India as a travel destination needs little introduction – it’s somewhere firmly on the independent travellers circuit. I’ve recently returned from my third trip to the country, a visit that was different to the previous two. This time, I went there with the express intentions of attempting to photograph the country and capture its overbearingness and chaos. This was easier said than done. It quickly became apparent that the people of this amazing country were going to be the primary focus of my pictures this time around which, upon reflection, is no surprise given the fact that India is home to 1.3 billion colourful people, almost one fifth of the world’s population. Here is a selection of some of my favourite people-heavy captures from my trip, which covered from the state of Kerala in the southwest to Punjab in the northwest to West Bengal in the east.

The People of India

On the train from Hospet to Goa, India. 

India in Pictures

Portrait of Old Woman, India

Train travel is such a quintessential part of the Indian travel experience & if you’re brave or discrete enough, it offers many a photographic opportunity to capture the every day life of the people of India. This portrait was taken on Sept 2012.

Festival day crowds making their way to & from the Golden Temple along the crammed Old City streets of Amritsar, Punjab, India. 

India in Pictures

Crowd at the Golden Temple, Punjab

Amritsar, the capital of the northwestern Indian state of Punjab, is the centre of the Sikh faith & the site of its holiest shrine, the amazing Golden Temple. It was a busy place to be on this day, the birthday of Sikhism’s fourth guru & founder of the city, when it seemed like everyone in India was either going to or from the Golden Temple. Photo taken October 9th 2012.  

Entering the central chamber of the Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. 

people of India

Entrance of Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal, a bulbous white-marble architectural masterpiece without equal, is India’s top draw and one, if not the most famous building in the world. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983, it was built by the Moghul emperor Shan Jahan as a mausoleum to his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631 shortly after giving birth to her 14th child, making the TaJ the ultimate, most extravagant monument ever built to eternal love. 20,000 craftsmen from all over Asia spent 21 years (1632 – 1653) building what is now classed as the zenith of Moghul architecture. Photo Taken October 11, 2012

A sadhu, an ascetic Hindi holy man, in the lanes of the Old City of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. 

people of India

An Old Sadhu in India

A sadhu devotes his life to the religion, wandering here & there on the trail to religious salvation. This sadhu is somewhat overdressed – they are normally half-naked, smeared in dust & with hair & beard matted. But say what you will, all that dust & unkempt hair is oh-so photogenic. Photo taken October 13, 2012.

Fishermen & Chinese fishing nets at the tip of Fort Cochin at sunset, Kerala, India. September 19th 2012

india in pictures

Fisherman at Sunset in India

These massive cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, the unofficial emblem of the Kerala coast, dot the northern tip of Fort Cochin, a place steeped in history, having been a spice trade centre for over 3,000 years & the first place in India where European colonization took root – in many places it remains a living homage to its varied colonial past.

Bathing in the waters of the Hooghly River at the Babu Ghat, Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal, India. October 15th 2012

people of India

People Bathing in Holi Water

The unappealingly murky waters of the Hooghly River at the Babu Ghat in a distinctly seedy area of the city are considered holy to the Hindu population of Kolkata (Calcutta), Indian’s second biggest city with a population of over 13 million. The city, with its decrepit colonial buildings & streets teeming with people, gets a bad rap but give it a chance and it’ll surprise you.

Activity by a Ghat in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. October 13th 2012.

People of India

People at a Ghat in Varanasi

Varanasi, the Hindu holy city by the sacred River Ganges in the state of Uttar Pradesh, is a unique, world-class people-watching location. The everyday activity on the Ghats lining the river – people bathing, washing clothes, doing yoga, offering blessings, selling flowers, getting a haircut or a shave, a massage, playing cricket or just hanging out – is traditional India at its most colourful & picturesque. Photo opportunities abound. And then some.

A girl gives a wry smile on the streets of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India. October 3rd 2012.

people of India

Portrait of Young India Girl

There’s a mythological significance attached to Pushkar. According to myth, Brahma, one of the three major deities of the Hindu religion, dropped a lotus flower on the earth and Pushkar floated to the surface. Today it’s an important Hindu pilgrimage site, a tranquil town (tranquil by Indian standards) on the banks of a natural & sacred lake & on the edge of a desert. It’s awash with temples, the most famous being the Brahma Temple, the only one in India dedicated to Brahma.

Dawn light illuminates a group of Indians exiting the Virupaksha Temple in Hampi, Karnataka, India. September 24th 2012.

India in Pictures

A Group of Women in Hampi

Hampi in the state of Karnetaka was the capital of the 15th century Hindu Vijayanagar Empire. The landscape surrounding the town is a bizarre terrain of banana plantations & rock expanses dotted with gravity-defying boulders, temples & neglected UNESCO World Heritage listed ruins.

Bio/About the Author

David M is a hobbyist photographer & ardent traveller. His photography blog contains an ever-growing collection of quality images captured all over the world. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter at @ByrneDavidM, Google+ & flickr.

Photography blog: DavidByrne.com

You may also like

From our partners
Previous Post
Leave a comment

38 Comments

  1. Dariece - Goats On The Road

    You captured India perfectly! These photos are amazing, India is such a colourful place. It seems there is a photo opportunity around every corner.
    I especially love the one of the old woman on the train, she has so much character to her (and those nose rings are amazing, aren’t they?!) I also love the one of the young girl, it makes me wonder what she’s thinking!

    Thanks for the great photos.
    Cheers.

  2. Sherry

    I love how the colors provide such great contrast. I’ve always been afraid to go to India on my own. But the more I learn about it, the closer I get.

  3. Anne

    What wonderful photos!
    I, too, look forward to going back, and taking more pictures next time around. After my first trip, I found the pictures I took of people–more so than any other place–are my most treasured. Thank you for the journey back to India through photos and faces!

  4. expatriate travel insurance

    India is a riot of colors, every color so vibrant, complementing each other and ultimately making all of them stand out. Though you must say, probably due to lack of space, you could not depict the true diversity of India. India is not a country but a complete experience that you cherish all your life.

  5. Sarah

    After 8 years living in India I haven’t taken one single photo that competes with yours. I love the colour, the angles, the faces of the people you photographed.

  6. Dean

    These are some great photos David. A couple of excellent portraits, and I think the photo that I like the most is the chaos displayed in the second photos. It really portrays India perfectly.

  7. Ali

    Those are some amazing pictures! The second one especially is incredible. India seems like such a fascinating country, especially for photography.

    1. debndave Post author

      That’s great to hear. We didn’t have a problem with the rick shaw drivers, but I can only imagine how difficult of a job that is.

  8. Pingback: People of India in Pictures | Travel Blog | ThePlanetD | Travel Stuff | Scoop.it

  9. Pingback: People of India in Pictures | Travel Blog | ThePlanetD | Travel Photography | Scoop.it

  10. Chuttimakers

    Lovely description of India through pictures, these pictures represent the real India and its diverse culture and colors.
    India is land of different religions bound by the same emotion that is love.

  11. Sherry Nash

    Hi Everyone, I came from New York, Currently living in India. How much inspired from Indian people I can’t share here with two or three sentence because this is my first visit in India. They are really so nice and sensible in every area. I have visited many places and met many people so over all seemed good. Whenever I will get time, I’ll remember theme. Thanks for share

Comments are closed.