For long, travel and tourism were a men’s prerogative in India, as were a million other things. But over the last few years, Indian women have dared to travel more, inside and outside the country. As tourism and photography go hand in hand, a few women even made a career out of it. Some of these women have even managed to spread the message of environmental conservation too.
On National Tourism Day, MAKERS India applauds five women who embraced travel and photography, to spread awareness on a social cause: saving the planet.
Arati Kumar Rao
The Bengaluru-based 47-year-old left a promising corporate career to pursue her passion for photography decades ago, and is now one of the most prominent photographers in the world. Her work has been featured in Indian and global media, including The Hindu, The Guardian, and the BBC. Currently working as a National Geographic explorer, this environment photographer is documenting forced human migration.
A vocal crusader for environmental conservation, Arati won the first ever Anupam Mishra Medal by the World Wildlife Fund in 2017, among numerous other accolades. She was also part of Ted Talks (India) and multiple workshops at National Geographic, and now has 73,000 followers on Instagram.
With around 47,000 followers on Instagram, Neelima inspires people to travel to off-grid places with picturesque valleys and serene waters. In 2014, Neelima quit her job as an engineer to travel and write her blog ‘Travel with Neelima.’
The IIT-Madras graduate has since written and published her photographs on BBC, Al Jazeera, National Geographic, and Mint, among other publications.
Her extensive travel made her realise the disastrous effects of global warming, and she decided to spread more awareness on it. Neelima, now 35, regularly writes on her blog and Instagram account on climate change crisis, and is now co-writing and directing a documentary on the same.
A documentary photographer based out of Kolkata, Paromita’s work has been published in BBC and Al Jazeera, along with many national and international magazines and newspapers. Women's issues, gender identity, environmental concerns, and other socio-political topics are her favourites. She says in her blog, “My camera is my talisman which helps me tide over the undercurrent of ridicule for being ‘a woman working in a man's field.”
A lot of her work has been focused on rural Rajasthan and the holy city of Varanasi, now famous for being the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Along with publishing her photographs, she has also written for The Hindu and Tehelka.
An independent photographer, Deepthi focuses on gender issues, human rights, and climate change. Through different projects, Deepti has documented important issues, like the plight of farmers’ widows in Maharasthra and the life of a cyclone-hit Dhanushkodi, showing the adverse effects of climate change on this fragile piece of land and its people.
Deepti, 33, is now working on a project to document the contribution of Indian women in wildlife and conservation. The Mumbai-based B.Tech graduate also has a diploma in photo-journalism from Danish School of Media and Journalism, Denmark. Deepti's work has appeared in most top-rated media houses in the world, and she has also received numerous awards and grants for her work.
This 26-year-old describes herself as a part-time traveller and full-time dreamer. Originally from Kolkata, she is now based in Mumbai but travels to the most enthralling places to capture stories and sunsets. (Her Instagram bio reads thus: ‘Sunset lover. Over thinker. Storyteller.’) Shramona, who now has 106,000 followers on Instagram, reveals her person journey here: