India Wishlist: from Steve McCurry’s Rajasthan to Mumbai’s Fashion Week

There’s nothing like dreaming big when you write a wishlist, so what better place to start than India? It’s a vast country and I’m sure I’m only aware of a small percentage of what there is to see, so I apologise if my plans involve going for the obvious rather than the hidden gems, but I’m only just getting to grips with it.

I’m hoping to visit either late in 2013 or early in 2014, with Jodhpur, Jaipur and Delhi being likely stopping points, but there are loads of other places I want to tick off. Here are just some of the experiences I’d like to have, the sights that have inspired me and the things I want to photograph, from the possible to the not-so-likely-unless-I-take-a-gap-year.

1. Following in the footsteps of Steve McCurry: Photographing Rajasthan and Beyond

Rajasthan blue buildings and locals

McCurry’s piercingly colourful Rajasthan. Credit: stevemccurry.com

Indian Man Portrait

One of the photographer’s memorable portraits of the real India. Credit: stevemccurry.com

I recently saw Steve McCurry’s exhibition at Chris Beetles Fine Photographs and I was blown away by how talented he is, but also how well he captures India. Everything is super-saturated and almost too lifelike, but you can’t tear yourself away. He shows your average Indian getting on with daily life, from Mumbai to Goa, in the fields or ship breaking or in the city streets. For more inspiration, take a look at his photography blog.

It’s because of his photos that so many places have been added to my list. I’m working on getting better at photography, so I can be half decent when I eventually reach India.

2. Painting and Drawing the Colourful Cities: Blue Johdpur and Pink Jaipur

Jodhpur by Garrett Ziegler

A view of Jodhpur’s blue buildings. Credit: Garrett Ziegler, via Flickr

Jaipur by Prada Dearest

Looking over Jaipur at sunset. Credit: Prada Dearest, via Flickr.

It’s photos like these that inspire me to get out my watercolours, acrylics and pens for some on-site art. And, in a country this colourful, how could you just opt for simple monochrome? With the Blue City (Jodhpur) and the Pink City (Jaipur) both firmly on the agenda, there’s loads of potential for vibrant paintings, ink drawings and maybe some collages or prints. Hey, it’s never too late to put an art degree to good use.

3. Checking out Mumbai’s finest at Fashion Week

Lakme Fashion Week - Virtues A/W 2012

Virtues A/W 2012 at Lakme Fashion Week. Credit: Vogue.in

Nikhil Thampi Design

Nikhil Thampi’s Lakme Fashion Week dresses have turned heads. Credit: Vogue.in

I’ve had my eye on the country’s style set for quite a while, having enjoyed the Bollywood film Fashion and bought Vogue India in the past. Lakme Fashion Week is where you’ll find the hottest established and new design talent. Although not many of them have global careers, they deserve to be big names. Some of my favourites are Aartivijay Gupta, Nikhil Thampi, Virtues, Felix Bendish and Nupur Kanoi.

4. Exploring Pondicherry

Pondicherry Abhimay Omkar

Pondicherry’s French Quarter. Credit: Abhinay Omkar, via Flickr

Pondicherry Alexandre Jacques

A glimpse of the town’s buildings. Credit: Alexandre Jacques, via Flickr

This is a lively seaside town with a colonial past, having been controlled by the French and the British over the last few hundred years. It’s where the residents of Chennai like to hang out on the weekends for a bit of a break, and I think it looks like the perfect place to clear your head and just do some wandering.

5. Going for tea and taking the train in Darjeeling

Darjeeling Himalayas Thunderbolt Tea

How gorgeous do the Himalayas look? Beautiful Darjeeling. Credit: Thunderbolt Tea, via Flickr.

Darjeeling Railway SheepRUs

Tube-esque signs on the railway at Darjeeling. Credit: SheepRUs, via Flickr.

As a self-confessed tea addict, it’s no great surprise that I’d want to go to Darjeeling, one of the world’s most renowned tea growing destinations. It’s also home to the Himalayan Railway, which cuts through the mountains from the town to New Jalpaiguri, and includes the Joy Train that travels to Ghum. India’s railways are a part of the landscape and there’s so much that can be seen from a train carriage. I’d be glued to my seat with my camera and a cuppa.

This is by no means a complete wishlist, but it’s a taste of a country that I can’t wait to visit.

3 responses to “India Wishlist: from Steve McCurry’s Rajasthan to Mumbai’s Fashion Week

  1. Lovely post Polly! You’re certainly in for some colourful sites in India. My personal list for there is similar – but I would love to visit the Holi festival and get covered in the paint powder! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Havana Affair: Why I’m Bound for Cuba | The Travelling Calavera·

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