On a warm August Sunday morning, I was on a photo-walk in Jaipur. As per the Hindu calendar, it was the month of Sawan. The subject of my photo-walk was Kanwariya or Kanwar Yatra. It is common to spot many Kanwar Yatras in Jaipur during this month.
This Yatra can be commonly seen across North India during this period. This year Kanwariyas have been in the limelight in the state of UP and NCR for the wrong reasons. Mob violence. Kanwar Yatra causes traffic jams & disrupts movement on the Delhi-Haridwar highway due to a large number of people. Each year Kanwariya take on the road on foot walking to Haridwar to fetch holy water from the Ganges & carry it back home. Kanwariyas being a staunch believer of Shiva use this Holy water as an offering in the Shiva temples.
Only a few Kanwariyas in the pink city make a round trip to Haridwar. As per the local custom, the water of Galta Kund is considered holy. Pilgrims walk to Galta Ji, to fetch the same. I have already written about Galta Ji in detail in this post – The captivating monkey temple at Galta Ji. This water is offered at the local Shiva temples.
The following day being the last Monday in Sawan, I was sure to witness at least one such Yatra. These Yatras are led by a pilot van with loudspeakers fitted in the cargo area. The blaring music hit my ears from an intersection. The devotional songs are fused with popular Bollywood music.
As I headed towards this intersection I saw a large huge number of people marching out from Galta Gate. Unlike most Kanwar Yatra, there were female group leaders & male traffic coordinators.
Seen above is Tripolia Gate in the background.
After finding a suitable location on a side-pavement, I started clicking pictures. I captured a few Kanwariyas unaware.
Some were busy among themselves following the file.
There were some who were happy and posed for the shot.
Also part of this troop were a few “furry” characters. I have never seen this idea in any of Kanwars before. Probably they were added to create some “buzz”.
Spotting a camera in my hand, one of them posed for the pictures!
They were playing pranks on the passers-by and riders. Here’s one such shot where this “furry” character was scaring a female rider.
The yatra passed from Tripolia Gate towards Tarkeshwar temple, a prominent Shiva temple which predates the founding of Jaipur city. Even though it draws a huge number of devotees throughout the year, during Sawan the number swells up. After paying a visit to the shrine, the yatra commenced its return journey.
The beauty of such Yatra is that it includes men of all age and strata. You can find both young and old, rich and poor.
Is it ethical to click pictures of people on the street?
I have been sharing pictures from my photo-walks in Jaipur over the last few months. I was battling with an important question – whether clicking pictures of people on the street is ethical?
A few months ago, I shared my thoughts in one of my post -11 seconds. Many readers were of the opinion that clicking pictures of people on the street is unethical. I also had a similar opinion as I had refrained from clicking people on the street. Over a period of time, I read and exchanged views with other photographers as well as experienced it first-hand. I have come to realize that most people on the street are pleased with being clicked. There are a few who refuse to be captured. It is important to recognize their right.
It is revealing that a large number of people on the street don’t have access to their own photographs. There have been times when I was carrying a DSLR traversing through the bazaars and some of these people asked me to click their pictures. Realizing this I not only clicked their pictures but also handed them over a hard copy on my next visit. Jaipur being a tourist city attracting visitors from across the globe street life photography is a regular feature. Jaipurites make a lovely photography subject. What are your thoughts?
Check out Photo-Walks in Jaipur