Dazzling colors, intricate architecture, exotic landscapes, ancient culture, you’ll find it all in India. Of course, you'll want to photograph it all, too. You could spend a lifetime traveling through the vibrant cities and rural countryside, learning about this remarkable country, capturing stunning images. Most of us, though, have only a few weeks to explore. To help plan your trip, check out these top spots where you can get gorgeous pics/video and have unforgettable cultural experiences.
No trip to India would be complete without a visit to the Taj Mahal. It’s almost a rite of passage to photograph the iconic architecture, glowing in the early morning light, reflected in the mirror-like pond. So if that's your goal, arrive early and be patient. Lots of other people are trying to get the same shot so arriving very early in the morning will help you to avoid the crowds.
Once you’ve checked that off your list, wander around and get creative. The Taj Mahal may be one of the most photographed places on Earth, but we haven’t seen it from your perspective yet. If you need some inspiration, jump onto Pinterest and Instagram and search #tajmahal.
Agra Fort / Jahangiri Palace
While you’re in the area, be sure to visit Agra Fort. The impressive red sandstone architecture of this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers plenty of photo ops. During golden hour the natural light will work wonders for you. Check out #agrafort on Instagram to see what we’re talking about.
Jaipur is filled with architectural wonders. So give yourself a few days to explore this fantastic city and add these spectacular locations to your photo list:
Patrika Gate – Marvel at the impressive artwork on the walls of the gate before snapping your Insta-worthy pics.
City Palace – The royal complex contains beautiful gardens, courtyards, and buildings, but the ornate gates might be the most photogenic.
Amber Palace/Amer Fort – The name varies, but the location is the same, and it's incredible. You'll need plenty of time to wander around and capture it all.
Amer Fort Viewpoint – Hike up to the watchtowers to get a different perspective and an awe-inspiring shot.
Nahargarh (Abode of Tigers) Fort – Located above Jaipur in the Aravali mountains. Come here for sunset.
Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) – The crown jewel of Jaipur was built for female members of the royal family, so they could observe the city without being seen.
Jal Mahal (Water Palace) – Sitting in the middle of Man Sagar Lake, visitors aren’t allowed near the palace, but you can photograph it from afar.
Galta Ji Temple (a.k.a. Monkey Temple) – You might see a monkey or two riding on the back of a local pig.
Searching #visitjaipur on Instagram and Pinterest will have you packing your suitcases in a hurry.
The entire city is filled with mesmerizing photo opportunities:
Brightly colored boats
Crowded alleyways and markets
The nightly Aarti fire ceremonies on the banks of the Ganges
The sacred Ganges River itself, especially at sunrise and sunset
It’s an assault on the senses and a photographer's dream. You can get inspired quickly by searching #varanasi on Instagram.
If you find yourself in Kolkata, often considered India’s cultural capital, there are two things you must photograph (you’ll find plenty of inspiration on Instagram searching #kolkata):
The vintage yellow cabs
The daily flower market at Mallick Ghat
Take a break from the busy cities and take in the lush countryside of Kerala.
Periyar National Park – Go on safari to spot elephants and tigers in this reserve.
Munnar Tea Plantations – Get gorgeous landscapes of the rolling hills filled with tea gardens.
Alleppey (Alappuzha) – For the complete experience and the best shots, take a journey on a houseboat through the “Venice of the East.”
Located on India’s west coast, Goa is where you go for a beach vacation. Here are a few of the most picturesque beaches to experience and capture with your camera:
Agonda Beach – Calm, clear waters and striking golden sand
Palolem Beach – Brightly colored coco huts that are built and re-built each year
Butterfly Beach – Hop on a boat from nearby Agonda Beach or Palolem Beach to experience this secluded spot.
Benaulim Beach – One of the best beaches in Goa for families
Cavelossim Beach – White sand, black lava rocks, and fewer crowds make this a perfect photo spot.
Beyond the Beach – If you’re interested in nature and wildlife photography, add Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary to your list.
Head to Pinterest and search VisitGoa for inspiration.
Be a Responsible Photographer
Sometimes getting the shot is not the right thing to do. Please be respectful and refrain from photographing sacred sites. Signs are usually posted letting you know when it’s not ok to photograph a site.
When photographing people, especially children, always get permission first.
This article only scratches the surface of India's gorgeous spots to explore. Whether or not you're focused on photography, I can put together a fantastic itinerary catered to you and your travel style. Schedule a consultation to get started!