Going to India, advice needed... (Holi Festival, Street photography, etc)...

Started Feb 2, 2013 | Discussions thread
hendrikm2 Regular Member • Posts: 209
Re: Going to India, advice needed... (Holi Festival, Street photography, etc)...


last year I attended Holi in Mathura (like Vrindavan, between Delhi ana Agra). This is (if I remember correctly) the place where Krishna was born, so Holi (as a Krishna festival) gets celebrated big. We only made one mistake, we had a hotel outside the city and were stuck during the actual day. No cab, no riksha... People celebrate, don´t work on this day.

You need glasses/sunglasses to protect your eyes, a clear zip lock bag (just tear a hole for your lens in it) and a protective filter. After the journey my D300 went to Nikon for cleaning nevertheless. My black bag still has residues, though.

Wear old, probably white clothes you can discard afterwards. As a tourist you´ll be a prime target, just go with the flow. Normally people just want to paint your face and hair (as Krishna did). Besides the powder, spray cans with some special colors (esp pink) are common. They leave nasty stains which will last afew days. Don´t mind, everyone will be colored afterwards. Just go with the flow, communicate, dance and have fun.

You don´t need to be afraid in India, for the last three years we went each year for several weeks all over the country, crime is no problem. I guess in comparison to Sao Paulo it is nonexistent...

People will try to scam and cheat you all the time, but otherwise you are safe. Read a little bit on the net about scams in India, so that you know at least the most common ones (they´ll happen to you).

As an advice: Try to get as much small bills as possible. You can use a 500 Rupee bill in a restaurant, but probably not in a cab. And if you haggled the riksha driver down to 80 Rupees (after his first offer of 250 Rupees ) and have only a 100 Rupees bill, the driver unfortunately will NEVER have change. You need to haggle a lot, you´ll still pay tourist premium prices. India is cheap, but don´t spoil people by overpaying massively even if we can afford it.

I would´t bring two camera systems, take the D800 and more lenses.

For your planning: you´ll in towns most of the times. If you travel by Taxi, you can tell the driver to stop for you during the drive. But if you travel by bus you are more or less in cities all the times. You can tell a bus driver to stop, but this means you have to flag down the next bus to get you to your destination.

Photography is EASY. India is a country of 1.3 billion people. To be chosen by a tourist as a motive is like an honor. Photographing women can be a little bit more difficult. On the other side, you´ll get photographed a lot, too.

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