The Indian cities of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur make up the India Golden Triangle for foreign travelers. This is probably the most-traveled tourist route in India and makes for a holistic itinerary if you don’t have a lot of time to spare. The three cities couldn’t be more different from each other, from the bustling and chaotic markets of Delhi, to the grand Taj Mahal in Agra and the colourful streets and forts of Jaipur. All three cities are meccas in their own rights for photographers, and here are some exciting places to shoot.
Despite Delhi being pure and utter chaos, it is a city that you need to visit at least once to truly appreciate India. Throw yourself in the deep end and visit Khari Baoli, the biggest spice market in Asia for some great portraits and street photography opportunities. The market is in full swing early in the morning, so make sure you’re there to witness it at its best. You can take the stairs up to the roof of the market next to the mosque for a unique perspective, and watch the locals get ready for a day of hard work.
When your lungs can’t take the spices in the air anymore, make your way to the Jama Masjid Mosque, one of the largest mosques in India. The mosque is a prime example of Mughal architecture, and was made by the same person that commissioned the Taj Mahal. I’d recommend going early whilst it is still relatively quiet and hope for the infamous Delhi pigeons to fly into prime position for your photographs.
If you have another morning free in Delhi, head down to the Yamuna Ghat and hire a local boat to take you out onto the river for sunrise. The local boat owners have a special technique for calling the birds over that swarm the river. This alone makes for some fantastic photos.
After Delhi, make your way to Jaipur to photograph the gem of Rajasthan. Otherwise known as the Pink City, Jaipur is where you will find camels and rickshaws sharing the streets with virtually each and every door painted a different color and sarees in every shade. Jaipur is one of my favorite places to shoot in India as there is a real sense of life there.
The sunrise at Jal Mahal takes the crown as it is amazing to see the red and orange Indian sky reflect in the still water with the palace appearing as if it were a mirage. After the Jal Mahal, make your way to Amer fort and climb the steps next to the car park opposite the fort. Once you reach the top, you will have panoramic views over the fort and city, and the small bell towers make for a great photo.
The Patrika Gate is my final recommendation for photography in Jaipur, and it is not as well known as the main attractions yet, so go before it’s too late. The detail in the architecture is awe-inspiring and the perfect place to use a model to bring a human element to your photos.
Agra is home to the iconic Taj Mahal, which looks much better in real-life than in pictures. Tourists flock to this small, dusty city, and whilst the Taj really steals the show, there are forts, tombs, and marketplaces galore to explore too.
The best photos of the Taj Mahal require an incredibly early start, and I would recommend you to be in the queue for entry an hour before it opens to make certain that you are the first people inside. Buy your tickets online the day before, and don’t take a bag in with you if possible as you’ll have to have it scanned which ultimately slows you down.
After you have taken photos from the front, head round to the left hand side and take photos from inside the mosque before it gets too busy. The gardens on the other side of the river offer wonderful sunset views and is a great place to take in the beauty one last time before you leave.