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The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.


If you ever go to the Gateway of India, you cant miss these guys.... they are everywhere!!

They roam around with a camera in hand, clicking photos of the multitudes of tourists.  They have been around for what seems forever!!! I remember a time when they used to work as a group - one clicking photos while the smaller boys ran to get the photos developed. The customer was asked to come back in an hour, and the photo would be ready. There was also a phase when the Polaroid was all the rage! Instant photos!! Customers lined up just for the thrill of seeing the developed image emerge from the camera!! Digital cameras and photo printers have made life easier for them. They simply take a pic, print it, and hand it over to you within a few minutes, and go on their way, looking for their next customer.

These guys are great at spotting prospective customers. I have never been accosted by them when I have been there alone..... but every time I go with Samhith, they are right there, promising the best photograph!! And they can get really pesky when we are there with the full family!!  This time, I was at the Gateway with my cousins and Samhith, and one of the chaps approached us. And then he spotted the DSLR hanging from my cousin's neck, and the high zoom camera hanging from mine, and turned away, but not before giving me a big smile!! 


  1. Well said Anu. In Mussoorie one of them told me, I will click your's from your SLR only. I just smiled and moved ahead!

    1. true Mridula, these guys are everywhere!! and most people do enjoy having their photo taken, so they manage to make a living too, i guess!! there are few of us completely uninterested in our own pics!

  2. I loved that last line!!! Could picture the scene so vividly!!!!


  3. How about offering them back to click their photo?

    1. Hmm yes, Shrinidhi,good idea, should do that sometime....

  4. It isnt easy to get away from them. :)

    1. absolutely!!! they can stick like leeches at times... which is why people like her are a refreshing sight!


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