The People of India

Last February I went to India, a country full of contrasts that managed to strike such a chord on me that I’m already planning my second trip to see more of India and the people of India.

In India, all senses are appeased (literally). Eyes can’t get enough of the bright colors, from temples to local markets to women’s clothes; every corner has its characteristic smell, most of the times curry-based; everywhere life is loud and bustling; tasting buds are more than happy as Indian culinary tradition is legendary for its diverse and delicious dishes.

Of every country I visit, what usually stays in my mind are the people. I like observing the locals, the way they act, they walk, they talk to each other reveals so much of their habits and, ultimately, of their community. In this sense, Indian society doesn’t lack of imagination, and gladly provides visitors with a great array of viewpoints, fully deserving the title of a photographer’s paradise.

If what makes a country is its people, below is a photo essay I decided to devote to the colorful people of India.

people of india

Snake charmer in Jaipur, India

Let’s face it, could I go to India and miss the world’s famous snake charmer? On my second day I was actually beginning to worry, but fortunately on the third day I saw him and immediately snapped a shot of one of the most popular, quirky, anachronistic, unoriginal symbols of Indian culture.

people of india

Fruits and veggies street vendor in Agra

Streets are studded with street vendors, most of them selling fruits and vegetables, delicious I have to say. Sellers gave me a direct glimpse on local life, made of work, struggle and cooperation, the kind of sense of belonging to a community that big cities are losing.

people of india

Local market in Jodhpur

Nothing is revealing of the nature of a place more than its local markets. And in India they couldn’t be but as colorful as their temples, revering of 84 million gods, nonetheless. Noisy, bustling and messy, they make for a truly different morning to be spent with locals.

people of india

Woman in Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Daily life in the Rajasthani city of Jodhpur sees everybody getting to work, and women travel with such huge sacks on their head, image that so far I had seen only in Sardinia, my hometown, only in the most godforsaken villages that still try to resist to the winds of modernization.

people of india

Clay worker in the village of Salawas, near Jodhpur

The local village of Salawas, in Jodhpur’s countryside, boasts beautiful handicraft, the most popular being the ones of carpets and clay. I was mesmerized by the ease with which this man was shaping his creations, one after another.

people of india

Child in Salawas village posing for my camera

Kids were one of my favorite subjects for photos in India. They were gorgeous and playful despite the poverty they are surrounded of. Their eyes showed a too early adulthood, an awareness that at that age they should not have.

people of india

Girl in Jaisalmer desert, Rajasthan. People of India

This little girl in Jaisalmer desert captured my attention for her simplicity, her lost look and spontaneity. It wasn’t quite clear to me her role in the realm of tourism, but as everybody else, she was there welcoming visitors.  I couldn’t refrain from taking a picture of her.

people of india

Camel rider in Jaisalmer desert, Rajasthan. People of India

Of course many of the kids I met were working, such as this camel rider, who led us to the highest dunes of Jaisalmer desert to enjoy a beautiful sunset.

Opium ceremony in Salawas village, Rajasthan. people of india

I loved witnessing the steps of a fascinating ancestral ritual that sees the use of the opium as a way for socializing and keeping firm the bonds within the community. An interesting, and certainly effective, way to make up in case of disagreement.

People of India

Getting warm aroung fire in Salawas village, people of india

It’s still India, right? After sipping the glass of opium and having re-established the balance within the community, the perfect ending of the soirée is naturally a cup of Masala tea taken around the fire.

 

Indian people have faced and still face a lot of hardships. It’s a population that, like many others in Asia, has suffered unspeakable pain and injustice. India is somehow showing a delay in catching up with progress, and the gap between the rich and the poor is striking.
Nevertheless, people always manage to give strangers a smile and to show appreciation for small things, things that I usually take for granted and that, instead, could put me in closer contact with nature, such as simply having the chance to watch wildlife and being thankful for that.

46 Comments
  1. Very interesting reportage!

  2. Quel bel article! Et quelles belles photos! J’ai beaucoup apprécié le rapprochement avec la Sardaigne des traditions. La Sardaigne a encore en commun ave l’Inde la courtoisie de ses habitants pour ” l’étranger “.
    Vraimente une autre belle histoire.

  3. Complimenti ancora e ancora, per il testo e per le foto!

  4. Through your captivating photos I can see why you were so taken with India and the people. The photo of the child in Salawas village is very sweet. I have to admit that I didn’t realize that there still were snake charmers. I’d love to see one!

    • Snake charmers are there more for tourists, I don’t think they have any role in the society or culture, but I will ask, I’m curious!

  5. Thx For this post coz i m an Indian !! You didnt visit south India ?

  6. I love not only the beautiful photos but also the words you used to describe your experience. I haven’t been to India, but this great post makes me want to go even more.

    • By all means go, you won’t regret it. Traveling to India requires a great spirit of adaptation, but you will like, I’m sure :)

  7. India is a truly photogenic country, especially the people. I enjoyed reading your first experience of it. For me, it wasn’t until my second visit that I really came to appreciate everything that is India. So if you think you love India now, just wait until you go back!

    • True, I did go back, and you’re right, the second time I loved it even more, to the extent that I’m thinking about moving there for some time, to fully appreciate what the country and its colorful culture have to offer.

  8. I, too, am fascinated by the people in the places I visit. Loved this post! :)

  9. I feel you have visited only 1/28th part of India. India has 28 states and each and every state has its own culture and tradition. A must visit country.

  10. Great captures of people life! I wonder, do they mind being photographed? We just left Marrakesh and the people’s life is fascinating. I tried so hard to capture the people’s life, but they are very sensitive toward camera. Many wanted money from it or told me it was not allowed.

    • Actually in India people not only don’t mind being photographed, they might even ask you, if they see they are not the object of your interest! In tourist spots they ask for money, in other places they just pose in front of your camera. I went to a local village and kids were in competition of who got more photographed by me!

  11. Some great pictures! I feel the same way about India, it’s such an incredible place

    • True, incredible place and incredible people, it so entices my curiosity that I’m even afraid to start exploring it, it would take me a lifetime to understand all their idiosyncrasies!

  12. Nice pics! Loved the way you look at and interpret things around you. And I agree that India is a confounding country in terms of culture and diversity but then its because of the sheer diversity that India has an irresistible allure for travelers and explorers. Even a lifetime is short to really “understand all their idiosyncrasies” :-)

    • True, the country is so complicated that sometimes I really struggle to understand its people and I feel like I’m banging my head against a wall.. Not giving up though ;)

  13. There’s always something captivating about reading a foreigner’s description of your own country. Thanks for painting such a heartwarming portrait of India. It’s uniqueness is in how fast it grows on you :)

  14. The pictures were beautiful….You really captured the heart of the people.

  15. Your writing is very good and gives food for thought. I hope that I’ll have a lot more time to go via your content. Regards. I wish that you basically publish new texts and invite you to greet me.

  16. A wonderful post! It is nice to see how fascinating tourists find India to be. It IS so, ergo not a surprise. Your post is very thoughtful with nice photographs. I being from India myself could relate to most of it and enjoyed the read.

    Would be great to have you see our gallery of street photography in India sometime.

    Regards!

    • Thanks a lot for your thoughtful comment, I saw your website, wonderful pictures, you really capture the essence of a place. Is your website your gallery or do you have one open in India? I’ve been to India three times, such a shame I didn’t know you then!

  17. Beautiful photos, you have captured the people so well

  18. And I was on tour too through these images. Thanks for sharing.

  19. And finally I tour Jodhpur and Jaisalmer very recently.

  20. Amazing photos. They are captivating. Didn’t know there were still snake charmers! Hope to get to India some day!

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.