated by the Meghwal community, is a small village consisting of only 20 houses. Known for the finest embroidery works mainly by the women, each one is a skilled craftswoman. While exploring the village, I saw her standing at the doorstep of her traditional mud house, wearing the traditional outfit. As I exchanged smiles, I took her permission to capture her into my lens.
Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary | Chhattisgarh
I visited the Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary during Chhattisgarh trip a few years back. I stayed at the forest guest house in the buffer zone of the forest. Being a curious soul, I decided to explore the nearby villages. While walking through the village, witnessing the daily life of those villagers early in the morning, I met this villager sitting and having his morning cup of Tea.
Seeing me with a camera, he called me and asked me to wait for some time. I was wondering about the situation as I couldn’t figure out why I was being asked to wait. Later he came back with a few photographs of his, taken by someone who happened to visit this village. Then he asked me to take his picture (Maybe he loves to be framed) and requested me to send the copies to him. That’s how I got my picture-perfect portrait that morning.
Jorhat | Assam
I was on my way from the Tea factory visit in Sangsua tea estate in Jorhat that morning. While crossing the lush green tea gardens, I saw those tea pickers at work and decided to capture them into my lens. It feels so blissful when I photograph my backyard and show them to the world. She was busy plucking tea leaves when I candidly clicked this one.
Pushkar | Rajasthan
It’s a photographer’s paradise to get the best of the frames in Pushkar fair, one colorful carnival in Rajasthan. It was my very first day in Pushkar. While wandering aimlessly on the festival ground, I decided to strike a conversation with a local. It turned out to be quite interesting when he decided to be a part of my frames, giving me a variety of expressions, without me even asking for it. This portrait is one of my favorites from the festival.
Bastar | Chhattisgarh
Bastar is known as Tribal Planet of India. Home to almost 40 tribal communities, Bastar is popularly known for Bison Horn Maria, Abhuj Maria, Muria, Bhatra, Dhurva, Halba, Dorla, and Gadba tribal communities. It was during my visit to Bastar, I was invited to have lunch by a Tribal Family. It was undoubtedly quite an experience, sampling the authentic tribal food, specially prepared by the family for us. She was our gracious host.
Anandpur Sahib | Punjab
I met him during my visit to the iconic Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara in Punjab. Waiting patiently for the langar (free meal), just outside the hall, he exchanged a smile as I passed through. There was something striking about his face with the sun-glass on, which made me capture him.
Jodhpur | Rajasthan
There is something about the people of Rajasthan which compels you to look at them. I never feel tired of clicking them either. She welcomed me to her mud house in the Bishnoi Village in Jodhpur where she was happily indulging in a light conversation with me, sitting under the tree in her traditional attire.
Bhuj | Gujarat
She belongs to Rabari Community, popularly known for their nomadic lifestyle and the exquisite artworks, particularly their thread, mirror, and mud-relief work, mainly done by the women. She is 80 years old and works at Kala Raksha Centre in Bhuj where she does traditional hand-stitched embroidery work. I was very much fascinated by the black attire and the craft, which made me dig deep into their community to know more.
Pushkar | Rajasthan
Some people are too excited to be in front of the camera and this father & son duo was the perfect example. As I crossed their tent, looking out for the perfect frame, the kid came running and requested me to click them. When they were busy posing for others, I captured this for myself.
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