Reflections on Rishikesh


I’ve been in Rishikesh for just under a week now, a fair amount of time has had to be devoted to arranging onward travel plans and also clearing a slight backlog of work from when I departed London. That said, that’s all been taken care of now and I’ve managed to (what seems like finally) put in a couple of solid days shooting. One thing I’d almost forgotten about is how wonderful the light hereis to work with, the morning light is incredibly soft while the evening light has a wonderful haze to it

As is usual while I’m away shooting my regular routine is to wake early to get the morning light, then lunch, back to the hotel to charge my batteries (both mine and the cameras) and then out again in the evening to shoot in the evening light. I’ve found that in India the midday light is way too harsh and is difficult to work with so I tend to work around that


An early morning walk downstream from the rather touristy centre of Rishikesh showed a good indicator of the strength of the river, I came across large areas by the banks where masses of wood and trees had been washed down stream and collected at bends in the river. The current here is very strong and there are lots of notices warning that swimming in the Ganges can prove very dangerous, one thing I hadn’t expected to see was tour operators offering white water rafting which goes to show that the river is not to be messed with


At these points in the river I came across a large number of people scavenging amongst the washed up debris, the main thing of interest seemed to be dried pieces of firewood

Rishikesh has a very laid back atmosphere and it’s been a very enjoyable place to start the trip and focus on the project. I must admit it seems to have taken me a while to get ‘warmed up’ but I’m now looking forward to the task at hand and capturing more images as I follow the route of this river through India


Tomorrow morning I leave Rishikesh at six a.m for an eight hour drive up towards the source of the Ganges, I’ve had conflicting reports as to whether I’ll be able to reach the source due to the weather (it’s at an altitude of nearly 4,000 meters and it’s Winter) and also the state of the roads (last June flash floods washed away large sections of road leading to many deaths, much of these sections have still not been reconstructed)

Apparently I can get as far as Harsil which lies some 50km from the source and then we’ll take it from there. According to locals I’m looking at night time temperatures of well below freezing (and India doesn’t do insulation/double glazing) plus I’ll definitely be needing a local guide for trekking due to there being hungry leopards and bears up in the mountains…..