When you think of India, do you picture majestic mountains, raging waterfalls, and lush green fields?
Those who have never been to this colourful and exotic country are probably not aware of all the natural beauty it has to offer. And that is because, when they think of India, they probably picture the marbled wonder that is the Taj Mahal, or the crowded, sometimes chaotic streets of Mumbai. Or perhaps, they just end up recalling scenes from “Slumdog Millionaire.”
But India is actually a lot more than that. To dispel any of those preconceived notions, here are some natural scenic spots in India that are sure to change your mind and fulfil your photography dreams:
1. Suraj Tal Lake
The Suraj Tal Lake, also known as the Surya Taal, is a sacred body of water in Lahaul Valley, Himachal Pradesh. Like a bright jewel amid velvety white snow and rocky mountain peaks, this stunning blue lake is fed by year-round snowfall, glaciers, and torrential streams from the Bara-lacha-la Pass. Climatic conditions make the area mostly unsuitable for habitation, but it’s still a wonderfully serene spot for tourists and photography buffs.
Tip: Make sure to read up on how to protect your camera when shooting in cold temperatures—especially if you’re using a professional DSLR camera.
2. Nubra Valley
Located in Jammu and Kashmir, Nubra Valley is a mesmerising, high-altitude cold desert that is bound to surprise (and probably confuse, but in a good way) its visitors with an eclectic landscape of expansive sand dunes, sparkling rivers, and lush greenery. It’s the perfect place for taking some truly gorgeous landscape photos.
Do keep in mind, however, that foreign travellers must obtain a permit to visit and explore the area.
Tip: Use lens filters to reduce glare, control exposure, and get just the right mix of vibrant colours in your photos. Additionally, filters help protect the front element of your camera lens from getting scratched by sand particles.
3. Athirappilly Falls
With its rugged splendour and natural beauty, Athirappilly Falls—dubbed the “Niagara of India”—is pretty much like paradise on Earth. Surrounded by thick emerald forests that host a vast collection of exotic wildlife, the 24-meter-high waterfall and the Chalakudy River below make up a truly stunning scenic spot that regularly attracts locals, tourists, and even filmmakers.
Tip: Bring a lightweight but durable tripod to allow you to use slower shutter speeds for capturing the motion of the water. You may also want to invest in a waterproof case or bag to protect your camera at all times.
As a former British colony, India takes its tea very seriously—it’s one of the leading tea producers in the world, and the locals themselves are avid tea drinkers, too. There are many tea estates all over the country, and among them is Munnar, which is home to miles and miles of impossibly lush tea plantations. Photography enthusiasts will love this beautiful, picturesque place with its rolling greenery, winding lanes, misty hills, and thick forests.
Tip: Wait for the Golden Hour (shortly after sunrise or before sunset) to get the most optimal lighting for your photos.
5. Stok Range
Whether you’re standing at the base of the mountain range or perched atop one of its peaks, the Stok Range of the Himalayas in the Ladakh region of northwest India offers incredibly breathtaking views and picture-perfect scenery. Stok Kangri, the highest peak of the range, is popular among mountaineering enthusiasts due to its high altitude and relatively low difficulty level. It’s also a must-see for tourists who are looking to enjoy India’s most beautiful natural attractions.
Tip: Pack light! Even if you don’t plan on climbing the mountain, you’ll still have to do a bit of trekking to see the best spots, so limit your camera gear to the bare essentials.
6. Agatti Island
Agatti Island is an isolated beach paradise in Lakshadweep that boasts of powdery white sand, bright blue waters, and beautiful tropical foliage. It’s truly like a scene out of a postcard, which means your pictures are bound to look amazing.
Keep in mind, however, that visitors will need an entry permit to visit Agatti and the other beautiful islands in Lakshadweep.
Tip: If you can, bring waterproof camera gear, a UV filter for your lens, and a tripod.
7. Valley of Flowers National Park
Is there any place more idyllic than a valley full of fluttering butterflies, twittering birds, expansive green hills, and lovely meadows of colourful flowers? Discovered in 1931 by British mountaineers, the Valley of Flowers National Park is a high-altitude valley in West Himalaya, which is located in the state of Uttarakhand. Because of its significance to India’s culture and tourism, its biologically diverse flora and fauna, and of course, its sheer natural beauty, the Valley of Flowers National Park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tip: Be prepared to climb, trek, and explore.
8. Chadar Trek
During winter, the Zanskar river in Ladakh becomes a massive sheet of glittering ice, making it one of the most thrilling and challenging trekking destinations for adventurous travellers. Composed of a frozen river, rocky formations, caves, and a frozen waterfall, the Chadar Trek offers visitors a front-seat view to one of the most beautiful natural sights in India.
Tip: Bring the necessary gear to protect your camera from the freezing temperatures.
Ready to Capture India’s Natural Beauty?
If you love seeing, experiencing, and taking beautiful photos of stunning natural sights, grab your photography gear and head over to India, which is home to some unbelievably breathtaking landscapes and scenery that are far removed from those busy city streets that most people often associate with the country.
This is a guest post by Shane Haumpton, who writes on topics ranging from lifestyle, photography, travel, and arts and crafts to gadgets, social media, and internet safety. This self-confessed coffee addict and shutterbug manages to do all these while enjoying life as a nomad.