People in North India: A Photo Essay

One of the most fascinating aspects of travel is the people we come across.  Some we meet, talk to and hang out with.  Others we see while engaging in people watching,  while others might just pose for us for fun, while only engaging in a few polite words.

I’ve never come across a culture that likes the camera as much as in India.   Like in other warm climates, people tend to be much more extroverted than shy.  There are so many inhabitants. Personal space tends to be slim to non-existent in many locations.

Considering these observations, when it comes to generating images of people, India is a photographer’s dream.

Over the last week, I’ve been manipulating and organizing what’s felt like a zillion photos from six weeks in India.  I’d like to share a few of my favorite people pics.

Please click on the photos for an ehanced view.   Then simply click your browser’s back button to return to this page.


Rishikesh: These two holy men and me had too much of a language barrier to have a conversation, but they didn’t mind me taking their photo.

Delhi: After sharing a table with these two guys in this little roadside restaurant, they insisted that I take their photo. The man on the left told me that he’s Nepalese. 

Attari: While takng a photo of this attractive bus, a couple of guys noticed me and said that I needed to take the shot with the driver in the picture. They yelled over to the humble man who came and proudly got beside his artistic looking transport vehicle for the photo.

Amritsar’s Golden Temple: A person in this group asked the two young foreign women if they’d pose with them. You see the Japanese girl on the left and the Londoner smiling in the middle. Everyone is required to go barefooted and cover their head while on the Golden Temple grounds.

McLeod Ganj: This Tibetan Buddhist monk provided for a good shot while he was walking towards me.

Agra: Fascinated by my presence, these kids were following me around. After I snapped a couple of photos of them they seemed to be satisfied and let me go on my way.

Delhi: These kids noticed me taking pictures through the gate.  They ran up to take a look at me.

Delhi: While ready to snap a shot of the bananas and cow, this kid popped in front of me and posed. After, he asked for a Rupee. I only had a 100 Rupee bill so I asked him to take me to the nearest chai stand where I bought a glass of Chai. After paying, the smallest bill I had was a 10 so I gave it to the boy. I thought: he wasn’t begging but created a way to earn his money, he’s got entrepreneurial skills and is probably doing something smart with the money. Five minutes later, while finishing my Chai, the boy walked by me eating a bag of chips.

Varanasi: These guys I shot from the back of an auto rickshaw while stuck in traffic. You can’t blame them for not being happy as they get paid peanuts for gueling labor. Also, you can’t see it in the picture but it was around 100º F or 38º C that day.

Rishikesh: The man in the center approached me and asked if I’d pose with his photogenic family. I then got him to reciprocate the favor.

Chandigarth – Nek Chand’s fantasy Rock Garden: I was the only foreign tourist there so I got plenty of attention. There was no shortage of people talking to me. Many wanted my picture and wanted to pose for me as well.


7 responses to this post.

  1. PREM: A thousand thanks for your comment and for subscribing. 🙂 YES! You hit it on the head. I was only in north India for six weeks. The land is vast, not just geographically but culturally as you’re so well aware. I’d need years and then it would still be impossible to have a complete understanding.

    What I’ve analyzed: WOW! There are all walks of life. As Hindustan is growing there’s a huge paradox. There’s not enough to go around. The surprises are endless. There are so many religions, languages, and climates. There’s so much food and architecture. Your native land can be a traveler’s dream.

    You have touts that want your money because they need it. They can be aggresive in some places, e.g. Varanasi. But people want your money everywhere in the world. It’s more blatant in some parts of India. There are so many homeless people and beggars. This is also true on most parts of the globe but it’s just more evident in India as the population is so concentrated. I also came across some super kind, very generous, extremely educated and intelligent people. India is a big constant contrast. The large population promotes many challenges as the subcontinent continues to develop. Generally speaking, Indians really like foreigners and want them to have a great experience in their land.

    I hope to return soon, on my way back to the states, but I got sick recently, not in India but in Thailand. If I’m not back to 100% health then I won’t be ready for a short trip to Rajastan and/or Kerala etc. this time around. Time will tell. I hope to make a decision in a week or so.

    I hope that helped. If you have any more questions about my viewpoints, please don’t hesitate to ask. Also feel free to email me:


  2. Very nice essay, but its too short as i think you noticed. You can not cover complete India’s picture in a limited time, you need much time to understand India, even I have not visited all places of india and I am Indian.

    I want to know that, what you analise after visiting.


  3. Posted by Darren on August 8, 2011 at 04:58

    I love your captions. Nice that you have the names of so many of your subjects!


  4. LYNDA: A thousand thanks!


  5. Posted by Lynda Kelley on August 5, 2011 at 19:41

    Great Pictures!


  6. PINKY: Buy train tickets in advance as often as possible. Then when you get to the north and there are no more train routes, try to get on the local buses quickly and grab a seat. Otherwise, like the rest of us, you’re just gonna have to suck it up. Bus rides aren’t always brutal. You can try for Volvos and deluxe buses that have assigned seats. I wasn’t fortunate enough to take a Volvo but my deluxe ride from Shimla to Daramsala wasn’t bad as I had two seats to myself. There was even an outlet but there was no way I was pulling the laptop out as the bus was constantly weaving on mountain roads and even trying to pass trucks on hairpin turns.


  7. I am really enjoying reading this but not looking forward to the bus trips! 🙂


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