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India – Streetlife

Written by 17 November 2010 5 Comments

Visiting India, there was so much to see, smell, sense and naturally there was a photo to be taken at every possible corner. The most fascinating thing to photograph was everyday life, which istotally different to where i am from. Life here, is mostly being lived out on the streets. As temperatures are hot and air conditioners are expensive, staying inside is definately not the more attractive option. Life in the streets means working, socializing and getting the low-down on the latest talk of the town. Shops and food stores are cramped into the tiniest available spaces and in between people just set up what they call their shop on wheels.

Driving through the city, I noticed that the majority of people out and about were men. Women rather sit on the first floor of their houses at an open balcony or behind open windows. They view street life from up above. They can see, but aren’t seen. This old tradition is still rather common.




Fabulous street style made in India. Pink from head to toe. And he figured the thing with the cloth bags long ago.



In need of an exhaust? A chair? A lamp? A goat? There are few things that can not be found in the streets.


Rickshaw drivers. They are able to rent a Rickshaw for 40 rupees a day. One ride (depending on distance) is usually between 50 – 100 rupees. If they want to buy their own Rickshaw, they would have to pay about 10,000 rupees (160-170 €). It means the world to them having their own, because it saves them money every day.


There is a lot of cooking happening. Almost every other store sells some kind of freshly made food. All those people in India all like to eat supper around the same time – that sure calls for a high demand for food. The man in the above photos is baking Indian bread (chapati). Others prepared curries of all kinds. Food is usually served not on plates, but in bowls made from a special kind of leave. Theses are natural ressources, so it’s cheaper to produce and environmentally friendly.



Getting some rest, or sleeping at any time o the day seems to be normal. I’ve seen people sleep on the streets with cars passing them at a2 inch distance. They sleep while sitting, lying on very uncomfortable objects, or even standing. I think it’s a matter of practice but I even find it hard to sleep while sitting in a comfortable chair.



Most of these photos were taken from the bus as we didn’t have a lot of time for stops. Besides, walking around wasn’t always easy with a family full of blond people. We seemed to be an attraction a lot of the time and taking photos while being surrounded by loads of people looking at you, is a little difficult. But even from the bus windows you get a great impression of life in India’s streets.

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  • Lakshmi said:

    These photos are well composed, but this post shows a very simplistic and cliche view of India. While all the pictures here reveal one side of Indian street-life, there is such a vibrancy and complexity to the daily activities that is not highlighted here. Tourists often leave India with only the package version of India, and a lot of times, its the mystical India from the magazines. Travelers reach for an old version of India and get caught in a time warp.

    I want to highlight that India is booming, and filled with modernity. There is a bustling art gallery scene in Delhi, high fashion in Mumbai, and the coolest indie music scene in Bangalore. Not to mention some of the best food in the world. You can also get everything from home in the major cities. There are young people who dress as we do in Europe or the states, and who are completely innovative and hip or put a spin on old and new.

    As a blonde who has lived in India for some time, I would recommend getting off the bus, moving past the stares, getting a salwar stitched and actually talking to the people on the ground to discover the real stories, and complexity of India.

  • Natalie said:

    Interesting Post. India is different landscapes to different people. Please check out Shatter the Looking Glass Magazine’s photo essay on Calcutta by Rohini Chandra.


  • Lisa said:

    As Lakshmi said:

    “As a blonde who has lived in India for some time, I would recommend getting off the bus, moving past the stares, getting a salwar stitched and actually talking to the people on the ground to discover the real stories, and complexity of India.”

    Amen! What I also find atrocious is the complete lack of language skills among most other tourists in India.

    I’m not Indian. I’m white. But I picked up a few words of Hindi, got a salwar stitched, got off the bus and discovered the REAL India.

    You think these pictures are good? Think of the ones of the real, complicated, complex and wonderful India you totally missed because you failed to get off that bus.

    What a waste. Go backpack in Europe next time.

  • kay* said:

    i think these pictures are quite good – what i can never get over, in all pics i see from india, is all the colour.

    in the new year i’m moving to india for a year to work/volunteer. i’m really into photography so i’m excited to photograph india as i’ll see it – from the perspective and view of a foreigner not just doing a few weeks or months in the country, or a tour, but living and experiencing the culture/country for a year. i’m certainly looking forward to it.

  • Destination Infinity said:

    Why did you limit to just the North of India? Perhaps the ten day limit? South India has some of the biggest, classiest and oldest Temples because most of them were literally untouched during the long centuries of overseas(land?) invasion. I can also say that South Indians are a little more sophisticated, but any Northie reading this post might get offended! :) Next time, try to visit Hyderabad, Chennai, Karnataka and Kerala. Great places to go for a vacation :)

    Destination Infinity

    PS: I don’t know which one of you got selected for the Problogger Great barrier reaf competition, whoever it is, congrats to you :)

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