By Sana Panjwani
“In India, even exceptions run into millions,” said Nirad Chaudry.
What started as a simple photo-sharing medium has quickly become a platform associated with breaking stereotypes and presenting contrasting views on certain matters to a global audience.
Home to at least 300 million active users per month, Instagram does hold a few thousand gems scattered between its millions of accounts that have gone beyond the traditional trivial photo-sharing in order to shine a more truthful light on their respective countries.
Take India, for example.
To the average mass-media consuming foreigner, India in their heads is probably just a stereotype-ridden place full of snake charmers and IT professionals, who eat spicy food, ride an elephant every so often and catch a Bollywood flick every day of the week.
And why wouldn’t they think that, considering the number of times these stereotypes have been reinforced in the media.
Ranking 5th in the list of countries that visit Instagram the most, according to Alexa.com, India is filled with thousands of beautiful accounts who strive to give the rest of the world a real slice of life in one of the world’s most multifaceted countries, and showcase the country’s remarkably rich culture, heritage and billions of stories that deserve to be heard, one striking photo at a time.
Here are 9 stunning Indian Instagram accounts that you need to follow immediately:
1. HeadTilt – @headtilt
Launched in May 2012, HeadTilt is a fascinating blog and a must-follow on Instagram for anyone interested in exploring India beyond the travel guides, Bollywood movies and albeit delicious Indian grub.
Presenting a fine mixture of fashion, art, culture, style and trends. this account reviews the latest designer trends within the subcontinent, aims to push the boundaries of creative expression using the wonderful world of online platforms and ‘make your head ’tilt’ with amusement with every surprise-filled post.’
2. Streets of India – @streets.of.india
Having amassed over 50k followers, Streets of India is a fascinating curated account featuring gorgeous images of India from all walks of life.
The aim is simple: showcase the true beauty of India and present it to a global audience.
Keep an eye out for one of their photowalks – a unique opportunity for photographers of all experience levels to come together and capture some of the most beautiful and unforgettable moments in the streets of India while helping “Instagrammers engage, discover new places and hone their talent.”
3. Prateek – @purplekarma
Co-founder of Delhi Instagrammers Guild – an Instagram club featuring photowalks, contests and instameets, all providing a glimpse into India and her people – Prateek is a techie turned marketer turned photographer.
His feed features well-shot images, stop-motion and timelapse videos of subjects ranging from stunning scenery to raw human emotions. If you’re vying for more of his work, check out his photoblog: Purple Karma.
4. India Pictures – @indiapictures
The feed name says it all, but these are no ordinary, fuzzy or poorly-lit images of India. Filled with beautifully-captured, curated shots of India, from its people to its scenery.
My personal favorite picture was taken in Rajasthan – best camel selfie ever!
5. Ruksad Muhammed – @smartruks
A talented pseudo-nature photographer, seamlessly blending nature and filters together to produce awe-inspiring images that make you want to grab your hiking boots and head out.
His incredible eye for detail adds another enjoyable element to his work, making his gorgeous feed the perfect addition featured on Buzzfeed’s list of the best Instagram images around the world.
6. Bombay Bhukkad – @bombaybhukkad and 7. Munchy Mumbai – @munchymumbai
What Instagram article is complete without the mention of a food blogger…or two?
Move over butter chicken and tandoori chicken, and take a gander at the lesser-known, but equally delicious, delicacies of India that often don’t make it on to mainstream media.
From kebab platters to pulao, you better keep a pen and paper nearby to jot down the ingredients you will probably need for your next 10 meals.
8. George Koruth – @fotobaba
Koruth calls himself a documentary and travel photographer, sharing the stories and colours of India, one image at a time.
His shots cover a wide array of subjects and tend to blend the background and subject focus seamlessly in order to draw focus on both facets.
9. Siddhartha Joshi – @siddharthajoshi
Think Humans of India: Instagram Version. With the tag #TellMeYourDreams2015, Joshi’s feed comprises of the stories, dreams and aspirations that the people hold dearly.
With over 11k followers and approximately 2k posts, this feed is a symbol of support and communication for everyone looking to be a part of something.