I’ll admit, India wasn’t exactly at the top of my to-go list, mostly because I’m more of a chasing-waterfalls type of gal, and all I could envision were crowded cities and deserts. But, WOW! Was I not envisioning clearly!
After spending a month in India, I saw and experienced enough to make me obsessed with the country, culture, and FOOD. I saw palaces for the first time, rode a camel through the sand dunes, and to my surprise, even got to chase a waterfall! All I kept thinking was, “People HAVE to see this place!” because India was just so much more mind-blowing than I, and I think many people, probably expected.
So one of my goals was to capture photos of India that would show its beauty, uniqueness, and diversity, and help inspire others to travel there too!
One of the most important things that I learned in India was that most of the negative stereotypes you hear are NOT true! It isn’t dirty, it doesn’t smell (unless it’s a good smell of delicious food and spices), and the people are more than happy to have you there!
In fact, I was so obsessed with the culture in India, that I even ended up taking home five of my own sarees, a bag of masala tea, and quite a few phrases in Hindi! So take a step outside the box of what you may think you know about India, and have a peak at the majestic authenticity, and overall awesomeness that India has to offer!
Of course, a token shot of the Taj Mahal...but with no other people in it! It ain’t Photoshopped, it’s just really early in the morning! Check out all of my tips for getting travel photos with no people in them here!
A garden across the river from the Taj Mahal called the Mehtab Bagh, which is rumored to have been where a black Taj Mahal was to be built for the Emperor’s tomb, to match the white one he had built for his favorite wife. It only costs about $2 to enter the garden and hardly anyone else is usually there!
An angle of the Taj Mahal that’s often over-looked. Some tour guides will offer to let you wear a saree for a photo, but I bought mine for around $6 (which I later learned is over-priced) at the Sadar Bazaar.
Jama Masjid is the Muslim mosque in Old Delhi that you must take a rickshaw to get to! People say that you “Haven’t seen India unless you’ve been to Old Delhi”, and after zipping through the crowded market places, I can see why!
This is coming from a picky eater/vegetarian: I LOVE Indian food now! Here is one of the only foodie photos I own, because I basically wanted to drink all three of these. They are paneer masala, and a special dal that’s the house specialty at The Lalit New Delhi (each restaurant has its own recipe!)
As soon as you leave Agra (where the Taj Mahal is) and enter Jaipur, the first city in Rajasthan, you will immediately see and feel a world of a difference. You’ll start seeing authentic market places, tons of cows, and also some massive palaces and forts like the Amber Fort (also called the Amer Fort) which is DEFINITELY worth a visit.
Jodhpur, also in Rajasthan, is called “The Blue City” for obvious reasons. But the reason why the houses are painted blue isn’t so obvious; originally it was to tell which houses belonged to the Brahma, but another “source” (AKA one of my rickshaw drivers), said it was also because blue is a cooling color that helps cool the houses down, since it is hot AF in Jodhpur.
The Royal Family of Jodhpur used to live in the Mehrangarh Fort, but now they live in the place in the next photo. The Mehrangarh Fort is visible from pretty much anywhere in Jodhpur, and offers some seriously awesome views of the Blue City!
The Umaid Bhawah Palace in Jodhpur is cool because it’s a freaking epic real-life palace that you can actually stay in, and also because the Royal Family of Jodhpur still currently lives there! Another fun fact is that it was voted as the “Best Hotel in the World” on TripAdvisor!
Udaipur is another popular city in Rajasthan, and it’s referred to as “The Lake City”, any guesses why? Yep. It has a lot of lakes! In fact, the most popular site in Udaipur is this “Lake Palace”, which used to be the Maharana’s “summer palace” (Note: his regular palace is literally just across the pond from it), but it is now converted into the Taj Lake Palace, which is an exclusive hotel you can stay at, along with the Royal Family from time to time as well.
Interestingly, the Lake Palace is one of the most popular sites to see in Udaipur, but you’re only allowed inside of it if you are a guest of the hotel!
This may just look like a slum to you, but if you have a closer look, you’ll actually see that it’s an extremely well-organized outdoor laundry mat. It’s called the Dhobi Ghat, and it’s known as the largest open air laundromat in Mumbai, where most hotels and hospitals get their linens cleaned!
The Gateway of India has tons of historical significance, and is packed day and night, which is why it’s so amusing to me that I got a photo with no other people in it. I actually like to play this game where I show how crowded a place is or gets on my Snapchat, then see how many people notice that I got the shot with no one in it on my Instagram.
Once you get down to the southern part of India, everything changes drastically. This photo is from Palolem Beach in South Goa, a place that reminded me a bit of Canggu (Bali) because of its laid-back, tourist-heavy, beach and jungle atmosphere.
One of the (only) perks of monsoon season is that it’s the only time that you can see the waterfalls of India! Here is one not far from Palolem Beach called Bamanbudo Waterfall. You can just drive right up to it, and if you put your feet in the water, little fish will come filter-feed your dead skin!