anisha shah / Destination / fashion / globetrotter / journalist / North India / review / Travel / travel writer / world

IMPRESSIONS OF INDIA; PORTRAITS OF A PEOPLE

Six weeks was as long as I could take off work to travel. And despite being on the move every few days, it wasn’t anywhere near enough in North India. Not, at least, to gain the level of detail I would have liked and to have had the time to stop, watch people go by, have lengthy conversations with villagers in various states and to really live and breathe each part. Nonetheless, staff at many of the Taj palace hotels in which I stayed throuh Rajasthan, agreed I had, in this time, seen more of India than they had.

What’s remarkable is that each village in each city in each state has it’s own customs, dialect, costumes and food. The colours through Rajasthan, religious fervour of Haridwar and Varanasi, spirituality of Dharamashala, frozen beauty of Manali, immesity of architecture in Shimla, tranquillity of Mussoorie and modernity of Mumbai were breathtaking.

We often get past the post-holiday blues within a week or two of returning. I have since been to Venice in Italy, the Seychelles and Barbados. But North India remains firmly engrained and imprinted. Please enjoy this small selection of photography (I took 8,000 photos in total) from anywhere and everywhere in North India.

Traditional Rajasthani folk dance at Surygarh hotel, Jaisalmer

Colour in every detail in India

An employee keeps watch over crowds below at Mehrangarh fort, Jodhpur

It’s Spring – Rajasthani farmers colour coordinate turbans to seasons, Jodhpur

Wife of the Head of the Bishnoi village community, outside Jodhpur

Bishnoi tribewomen transport goods through the desert village outside Jodhpur

Beautiful and vibrant Bishnoi women stand out against the harsh arid desertscape

Rajasthani women traditionally cover their faces and wear bold and beautiful colours

An exhausting walk in dry desert heat back to the Bishnoi village near Jodhpur

Multi-coloured turban or ‘Pagri’, traditional Rajasthani style


A priest strolls through Haridwar, lost in prayer

Pot of ashes strewn into the holiest of Hindu rivers, Ganges in holiest of Hindu cities, Varanasi, bearing Hindu Swastika sign of prosperity.

Night market seller hopes passing trade from evening Ganga aarti will filter in, Varanasi

Father & son brush their teeth in Varanasi streets, with natural material sold in street market

A priest practices prayer & meditation at dawn on the banks of the holy river Ganges in Varanasi

Varanasi attracts spiritual and religious from all over the world to practice and learn the art of prayer

Professional clothes-washer in the traditonal way on riverbank of Ganges in Varanasi

A priest in Varanasi stops to smile and see his photograph on a camera

Beauty in the back-streets of deeply religious and holy Varanasi

A boy wraps a fresco of his Hindu God of wirship in a fresh flower garland, Varanasi

Colourful remains of prayer in a back-street residential alleyway in Varanasi

One of countless street temples littered throughout Varanasi

Wonderfully friendly horse& carriage driver on tour of grounds within Taj Nadesar Palace in Varanasi

Queue of colourful women outside Qutub Minar in New Delhi

Street slum kid navigates moving traffic to beg for money, New Delhi

Awaiting business; peddle rickshaw drivers eagerly anticipate tourists in New Delhi’s old town

A labourer visibly agonises to carry a heavy load for work, New Delhi

Sweat and tears; life of a peddle riskshaw driver in the heat of day, New Delhi,

Crammed tiny stalls sit side-by-side inside the overwhelmingly large & crowded Chandni Chowk market, New Delhi

A kaleidoscope of sarees shimmer in the sun in Chandni Chowk bazaar in New Delhi

A boy takes a well-deserved break after slogging away in a car garage outside Delhi

Returning home to the village after work in the city of Delhi, via crowded public transport, auto-rickshaw

A toddler plays alone outside her village shack in the state of Uttarakhand

An elderly Sadhu / priest walks through the bazaar in Haridwar

Women of the family take their clothes back home from being washed in the River Ganges in Haridwar

A Sadhu, very common sight in deeply spiritual Haridwar

Women street hawkers claim the bridge crossing the Ganges in Haridwar, with their children

Flower baskets at the foot of the sacred River Ganges for offerings during evening aarti at ‘Har-ki-Pauri’, Haridwar

A Priest prepares for rush of evening ‘aarti’ prayers by ‘Ma Ganga’ holy river Ganges in Haridwar,

A striking Rishikesh woman admires the view by Ran Jhula swing bridge hovering above sacred river Ganges

A man prays on the banks of the sacred river Ganges in Rishikesh

Gyuto Monsatery in Dharamshal or ‘little Tibet'; every edifice is utlised for prayer and readings

Buddhist teachings are read constantly inside Gyuto Monastery & hostel in Dharamshala

A girl focusses on reading prayers inside Gyuto Buddhist monastery, Dharamshala

Inside a haveli in Mandawa; bright Rajasthani sarees contrast to the cool architecture and frescoes of Haveli

Mandawa village couple perform song and dance for guests at Castle Mandawa

A Rajasthani village woman performs for guests at hotels in Mandawa to earn a living with her husband

Good spirits as village boys get given money by drivers during Holi, Spring festival of colour, Shimla,

Young boys attempt to demand cars in the road for money during Spring festival of Holi, Shimla

Boys successfully stop traffic Shimla to Manali asking for money during Holi, Spring festival of colour

Groups of boys stop traffic through village roads to demand money; part of the fun during festival of Holi, Manali, Himachal Pradesh

Cute dog is no exception to Holi coloured powder-throwing festivities in Himachal Pradesh

A frenzied morning of Holi festivities sees everything coated in a rainbow

Village children en-route from Shimla to Manali covered in Holi colours, marking Spring

A group of Sikh men stop to admire breathtaking scenery en-route to Manali throuh mean Himalayan ranges

Animals are no exception during colour-throwing fun of Spring Holi festival, Manali

Pink dog sleeps after a morning of Holi coloured powder-throwing festivities, in Manali

In town at the icy hill station of Manali, street hawkers and colourful characters are aplenty

Tibetan youngsters relish the freedom of life in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh

Buddhist lady spins prayer wheel at the most colourful Buddhist temple in McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala.

Tibetans in Dharamshala gather momentum before demonstration through the hill town

‘Free Tibet’ march by Tibetans who’ve found refuge in Dharamshala, following footsteps of HH Dalai Lama

A young Tibetan visitor participates in candlelight march through Dharamshala towards HH Dalai Lama’s monastery & home

Visitors from around lobe join in weekly march through Dharamshala, ‘little Tibet’ praying for the freedom of Tibet

Permanent candle vigil by Tibetans in Dharamshala; prayers to free the people of Tibet in China

In Dharamshala, the young Tibetan generation grows up aware of its history& fight for freedom

A Sikh travels thousands of miles to make pilgrimage to the Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab

Wagah border, military zone between India & Pakistan; a guard ushers thousands in to witness ceremonial lowering of the flags

An onlooker flies the India flag with pride at Wagah Border ceremonial lowering of the flags of India and Pakistan

In the upmarket Sector 17 in Chandigarh, a local man cooks Roti for his family in the street

Mother sells her wares in the street, baby in hand, Jodhpur

A father escorts his daughter, aged 9, to temple to celebrate Gangaur festival in Jodhpur

Jodhpur women sell goods on the streets, taking breaks to chat with friends

Boy goes to market, Sardar market in blue city of Jodhpur


Women wash clothes and bathe in Lake Pichola whilst a man sits and waits in Udaipur

Langur monkey atop a tree at altitude in the Aravalli Hills outside Monsoon Palace, Udaipur

Letting go of a loved one; ashes are poured into sacred Pushkar Lake in India’s holiest city, whilst Priest recites prayers

A peacock fans it’s indigo feathers to display its true splendour to guests at Taj Rambah Palace Jaipur

A surprise awaits in the Maharani Suite; hand-decorated Rangoli of fresh flower petals, Taj Rambagh Palace

Taking a hard-earned break at Amer Fort in Jaipur

6 thoughts on “IMPRESSIONS OF INDIA; PORTRAITS OF A PEOPLE

  1. No doubting that it’s a sub continent full of life and colour. You are more interested in the people than the temples and palaces? I know- there’ll be other posts if I go looking.

  2. Pingback: Divine Visitor | Love is all

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