India

In February 2020 I went on an adventure of a lifetime to India. We explored India with a group of 10 people and our guide. It was the best thing to happen in a long time! I decided to done my freelance photographer hat and see what I could come up with.

Click through the photos below to live vicariously.

Cannonball Tree Flowers

Cannonball Tree Flowers, Kochi, India

Color

Alleyways in Kochi are full of color. It may be concrete jungle in some cases, but still full of color.

Pineapple Pancakes

Promised

This is how they signify "reserved", very different than what I used to.

Red Flowers

These flowers were pretty, though I didn't smell them.

Walking

Try Try Try

Even the Indian folk believe in aliens Hashtag Aliens

Santa Cruz Basilica

This church was originally built in 1558 and has survived many different regimes of country dictatorships.

Crows

Flowers

These flowers smelled really nice

Graffiti

Graffiti on the trees, while walking on the shore of Kochi

Kerala Kathakali Centre

A Ganesha carving outside the Kerala Kathakali Centre

Santa Cruz Basilica Paintings

Santa Cruz Basilica Paintings

Cannonball Tree Flowers

Cannonball Tree Flowers, Kochi, India

A Murder Scene

These are crows. Different than I was thinking, but still neat to see! The crows in America are all jet black.

Crow

A crow waiting for food to fall I can only assume.

Chai, please

Chai is everything in India. If you don't like chai, you're dead out of luck.

Laundry Services

This is the air drying area of the washing center.

Prepping for Kathakali Performance

Prepping for Kathakali Performance

Prepping for Kathakali Performance

Prepping for Kathakali Performance

Prepping for Kathakali Performance

Prepping for Kathakali Performance

Prepping for Kathakali Performance

Prepping for Kathakali Performance

Prepping for Kathakali Performance

Prepping for Kathakali Performance

Prepping for Kathakali Performance

Prepping for Kathakali Performance

Prepping for Kathakali Performance

Prepping for Kathakali Performance

Prepping for Kathakali Performance

Prepping for Kathakali Performance

Long exposure of the train tracks

Long exposure of the train tracks

No laws, just suggestions

By this point, I was used to the idea that "there are no laws, just suggestions" in India. Up in the mountains, people parking right by the no parking sign...well...Welcome to India!

Dr Seuss Hills

The tea hills of Wayanad looked like a Dr. Seuss book.

Bananas

Bananas were everywhere...and fruits were transported everywhere.

Trees and Hills

This was the first real experience with higher altitude. And boy...what a trip. The trees were different, the air was different, the animals...Coming from a city that is less than 600 ft above water when you realize you're almost 2500' above sea level and there is mountains surrounding you. It's a really neat feeling.

Monkey see Monkey Do

This was a fun capture. Note the monkey holding a plastic bottle.

Color is Everything

No joke, color is everything in India. There is no shortage of color!

Western Ghats

We were so lucky to see the mountains as we did during the moments leading up to sunset. It was amazing.

Wayanad, Kerala, Sunrise

I didn't sleep much during the trip, but when I did, I got good sleep. And I made myself wake up early to capture the moments I knew I would not get to otherwise. Here is sunrise from Wayanad.

Sunrise from the Roof

Our guide Prem saw me awake and walking about, and motioned me to go on the roof. I was unsure if I could. But hot damn, was he spot on. This spot was great for a morning meditation and I could just take in all the rays, all the sun...and feel at ease. Wayanad was my favorite place in all of India.

Water Drops

Waking up early, rocking the sunrise with some morning dew and water drops.

Tea Leaves Drying Phase 1

The tea leaves drying, at this stage they will dry until roughly 30% moisture is left in them, then they will be be sent down a shaft to be ground into a powder.

Burn Baby Burn

This is how they heat the coffers to dry the tea leaves.

Dry Tea

Dry, ground, ready for the final processing, even finer grinding. But for now, it's just drying even more.

Packaging Tea

Ground up tea at the final steps getting bagged for delivery.

Purple

Flowers in the tea fields

Plucking Tea Leaves

It was amazing to see the leaves from start to finish. To see the entire process, and watch the labour it goes through just so we have tea to drink.

Plucking Tea Leaves

Plucking Tea Leaves

Plucking Tea Leaves

Plucking Tea Leaves - The Cutter and Bag

Plucking Tea Leaves

Land of Tea

Plucking Tea Leaves

Plucking Tea Leaves

Tea Hills

Tea Hills, from a distance

Follow the Path

Follow the Path, v2

Bamboo Factory, Girl

This was a bamboo factory where they processed bamboo from step 1, to delivery and creation of products. Many of the businesses here specialize in hiring women and men who would normally not have jobs because of outsourcing.

Bamboo Factory, Girl

This was a bamboo factory where they processed bamboo from step 1, to delivery and creation of products. Many of the businesses here specialize in hiring women and men who would normally not have jobs because of outsourcing.

Bamboo Girl

This was a bamboo factory where they processed bamboo from step 1, to delivery and creation of products. Many of the businesses here specialize in hiring women and men who would normally not have jobs because of outsourcing.

Bamboo Man

This was a bamboo factory where they processed bamboo from step 1, to delivery and creation of products. Many of the businesses here specialize in hiring women and men who would normally not have jobs because of outsourcing.

Bamboo Man

This was a bamboo factory where they processed bamboo from step 1, to delivery and creation of products. Many of the businesses here specialize in hiring women and men who would normally not have jobs because of outsourcing.

Jackfruit

The jackfruit tree kills people...but it also creates some very good food.

Straw Huts

The straw huts look like this because in the rainy season, the straw will not retain water like it would if it was in hay bales.

Bananas

There are 20 types of bananas that grow in India as a country.

Baby Pineapple

This is a baby pineapple, far from ready, far from ripe, far from edible. But this was the first time I found out pineapples didn't grow in trees - forgive the ignorance, as I have lived exclusively in a place where we have pine trees and apple trees, and both things have seeds or fruit growing in the trees.

Pineapple

Also not ready to eat, but cool to see

B.a.n.a.n.a.s.

Jackfruit

The first time I heard about jackfruit was just a few years ago in the states. These people have been growing it for a long time! And the fruits get so big they kill people if you're under it!

Cowabunga

This cow must've been having a rough day.

The First Elephant!

This was the first elephant I had ever seen in the wild.

Where's Waldo?

Elephants

This cute baby elephant was doing what elephants do with it's herd walking around in the world just taking it all in.

Butterfly

This was the first butterfly I saw on the trip. I don't know what kind it is.

Please Behave Like Animals

Walking up the hills to the Edakkal Caves there were signs everywhere about this.

Please Behave Like Animals

Stop plastic waste. Even with needing to pay 20 rupees people STILL are lazy and don't clean up after themselves. For your conversion rates, 20 rupees is roughly 25 cents, a quarter...

Wrap Around

Waiting for the Bus

This group was waiting for the vehicle to pick them up

Tight Curves

So many tight curves and switchbacks.

Over the hills and far away

Waiting for the bus #2

Middle School

Not every school looks like what you see in the photos in the USA.

Green!

Hotels

I wonder how many stars this hotel was...

Garbage, everywhere

Unfortunately there is garbage everywhere, and they don't have the infrastructure to deal with it. Or maybe they do.

Suggestions

So, the first photo of the series that shows multiple people on motorcycles.

Buying Fruit

Getting to the top, 1

This man who had been washing and helping the elephant was trying to up on its back, over the course of the next few photos you'll see the man get up on the elephant

Getting to the top, 2

This man who had been washing and helping the elephant was trying to up on its back, over the course of the next few photos you'll see the man get up on the elephant

Getting to the top, 3

This man who had been washing and helping the elephant was trying to up on its back, over the course of the next few photos you'll see the man get up on the elephant

Getting to the top, 4

This man who had been washing and helping the elephant was trying to up on its back, over the course of the next few photos you'll see the man get up on the elephant

Getting to the top, 5

This man who had been washing and helping the elephant was trying to up on its back, over the course of the next few photos you'll see the man get up on the elephant

Getting to the top, 6

Getting to the top, 7

No! I'm not getting up!

This elephant did NOT want to get out of the water. To the point where the man tried coaxing it out, and it dropped down and into the water...hah, what a great fun memory. We all had a laugh about this.

Pink Flowers

The flowers were so vibrant in India.

Waterfall

The entire jeep safari we were looking around, and we found a lot of stuff. I had to pay an extra 550 rupees just to bring my camera, but I am so...so happy I did. If I hadn't there were so many opportunities I would've missed out on. Including this one.

Skulls

Elephants Grazing

These elephants were just doing what elephants do and grabbing food from the trees. I also captured video of the elephants crossing the street we were parked on. This was honestly, worth every single penny and hour we spent in India. I was so happy to see this happening. This is only stuff you see on the discovery channel and what not.

Peekaboo

I see you

Smiles and All

This young boy was wheel around his cart at the Chamundi Temple.

Chamundi Temple, Parade to celebrate the deities

Chamundi Temple, Parade to celebrate the deities

Chamundi Temple, Parade to celebrate the deities

Chamundi Temple, Parade to celebrate the deities

Chamundi Temple, Parade to celebrate the deities

6-MysoreChamundi Temple, Parade to celebrate the deities-6

Chamundi Temple, Parade to celebrate the deities

Chamundi Temple, Parade to celebrate the deities

Chamundi Temple, Parade to celebrate the deities

You Just Had To Jump

The monkeys were everywhere at the Chamundi Temple, and this was the first place we had seen monkeys so close. I was in heaven trying to capture all the monkey's, this was one of my favorite shots

Chamundi Temple

Chamundi Temple

Monkey See Monkey Do

Up until this point in my life, maybe up to 2 days earlier, I had never actually seen a monkey doing what I see humans do. It was a surreal experience.

The Shade Feels Good

This money was just chilling in the shade picking up garbage, well what I would consider garbage and licking the remnants off it.

Licking on the Edge

The monkeys ate anything and everything they could get their hands on.

Prayer Beads

We found this along the way to the Nandi Bull from the Chamundi Temple. I liked where they were and how they looked.

Cucumbers Anyone?

Did you know, monkeys like cucumbers too?

Look at those Teeth!

I wouldn't want a monkey biting me...

Wait until you see it...

When I took this photo...I was about 20 ft away, and didn't notice what was in store...

Purple Leaves

This tree stuck out like a sore thumb in the midst of yellow and dusty.

Open Air Market - Mysore

This is the first time I had been to an open market in a foreign country. We have farmers markets here in America, but it's just not the same. This was such a unique experience.

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

Open Air Market - Mysore

The Clock

This clock was in the middle of a water fountain, that wasn't running.

6-Mysore-45

6-Mysore-46

Interesting Hat

She, was the reason I went to India

Without her pushing me to go, I would not have gone to India.

Mysore Palace

The last king of India opened up the palace to the public, the royals still use the palace, but there is a small section of the palace open.

Mysore Palace

The last king of India opened up the palace to the public, the royals still use the palace, but there is a small section of the palace open.

Mysore Palace

The last king of India opened up the palace to the public, the royals still use the palace, but there is a small section of the palace open.

Trash Swans

Unfortunately there is a lot of trash in India, everywhere. For whatever reason.

Walking Around The City

There are statues everywhere.

Trash Cows

The cows eat anything, and I mean...anything. I've grown up around farms being within 15-20 minutes of me my whole life. But never actually grew up on a farm, so I can't imagine it's much different than America. Other than in India farmers have a festival where they paint the horns, which they also don't burn off the cows head.

Trash Cows

Walking

Mamallapuram was full of people just walking around. It was a huge tourist city, but so compact it was hard to determine who was tourist and who wasn't in some cases.

Carving

So many shops had people carving statues out of stone. It was really incredible to see the folks doing this.

Melanie

Sooo.....

These girls are the types who walk around the city holding young children and babies and trying to sell little necklaces for a very small prices, usually 20-40 rupees...which in USD is 20-40 cents. These girls often have to work for someone.

The Lizard King, #1

I was at the top of a small hill, by myself, and found a lizard who just happened to come up.

The Lizard King #2

This little lizard couldn't decide if it wanted the light, or the shade.

Top of the Hill

Mamallapuram had a local park that was pretty neat. Apparently you could see the sunrise really well from this, area, but it was ticketed so, we enjoyed the sunrise from our hotel.

A Common Sight

This honestly was a common sight..more than one person on a motorcycle or a moped.

Moooooove....

Dragging the stick

Hidden, roadside temple

Hidden, roadside temple

Hidden, roadside temple

Hidden, roadside temple

Hidden, roadside temple

Temple Stops

This was a temple on the way from Mamallapuram to Madurai. Temples are everywhere.

The Tiger King

I've not watched the series, but India is full of tigers you never see. Unless you find the rare chance to see one.

Guardians of the Temple

These folks were not allowed to ask for money, but it was customary to give to the folks who clean the temples and take care of them.

Temples Are Everywhere

And frankly, they can be anywhere. Have no expectations.

Fruit, Everywhere.

There is fruit everywhere, you will find no shortage of fruit!

Mahindra

Mahindra Jeeps are everywhere.

Chilling

A lot of people just set their produce down and make their own spot to sell things and folks will just stop and

This? Yeah, That!

The people almost always seemed to be having conversations, and about what, who knows...I was in a bus most times or sight seeing.

It's Tree, Palm Tree

I loved all the palms

Let's have a chat yes?

Coverings

In between the monotone yellows there was some blues

Helmet

This was the ONLY pedal biker I saw wearing a helmet, clearly training with a bike like that.

Talking on the phone

One man smiling, one on the phone.

Bikes and Mopeds

There were more bikes and mopeds than cars no doubt

Making Dosa

This guy was at a market making the infamous Dosa.

One Bike to Rule Them All

In all of the motorbikes there was one pedal bike.

Solitude

Smiling Girls

So many people in India smile. It's infectious.

Dancing Girl #1

As she looks to the sky, I wonder what she is thinking.

Dancing Girl #2

As she looks to the sky, I wonder what she is thinking.

Balls...

In some parts of India the only day you can sell meat is Sundays.

Roadside Temples

As you can see, there are temples at any turn of the head.

Fixing Roads

Just like in America, they are enjoying a moment of chilling.

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round

The buses are always full, and most don't have any spots available. This is a surprisingly low amount of people in the bus.

A Man and His Moped

Walking

Colors Everywhere

How Old Are You?

Not sure how old these kids were, but even as we passed them I was asking myself...

Pandemonium, pt 1

This was one of a handful of physical stops that I encountered along the way. There so many roundabouts and what not.

Pandemonium, pt 2

The Indian folk know how to pandemonium so much better than us in America.

One to the Side

Shadow Play

Take a Moment

Anyone Need a Couch?

I have no idea why there was a store with couches because most peoples living quarters were not very big...

The Police....Didn't Stop Them

This was a common sight. Not sure how I feel about it, or if I should have an opinion.

Old Man (Take a look at my life)

I'm a lot like you...

Trains

Even people in India have to wait for trains. This was a 1/8 long exposure..

Even the Bikes Wait

Car, moped, motorcycle, pedal bike, they all wait.

Kissing Trucks

It looked like the trucks were kissing...

To the Right

This was the only shot I got of a woman actully facing me on the motorcycle

The Fields

The fields were cool looking.

Bus Stop

This was a bus stop, I think? I'm not exactly sure...

Is it the 50s?

These cars were pretty common, and they looked like a 50s car.

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Focus

What am I focusing on?

Like I said earlier...

This was a common sight.

Blades

Cooped up Chickens

Making Dosa

Making Dosa, Black and White

Painted Horns 1

This was a bull market. The bulls and cows had their horns painted from a farmers festival.

Painted Horns 2

This was a bull market. The bulls and cows had their horns painted from a farmers festival.

Painted Horns 3

This was a bull market. The bulls and cows had their horns painted from a farmers festival.

Painted Horns 4

This was a bull market. The bulls and cows had their horns painted from a farmers festival.

Painted Horns 5

This was a bull market. The bulls and cows had their horns painted from a farmers festival.

Painted Horns 6

This was a bull market. The bulls and cows had their horns painted from a farmers festival.

Painted Horns 7

This was a bull market. The bulls and cows had their horns painted from a farmers festival.

Painted Horns 8

This was a bull market. The bulls and cows had their horns painted from a farmers festival.

Painted Horns 9

This was a bull market. The bulls and cows had their horns painted from a farmers festival.

I see Moo...

Skinning Start to Finish

One of my favorite images from the trip, even as morbid as it is...

Smile! Or Don't.

But she was a cutie when the dad wasn't holding her up. Yes he did consent to the photo.

She, pt 1

Our room in Madurai was orange, and she was dressed to the nines in her yellow and purple...so complimentary.

She, part 2

Our room in Madurai was orange, and she was dressed to the nines in her yellow and purple...so complimentary.

She, Part 3

Our room in Madurai was orange, and she was dressed to the nines in her yellow and purple...so complimentary.

Walking to Work

This was early morning, maybe 7am or so.

Black and White

Poverty knows no color, but we pretend like it does.

Poverty

Poverty knows no color, let's embrace it, and prevent it.

Meenakshi Temple

Meenakshi Temple

Meenakshi Temple

Meenakshi Temple

Meenakshi Temple

Head Strong

Beginning of the Rickshaw Ride

Babies

These baby chicks are adorable, especially with mom standing so confidently.

Trinkets

These people sell trinkets for pennies on the dollar...it truly is sad when I see how far my dollar goes.

Waiting for the Bus

This was an actual bus station...unlike the one I found earlier in the trip.

Waiting

Tick tock tick tock....but again, those smiles! (See the man to the right)

Dancing Lady

We had stopped on the rickshaws and this woman was dancing, and it appeared, having a fun time.

Freedom

If freedom isn't your choice, whose is it?

Garbage

Garbage everywhere. This was the saddest part, I just wanted to help so badly. I just don't know if they have the infrastructure to deal with it.

Hungry Cow

Many of the cows will just eat whatever they can get their mouths and tongues on.

Hungry Cow

Many of the cows will just eat whatever they can get their mouths and tongues on.

Light and Dark

I loved the color in this shot.

Garbage Dogs

These dogs were chilling on the garbage.

Wall Painting Pt 1

Wall Painting Pt 2

Wall Painting Pt 3

Painted Underpass

This specific underpass was painting with really neat drawings and colors.

Painted Underpass, pt 2

This specific underpass was painting with really neat drawings and colors.

Bananas

Rolling his banana cart, I was in heaven..little did I know...the best was yet to come.

Bananas

Did you know, India grows 20 varieties of bananas?

Fabics

The fabrics were of every color you could imagine, except black!

Fabrics

The fabrics were of every color you could imagine, except black!

Orange

This image stuck out to me, I can't place why...the orange and the white ash on the mans head makes me feel this image has something special.

Rickshaw Jam

Rickshaw Jam

Rickshaw Jam

Rickshaw Jam

Banana Market

This was my heaven...so many bananas. I bought a bunch and they didn't make it back to the hotel...

Banana Bunch

Small bananas have more flavor...

Stacking Fruit

I don't know how they seem to keep the fruit stacked so nice...but they make pyramids out of fruit.

Buy My Fruit

This smiling man just wanted to sell me his fruit hah...

Sleeping Man

Some of the bikers use their bikes as carts to haul products.

Sunday Morning News

These men were reading the morning news having a chuckle.

Chai

A morning without chai is a morning that does not happen. Everything in India revolves around chai.

Cows

Cows and Humans go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly.

Waiting for the Bus

These kids were just waiting for the bus and doing whatever kids do, while there are advertisements around.

Waiting for the Bus Pt 2

The kids all wear uniforms so as to remove any social bias.

Kids being kids...

Going to school looks like a fun time.

Holding Onto Cargo

I was so happy to get this shot, these guys were just chilling in the back of the truck, going about 40 or so km/hr.

Western Ghats, from the South-is

We were going from Madurai to Peryiar and the mountains, Western Ghats started showing up

Hay Bales, On Steroids

Sewing

Sewing machines is a common sight to see along the road

Road Work

It's important to note road workers may or may not wear shoes when working...

Bamboo Shield

In my mind I was wondering if this was an attempt at a Chicago Gas Station with plexiglas, but it was bamboo.

Distance

The mountains are unlike anything I've seen besides the Rockies -- and only briefly there. These mountains had gorgeous valleys and even higher hills.

Candlestick Flowers

The flowers didn't really have a smell, but they had a look!

Candlestrick Flowers, Up Close

Candlestrick Flowers, Up Close

Candlestrick Flowers

Butterfly, pt 1

Not sure of the exact species, but I thought it was beautiful nonetheless

Butterfly Pt 2

Not sure of the exact species, but I thought it was beautiful nonetheless

Hibisicus

I had not ever seen a hibiscus in real life until India. But I did enjoy hibiscus beer.

Peppercorns!

This is what a peppercorn looks like when it's still on the tree

Drying Peppercorns

Fun fact: White pepper corns are the most potent, green peppercorns are the least, while black have the flavor vs. spice.

Cross Flowers

Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding hearts, Indian style.

The Smallest Pepper In The World

Apparently this little pepper was quite hot, but not being a fan of pepper...I avoided it.

Indian Roses

These were Roses, believe it or not.

Fruits

Fruits, #2

Vanilla Beans

I asked..."But I thought vanilla grew in Mexico." (y'know literally being one country away) Turns out the spice plantation bought the Vanilla from Madagascar and grow it, and have figured out how to harvest more than just once!

13-Alleppy-6

13-Allppy-5

13-Alleppy-

13-Alleppy-1

13-Alleppy-15

Mountains, pt 1

In The Middle of The Mountains, pt 1

In The Middle of The Mountains, pt 2

In The Middle of The Mountains, pt 3

Aim

Aim right, with wax matches

Crows and Cows

These cows lived on the property, and the crow kept landing on the cows. They did eventually make a ruckus and crew flew away for good.

Crows and Cows

These cows lived on the property, and the crow kept landing on the cows. They did eventually make a ruckus and crew flew away for good.

Crows and Cows

The crow's just chillin like a villain

Crows and Cows

Communism

It's no secret communism and socialist ways of that of Kerala, India. Kerala is the state...however, these people were some of the nicest I've ever met, especially as an American, who had never really dealt with this kind of political atmosphere.

People on the River are Happy to Give

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Kerala Eagle

This beautiful creature had landed, and thanks to my Aussie friends they alerted me to this magnificent bird.

Kerala Eagle

This beautiful creature had landed, and thanks to my Aussie friends they alerted me to this magnificent bird.

Reflections

Hammer and Sickle

The hammer and sickle were a common sight in Kerala.

Caged Bird, I Know Why It Sings

This bird was quiet...until I stopped to

Reflections, #2

Moo, Whoo?

The Guide

Prem, our guide was the entire reason we were able to traverse India like we did. He is an amazing fellow.

"Katja"

Misty Morning Flowers

Misty Morning Flowers

Misty Morning Flowers

Radish Apples

These little red fruits tastes like apples, but mixed with radishes. Little liquid, but tasty.

MEOOWWW!!

You Lied

You lied about that fish apparently....

Last Flower

This was the last flower I saw in India...it was definitely a beautiful sight.

The Last River

This was the last river we saw, and it ironically filled with green. I can't fully explain the feelings I felt here.

Trucks

These trucks were ALL OVER India. I mean, everywhere. This was the best photo I got of one, coincidently the last.

Goodbye Kochi

This was the final photo I took in Kochi before we left. Thank you India for everything.

Final Send Off

This was the last photo I took, before taking a 15.5 hour flight back to Chicago...

© 2019 by Chris Rugowski,
Chicken or The Egg Photography.

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A Murder Scene

These are crows. Different than I was thinking, but still neat to see! The crows in America are all jet black.