Reminiscing India in Color

I was privileged to work in India from 1992 to 1995 and to have lived there from 1999 to 2010.  I worked with amazing people and became part of their families who  embraced me as one of their own.  I traveled extensively in different cities and villages, and photographed a lot. India and its people are one of the most colorful on earth.  The culture, custom, languages, philosophy, religion and people are so diverse which made travel and photography so stimulating.  I had the time of my life exploring.  The Garhwal Himalayas with its snow-capped peaks, sacred temples, mythical rivers with its ascetics became my favorite retreat place to escape the cities.  I also enjoyed the solitude in the deserts of Rajasthan and the tranquility of the backwaters in Kerala deep down south.  Varanasi always pulled me to spend time in her ghats observing people carrying on with ancient rites.

Looking at three suitcases at home full of color slides which easily number to a few thousands, I am overwhelmed by the amount of unorganized photographs and unprocessed life experiences.  The pictures below are a small sample and a feeble attempt to share some of the beautiful places in India which captivated my heart.

To those who are interested in photographic equipment: most of the images were taken with the Leica MP, 35 and 50 mm Summilux lenses, 75mm Summilux, 24mm Elmarit f2.8; some with the Nikon F5, 20-35mm and 80-200mm f2.8 lenses; mostly on Fujchrome Velvia 50 and some on Provia 100.

Bhagirathi Peaks in Gangotri area.  Considered the source of the sacred river Ganga.  We just folded our tents and commenced on our trek when the clouds and fog cleared.  Photo: Leica MP, 35mm Summilux, Velvia 50 on a monopod.

Shivling at Tapovan.  After hours of exhausting hike through dangerous glacial crevasses and steep climb we reached our camp.  It was mandatory for our five-man team to take a dip in the frigid icemelt...twice!  We met with a yogi meditating in a cave nearby.  Photo: Leica MP, 50mm Summilux, Velvia 50.

Kedarnath Shrine.  After a seven-hour trek we were rewarded with a magnificent view.  Photo: Leica MP, 50mm Summilux, Velvia 50.

Kedarnath Temple evening worship.  Photo: Leica MP, 35mm Summilux, Velvia 50.

Himalayan store on the way to Kedarnath.  Photo: Leica MP, Elmarit 24mm f2.8 lens, Velvia 50.

Sadhu.  Kedarnath.  Leica MP, 50mm Summilux, Velvia 50.

Me and my camel(and guide).  Jaisalmer.  I did a solo tour with plenty of Fuji Provia 100 film rolls gifted by Magnum photographer, Raghu Rai (one of my heroes).  Photo: Nikon F5, Nikon AFD 20-35mm f2.8 lens.

Samode Palace Dancer.  Leica MP, 35mm Summilux, Provia 100.

Ravana.  Jaisalmer.  Nikon F5, AFD 20-35mm f2.8 lens, Provia 100. 

Evening aarti.  Varanasi.  During a monsoon there were not many people at the river Ganga. This pujari kept up with his daily ritual alone.  It was beautiful to witness - sincere devotion.  It brought deep stillness in me.  Photo: Nikon F5, 20-35mm f2.8, SB-28 flash, Provia 100.

Fishing at sunrise.  Orissa.  I walked on a knee-deep calm water for several kilometers waiting for the sunrise.  My reward was being a witness to this couple.  Photo:  Nikon F5, AFD 80-200mm f2.8, Provia 100.

Tiger Hill, Darjeeling.  While waiting for the famed Kanchenjunga to appear,  the sun rays poured through the clouds.  Photo:  Nikon F5, AFD 80-200mm f2.8, Provia 100.

A fisherman at Mahabalipuram storm.  Leica MP, 35mm Summilux, Velvia 50.

Day's end.  Vembanad Lake, Kerala.  Photo: Nikon F5, AFD 80-200mm f2.8, Provia 100.

Kathakali dancer. Kumarakom, Kerala.  Photo: Leica MP, 75mm Summilux, Provia 100.

Kerala backwaters.  Photo: Leica MP, 35mm Summilux, Velvia 50. 

Lotus at Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Tamil Nadu.  Photo: Nikon F801s, AF 35-70mm, Kodak Elite 100.

Devotees at St. Thomas Chapel, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.  According to history, it is on the hill where the chapel is built that St. Thomas, one of the 12 apostles of Lord Jesus, was martyred. Photo: Leica MP, 35mm Summilux, Provia 100.