As someone who is behind the camera all the time, I believe taking a break from professional shoots is much needed. A break, coupled with travel to another part of the world makes my vision clearer, imagination wider and my images richer, or so I believe.
I love traveling to India (in good seasons, preferably), not only because my roots are there but also because it is a true photographic paradise. I plan the trip at least 6-9 months ahead and take no bookings around that time. When I am there, I totally give myself to leisure.
This post is on a visit to the district of Hooghly, West Bengal, about 35 km from the city of Calcutta. Hooghly, located centrally in the ganges delta, has many old towns with rich history and heritage that existed even before the British rule started. The river Ganges (known as Hooghly in the area) played a major role in the town's settlements and still controls the life of the people there.
The first town of visit was Chandannagar. This is a former French coloniy in India (French in India were no match against the British military might, so they were contained in a couple of small areas). By the side of Ganges, the French built a mile long riverside footpath called "the Strand", which is still a major attraction of the area. Although this was a lazy winter morning around the holiday season, you could tell the popularity of the place by counting the numbers of joggers, lovers, bikers, tea-sellers and commuters flocking around.
This is my cousin Hrittik, who was the tour guide. Also a fantastic photographer in his own right.
After a relaxed stroll on the Strand, we walked to a nearby church.
The next stop was the famous Imambara (a shia Muslim congregation hall) of Hooghly just a short drive away. This was famous for religious studies a century ago and also its high clock tower (stories on how much trouble the clockmakers had to go through to install this gigantic clock is inscribed in the building). We met an old caretaker called Rajab Ali who told us numerous stories in fluent bengali (accuracy unknown). The views of the river and part of town from the clock tower are still amazing. I remembered visiting this place when I was in high school and not much of that view had changed.
And then, a pit stop at a terracotta temple of Shiva, just to balance all the three major religions.
A few hours to drive back home. Happy and content.