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Photography in India - Useful information for travellers

With the most photographed monument of the world "Taj Mahal" in India remains an attractive destination for photographers. On the very first day of your travel in India you would find plenty of pictures to shoot. It may by the sight of the first cow on the street or colorful dressed families in their ethnic costumes in this vast and vivid country.

It would not be seldom at a monument that you will be accompanied by some local people who would like to have you as foreigner on their photograph. Many of these curious people are themselves tourists and live perhaps in the places where they have not seen the people from other countries. Most of these people are families or the young school students who take pride being photographed with foreigners. Indian people are friendly when it comes to be photographed. You should not wonder if everybody would like be on the photograph.

On the streets or where you are not sure of taking pictures one should pay attention to the body language of the person you are willing to photograph - most of them would smile and pose till you have clicked with the flash light. Should you get an opportunity to photograph an Indian marriage ceremony this would be one of the highlights of your journey. Ask your Indo Vacations driver and Guide to get to a particular location and they would be glad to assist you on this.

There are many "false Gurus" who are dressed in the saffron color and appear to be an inviting photo object. However if photographed they expect to have some money from you. If you need to have them photographed, keep some change of 10 - 20 Rs. notes of Indian money with you. The same is with the good looking snake and his charmer who appear to dance on the flute music but dances only due to the movement of the flute as it fears to be beaten otherwise (snakes can not hear and reacts only to the movements of the surroundings). At the end of the snake dance the snake charmer may try to sell you his flute for some handsome amount of dollars - please ask your driver or Guide of Indo Vacations to assist you on the right value of the flute. Indo Vacations do not recommend on photographing the beggars that you may find near the tourist places nor one should photograph the poorest of poor. Already considerable harm has been done to the image of the normal people of India by some of the photographers by selling the poverty images of India.

Indo Vacations also do not recommend on photographing the dancing monkeys or bears or other animals driven by a stick by the owner as that is more cruelty with animals than having fun. Our Guides and escorts colleagues have stopped since few years to make a photo breaks and the number of these animals along the street with their owner has also reduced and some of them have been freed into the jungle where they belong to. Tourists should respect the culture while entering the holy places of any religion. Religious values are to be regarded and if not allowed or refused by the people at the happening you should move the camera away. Especially funerals processions and cremations should not be photographed by doing so you will hurt the feelings of the local people and specially of the concerned family.

Unfortunately since few years in India there are charges on photography at many of the monuments which are visited frequently by the tourists. At some monument it would cost you only Rs. 25 - 50 but it can exceed up to Rs. 300 at some of the Fort and Palaces. Still cameras are cheaper than the video cameras. Always take the receipt of the money you have paid to photograph the specific monument. Though it is not always easy, so you have to decide if you really need to have photograph of every monument for the demanded money. Good postcards of every monument is normally available in the post card shops. Do not take your camera out or try to photograph if not paid or not having the permission to do so. You may find some fellow tourists doing this and may find that the regulations are not followed strictly in countries like India but an officer in mad mood can spoil your day if caught !

However in the countries of South Asia you would have so many photo objects and happenings that you may run out of the stock of the films. This should not be a reason of panic. Film rolls are easily available in India, but the imported film rolls are a little expensive. It is therefore recommended to bring enough films for personal use. Photographic equipment should be checked, and if it is new, make sure to test it by shooting a roll. Films processing facilities are available even in small towns and often this can be done within 2 to 24 hours. The best time for shooting in India is two hours after dawn and two hours before sunset. The weather may be dry or hazy during the summers that demands special care from the photographer. Photography is prohibited at airports, defense installations and certain ancient monuments, for security reasons. Special permission is needed for using artificial lights at ancient monuments. Photography is also not allowed in some tribal areas. Your Indo Vacations Guide will be there to assist more on this.

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