You sometimes see a scatter of his photos here in this blog and after much
threatening convincing, Jeff finally decided to write about his adventures in India earlier this year.
Continue reading to see more of his breathtaking photography!
I’ve been wanting to go to India for the longest time ever and it was only recently that I had the pleasure of visiting the country of my dreams with two of my equally adventurous friends – Zia and Angie!
Initially, it was difficult to find travel companions to visit India with, especially with all these crimes and negative incidences you hear that’s happening in the country. You hear all these stories of how travellers get robbed/suffer from food poisoning/poor food and restroom hygiene, I can see why that would discourage some from visiting this beautiful country.
“So, why do you still want to visit India?”
People ask me this all the time, to which I can honestly tell you I don’t exactly have a clear answer. Maybe, it’s the immensely rich cultures and heritages; maybe, it was the fact that I was fascinated with Bollywood culture since young. But now that I have been and returned, I can tell you 10 Reasons Why I Would Go Back To India in A Heartbeat.
1. It is a Photographer’s Paradise
It’s not hard to see why.
Walking on the streets of India, inspiration is everywhere. The markets are vibrant, decorated with colourful traditional clothing, jewellery, shoes, spices and then, there’s the people.
One of my favourite things to do in India is people-watching, be it families busy running their businesses along the street, old men dragging carts that are disproportionately larger than their body sizes, women washing their laundry by the riverside…
Pay attention to your surroundings and you will find your subjects everywhere!
2. The Amazing Architecture
India’s historical buildings never cease to amaze me. It’s easy to feel as if you’ve been transported back to the Mughal dynasty period. What’s also unique is the unique blend of many influences (Persian, Indian, Sikh, Muslim, European) to make up a building!
There are many forts in India, at least one in every city that I have visited so far. It’s hard to believe how massive a fort can be without standing in front of one yourself. If you appreciate history and information, I would recommend hiring a tour guide to guide you through India’s historic sites (they are usually available at the entrance), they’re easily a well of information that will make you leave these places with much more valuable and mind-blowing knowledge about the history of those buildings.
Plus, they probably would save you time from getting lost.
3. The Taj Mahal
Ah, it is cliché, but the Taj Mahal had undoubtedly left the deepest impression out of all the places I had visited.
It didn’t really set in when I first looked at it from a distance, but I couldn’t describe just how elegant and majestic it felt to finally stand on the grounds of this wonder of the world.
Our tour guide gave us such an amazing insight of the details of this beautiful place, from the types of stones used to build the palace, the reason behind this architectural wonder, and just like what Crystal experienced in Sri Lanka, he was such a great photographer!
It’s a place that I would definitely return, probably during a full-moon night and of course, with my significant other.
4. The Tuk-Tuk Experience
Definitely not for the faint-hearted; It is bumpy, harrowing experience zooming between cars, bicycles, seemingly oblivious pedestrians, and squeezing through (very) tiny streets that seem to defy the law of physics.
If you think you have seen the worst traffic already in your life, come to India.
Absolutely scary, yes, but I absolutely loved every single minute of it.
5. The Food
Honestly, I’m wasn’t really the biggest fan of roti and curry. However throughout our stay in India, every day was all about curry, dahl, masala tea and spices for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Surprisingly, I really enjoyed them!
We were pretty careful with picking our place to eat. Our hired driver Manu made sure we ate at ‘clean’ restaurants. I was lucky to not have digestive issues but I can’t say the same for Zia. Still, it is always a good idea to bring some charcoal pills for the unexpected runs.
6. Friendly Locals
In contrast to what I’ve heard, the locals were actually very friendly and helpful on most occasions and fortunately we didn’t experience any theft during our entire trip. A simple greeting ‘Namaste’ is all it takes to make them smile.
Street vendors are extremely enthusiastic; they would not hesitate to ‘ransack’ their whole shop to show you what they have in hopes you’d buy something off them. Also, the kids in India LOVE it when you flash your cameras at them. They will happily pose and even request for a selfie (or two).
7. I Become A Better Person
Traveling in India is not only a dream come true for me, it is also a very soul-enriching experience. It reminds me of life’s fundamentals – to be appreciative of the things I have in life. Out of India’s 1.25 billion population, only a handful stay in houses with proper walls and sturdy rooftops that doesn’t leak on rainy days.
There are things that we consider basic necessities in life, are sometimes considered a luxury for the people in India.
In Agra, we had the chance to visit Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity that provides shelter and education to orphans and disabled children. Seeing the how those children were cared for by these kind-hearted individuals definitely restored my faith in humanity.
8. Become A Wedding Crasher!
It was totally unplanned. In fact, Zia and I thought it was a food festival in the middle of the night and before we knew it, we joined the locals for some partying on a dance floor! We only learned that it was a wedding reception after leaving the place and casually bumped into the groom across the street, who was heading the parade to the reception venue, accompanied by music and dance.
I’ll let the videos do the explanation instead.
9. The Unforgettable Sun
I have been chasing sunrises and sunsets for years and India really has some spectacular rays. Although, I hate to burst your bubble, but the soft and dreamy effect is due to the (very) bad air pollution in the country.
10. The Cultural Diversity
Being one of the oldest civilizations in the world and the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism, India has some of the most fascinating cultures and traditions. The Ganges River, also known as the Holy River, is the centre of most cultural activities. The Ganga Aarti evening ceremony near the river is definitely something you should not miss. It is a fire ceremony performed to honour the Gods and deities. We hired a boat to take us to witness the ritual with the locals and other tourists.
It was a profound and spiritual experience. The ritual was highly synchronized and the chants were tranquilizing. We left the ceremony feeling peace in our heart.