India is a Photographers Paradise

by Kamal Varma
April 27, 2012


Sadhu’s on the Ghats of Varanasi

India is a photographer’s paradise.  It seems that no matter where you look, photo opportunities abound.  From the lush backwaters of the South, the breathtaking mountains to the North the Desert on the West and the numerous wildlife Sanctuary’s throughout the Country, India has something to offer to photographers of all interests.  This article provides a very brief overview of three of the many places I visited while in India this March.


Round-trip flights from Toronto to Delhi can be had for as little as $1,400 (includes taxes).  Almost all flights stop over somewhere in Europe for a few hours before continuing on and arriving in Delhi late at night.   It is highly recommended that you make prior arrangements for a car and driver to meet you at the airport to take you to your hotel.  Most hotels will arrange for an airport pick-up for about $25.

Lions in Bannerghatta National Park by Kamal Varma

Lions in Bannerghatta National Park

Air travel in India is incredibly cheap and flights can be booked through a number of websites including and  For shorter treks, you are better off hiring a car and driver (see tip below).

TIP:  Do not even consider renting a car in India.  Driving there is extremely chaotic and dangerous.  You can arrange for a car and driver for local use for as little as $20/day (see link below).

Goods delivery on bike by Kamal Karma ©

Goods Delivery - a common site in Dehli

India bike transportation by Kamal Varma ©

I put out my cigarette when this bike with a barrel of gas rode by me on the street


Varanasi is a one and a half hour flight from Delhi and is situated along the Ganges River.  It is one of the world’s oldest continually habituated cities and is a spiritual centre for Hindus.  The city is divided into two main sections, the Cantonment area where the larger hotels are located and the old city along the Ganges.  Photo opportunities abound by the river and no trip would be complete without a morning boat ride along the banks of the Ganges.  From this vantage point you can witness early morning life along the Ghats (stairs leading down to the river) and you can expect to see beautiful sunrises. Later in the day, you will see cremations in progress at the river’s edge.

Sunrise on the Gangles by Kamal Varma

Sunrise on the Ganges

The Ghats by Kamal Varma ©

The Ghats - wood is being stocked for cremation


India is well known for its Tigers and a number of Wildlife Parks exist throughout the country.   Safari’s varying from 1 day to several weeks can easily be arranged from a number of outfitters with prices to accommodate every budget.  An alternative to the Safari route is to pay a visit to the Bannerghatta National Park.  Located about three hours’ drive from the Bangalore airport, this park is a combination zoo and wildlife sanctuary.  While some animals are caged, the lions and tigers are situated within the 25,000 acre sanctuary.   On this trip, I was fortunate to see a number of lions and tigers, including a white tiger.

TIP If possible, try and bring two camera bodies. Changing lenses can be both time consuming and exposes your sensor to dust.  I recommend a minimum 200mm lens on one of the bodies.

Tiger in Bannerghatta National Park by Kamal Varma ©

Tiger in Bannerghatta National Park


The 4 to 5 hour drive between these two major cities will provide photographers of all interests with endless photo opportunities.  From farmers working the land to herders tending their flock, this drive is a great way to experience rural India. 

Camel cart on the way from Dehli to Jaipur

Sheep herders

TIP: Shooting from a car requires a very fast shutter speed.  To achieve this, set your ISO as high as you comfortably can and shoot wide open.

Elephant in Jaipur ©

Elephant in Jaipur

Once you arrive in Jaipur, also known as the Pink City, you will have the opportunity to photograph ancient structures, elephants transporting tourists to the top of the Amber Fort and breathtaking sunsets from high above the city.


Kasmal Varma by R. Berdan


Bio: Kamal is an avid photographer living in Calgary, AB his photography passion includes travel, wildlife and landscape. Kamal also likes to play guitar when he can't get out to shoot.

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