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Photo Samples, India

 

India must be the most photogenic country in the world! From the highland people of Ladakh to the Hindu temples of Varanasi, India is a fantastic palet of colours, hard to find elsewhere on the globe, and, to a photographer, The Jewel of the Empire is just perfect, regardless if your main "target" is the mighty Taj Mahal, the exotic Khajuraho Temples, the beaches of Goa or the praying pilgrims at the holy Ganges. India is beyond belief and the samples below only cover a very small part of my archive.

All photos are, of course Claus Qvist Jessen, and none of them are to used without my permission.

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Perhaps with the exception of Australia and Egypt, no other country is assosiated with ONE building. The Taj Mahal was built in memory of the wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the middle of the 17th century and, to this day, is widely regarded as the most beautiful building on earth. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Less known than Taj Mahal, the 100 years older Fatehpur Sikri used to be the ancient capital of Mughal Emperor Akbar, who is widely recognized as the greates of all Mughal rulers. Sadly, shortage of water forced the Mughals to abandon the sand-stone city only 40 years after its founding. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Fatehpur Sikri is very much a Muslim town and lots of faithful pilgrims make their way to the grave of Sheikh Salim Chisti.
Claus Qvist Jessen

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India is full of strange temples, and the "Rat Temple" in Deshnok, Rajasthan, is certainly one of the weirder ones. Here, at the Karni Mata Temple (www.karnimata.com), rats are revered as gods and fed by the happy pilgrims. Claus Qvist Jessen

Hello! A young rat looking at the world; Karni Mata Temple (www.karnimata.com), Rajahstan. Claus Qvist Jessen

Jaipur is frequently named the "Pink City" dur to the many photogenic, pink buildings. Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) is one of them. In effect, it's nothing but a facade allowing the ladies of the court to sit and watch life underneath without being seen.
Claus Qvist Jessen

Dressed up like Shiva, this man takes the Pushkar Fair seriously; Rajasthan. Claus Qvist Jessen

Rajahstani woman during the November Fair. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Nothing is wasted in India, and even camel shit is collected to be used as fuel for cooking, here at the famous Pushkar Fair, Rajasthan. Claus Qvist Jessen

Amber Fort, 10 kms from Jaipur is one of the most beautiful desert palaces in Rajahstan. Claus Qvist Jessen

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The Golden Temple of Amritsar, the holiest city of the Sikhs. As compared to the Taj Mahal, The Golden Temple is just as beautiful - and it's alive. Claus Qvist Jessen

Close-up of The Golden Temple, a slightly illegal photo as you're not allowed to use cameras on the artificial island; Amritsar, Punjab.
Claus Qvist Jessen

The Golden Temple at night. Truly remarkable; Amritsar, Punjab.
Claus Qvist Jessen

 

Sikh pilgrim outside The Golden Temple; Amritsar, Punjab. Claus Qvist Jessen

 

13 on a bike must mean bad luck; Amritsar, Punjab. Claus Qvist Jessen

 

Sikh shoe-mender; Amritsar, Punjab. Claus Qvist Jessen

Potato harvest; Ladakh, Kashmir. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Proud woman, hardened by the elements. Leh, Ladakh, Kashmir.
Claus Qvist Jessen

Building workers, most of them women; Leh, Ladakh, Kashmir.
Claus Qvist Jessen

The entrance to Alchi Gompa; Ladakh, Kashmir. Claus Qvist Jessen

Monk in fron of the Alchi Gompa; Ladakh, Kashmir. Claus Qvist Jessen

Late afternoon at the Rizong Gompa, Ladakh. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Novice monks preparing the butter tea, 4 am in the morning at Rizong Gompa, Ladakh. Claus Qvist Jessen

Another Buddhist novice doing some cooking at Rizong Gompa, Ladakh. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Nun roasting the barley grains. Later they are grinded to make "tsampa", roasted barley flour and a recognized delicacy among the Tibetans. Very dusty to a Westerner. Ladakh. Claus Qvist Jessen

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"Nepalese design", but this is not Nepal. In upper Uttaranchal, the landscape is exactly the same as in Nepal a bit to the east. No 8,000 meters, but lots of 7's and 6's, including this one.
Claus Qvist Jessen

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Shivling, the sacred mountain of Lord Shiva, high up in the UP Himalaya, beyond the sources of the Ganges. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Sri Lal Baba doing his morning puja (prayers), just a couple of miles from the sources of the Ganges. Garwhal Himal, Uttar Pradesh.
Claus Qvist Jessen

Sri Lal Baba doing his morning puja (prayers), just a couple of miles from the sources of the Ganges. Garwhal Himal, Uttar Pradesh.
Claus Qvist Jessen

Scene from a wedding celebration; Vashist, Kulu Valley, Himachal Pradesh. Claus Qvist Jessen

The main ceremony at the wedding; Vashist, Kulu Valley, Himachal Pradesh. Claus Qvist Jessen

Ganges River, one hour upstream from Rishikesh. Claus Qvist Jessen

Picking potatoes; Byasi Ghat, one hour upstream from Rishikesh. Claus Qvist Jessen

The wife of Mr. Surindar Kumar making chapati; Byasi Ghat, Rishikesh, Uttar Pradesh. Claus Qvist Jessen

Local woman holding my fly rod; Ramganga River, Utarranchal.
Claus Qvist Jessen

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Sahdu praying at Rishikesh. The holy Ganges is in the background.
Claus Qvist Jessen

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In Indian, Begging is almost an artform. Millions of people are living from it and the remaining billion gets a better karma. Here at Rishikesh, descending to the holy Ganges. Claus Qvist Jessen

Rishikesh moneychanger, ready to change 1 rupee into 90 paise or so, so that you can spread your sonations to more beggars and benefit your karma. Claus Qvist Jessen

Haridwar is one of the seven holy cities of India. It's holiness is due to a Vishnu footprint at this site, the colourful Hari-ki-Pairi Ghat (Hari-ki-Pauri). Unlike Rishikesh, tourists are rare here. Uttar Pradesh. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Elderly beggar from another of Indias holy cities; Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Sunrise at Varanasi, holiest of the Hindu cities and the sacred city of Shiva. Sadly, the whole city was destroyed by Moghul emperor Aurangzeb in 1703, meaning that, despite it's age, Varanasi doesn't have any buildings more than 300 years old. Claus Qvist Jessen

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A member of the upper (Brahmin) caste doing his earli morning prayers, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Claus Qvist Jessen

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"Only beggars are skinny". Being fat is an Indian symbol of being rich - and this guy obviously is! Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Claus Qvist Jessen

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The chaos of India in one photo: The early morning at the holy Ganges in Varanasi. This must be the most photogenic spot on Earth, and certainly the place I've ever been which has made the greatest impression on me. Varanasi is magic. Claus Qvist Jessen

A whole family receiving the blessings of a Brahmin priest; Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Claus Qvist Jessen

Getting the morning shave; Dasashwamedh Ghat, Varanasi, UP.
Claus Qvist Jessen

Take a shower; Dasashwamedh Ghat, Varanasi, UP. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Hinduism doesn't have any "real educated monks". Instead, it's perfectly legal (men and women alike) to leave the spouse and 10 kids and walk the roads in search of the religious truth. these people are the sahdus, here at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. Claus Qvist Jessen

Very colourful sahdu at a festival; Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Claus Qvist Jessen

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Getting cremated is extremely expensive, and quite a few bodyes are dipped into the Ganges without being cremated, notably sahdus, children and people dying from snake bites. This smelly "beauty" is from Varanasi, UP. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Walking through any butchers market in India soon turns  even the hardiest meat-eater into a devout vegetarian. The chicken transport is from Calcutta, West Bengal. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Leprous beggar, Calcutta, West Bengal. Obviously one of the beggars who just can't work, whereas lots of others chose begging because it's just a much more profitable way of living than doing a low-paid job. Claus Qvist Jessen

The Hindu and Jain temples of Khajuraho in the central state of Madhya Pradesh boast some of the most daring sculptures ever made. Despite being made between 950 and 1050, the "theme" of the temples is pure sex. This one temple is the Lakshmana Temple. Claus Qvist Jessen

Quite eventful, isn't it? Detail from the Lakshmana Temple, Khajurahu, Madhya Pradesh. Claus Qvist Jessen

In ancient days, it was beleived that sex with an animal could cure you from Syphilis. Sexy detail from the Lakshmana Temple, Khajurahu, Madhya Pradesh. Claus Qvist Jessen

Vishnu and his mistress from one of the Jain temples in the  Khajurahu Complex; Madhya Pradesh. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Buddhist Monk reading holy scriptures. Bodhgaya (Bihar) is the place where Lord Buddha acquired enlightenment 2500 years ago and is still revered as the holiest Buddhist sit on Earth. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Bodghaya in Bihar State recieves lots of pilgrims from all over the Buddhist world. This Japanese man has decided to stay up all night in meditation, however, because of the insects, a mosquito net is essential! Claus Qvist Jessen

Being a holy place, Bodghaya's got it's share of beggars; Bihar.
Claus Qvist Jessen

Local village, Garo Hills, Meghalaya. One of the most fascinating and least visited regions of India. Unlike most other "Eastern Hill States", going to Meghalaya doesn't require a special permit.
Claus Qvist Jessen

Local girl from the Garo Hills, Meghalaya. Claus Qvist Jessen

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The local sport in Meghalaya is bow hunting, and every Tuesday competitions are held in the capital Shillong. It is not as easy as it looks! Claus Qvist Jessen

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Floating the bamboo. Garobadha, western Meghalaya.
Claus Qvist Jessen

Small boy and an elephant having a kind of conversation in a temple in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu. Kanchipuram is actually one of the seven holy cities of India, but hardly ever sees a tourist. Great!
Claus Qvist Jessen

Fixing the electricity wires the Indian way; Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Unknown to most people, the Gypsies actually originate from central India. Quite appropriately, some might say, this Gypsy girl is behind barbed wire; Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Tikka colours, frequently used by all Hindu women and men, either as decoration or for religious purposes. Mysore, Karnataka.
Claus Qvist Jessen

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Nothing is wasted. Muslim butcher, Mysore, Karnataka.
Claus Qvist Jessen
 

 

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