Hindustan Zindabad: a book and a journey through India

Photographer Craig Nunn  travelled for seven weeks through India without a goal; the result of his wandering is his terrific book Hindustan Zindabad published few months ago, a book we really appreciated. For this reason, we decided to ask Craig some questions, just to  know a little bit more about this project.

M: How did you come up with the idea for this project?

CNHindustan Zindabad is the upshot of a summer spent traveling in India.  Whilst there I was buying up a lot of expired 35mm colour slide film that had spent most of its life in sun-roasted shop windows.  Serendipitously, once the films were cross-processed, the vivid and vibrant colours of the photographs in some way reflected the technicolor of India.

M: How long did you stay in India? Did you follow a particular itinerary? Can you describe it?

CN: We arrived in India with a return ticket, no itinerary, and seven weeks to fill.  We spent our first few days in Mumbai, shooting a Bollywood film amongst other things.  Once we got to grips with the Indian Railways ticket-purchasing system, we headed North to Rajasthan and the Punjab, where we spent time camel-trekking in the desert, celebrating Independence Day on the Indo-Pakistani border, and sleeping at Sikhism’s most sacred site, the Golden Temple in Amritsar.  From there, we travelled cross-country to see the Taj Mahal in Agra, and the burning ghats of Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges.  We then spent a few days amongst the tea plantations in and around Darjeeling, then headed to Kolkata to sample the delicious Bengali food before taking a flight to spend our last week riding up and down Goa’s beaches on motorcycles.

M: Is there any advice you’d give to somebody traveling to India?

CN: I often get asked travel advice, and the only advice I ever give is this: Go.  Absolutely go.  Create your own itinerary and memories.  Don’t retrace someone else’s footsteps.  Go and find out what is there.

M: Is there any place in India which disappointed you? Why?

CN: Nowhere in India disappointed me, because I didn’t go with expectations.  I was constantly amazed by what I saw.

M: Why did you decide to publish your book independently?

CN: Because I have no idea how to go about finding a publisher to publish a book of my photography!  Websites like blurb.com have really democratized publishing for photographers like myself,  and it gives us complete editorial control, so for me it was a no-brainer

M: Where do you live?

CN: I currently live in Ely, which is the second smallest city in England.

M: Recommend us places to visit in your city/town?

CN: For architecture enthusiasts, the magnificant 11th Century cathedral is a must-see. Oliver Cromwell’s house is worth a visit, too.  My two favourite places are Toppings & Company, a true book-lovers’ bookshop which offers free tea and coffee to customers, and the award-winning Peacocks Tearoom, which serves teas from every continent except Antarctica!

You can purchase Craig Nunn’s book Hindustan Zindabad on blurb.com.