A self-taught photographer based in Kyrenia, Cyprus, Altug Galip was introduced to Instagram by a friend in 2011. Since then, Galip has been filling his feed with riveting photos from around the world—think Cappadocia, Greece, Bali, Slovenia, India and more. He makes his followers (over a million of them) drool with his artistic and surreal shots and hopes to never stop. We spoke to him about his travel adventures in India and why the country became his muse. By Adila Matra
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Altug Galip. I was born in London but have roots in Cyprus. Being a travel photographer and Instagram Influencer, travelling is an integral part of my life. And I have four citizenships, which facilitate my travels.
Who is your favourite travel partner?
That would be my brother, Alp, who is good at videography and helps me produce videos for our YouTube channel and other platforms. Also, I love travelling with my blogger friends.
What prompted you to travel to India?
India has a large scope for photography, with its colourful people and different landscapes. I travelled across India with my model friend, Pranali Wadaskar, who invited me and showed me around the magical state of Rajasthan. Other than Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, and Udaipur in Rajasthan, I also visited Delhi and Agra.
Which is your favourite Indian destination?
I loved the whole Rajasthan experience, which is an ocean of opportunities for a photographer, but the desert stay in a luxury tent in Jaisalmer was the highlight of the trip.
One experience that stands out from your holiday in India?
Sunrise at Taj Mahal! I was really lucky because we got special permission to shoot there one misty morning while the monument was besmeared in fog.
What is one unique aspect about travelling in India that you did not see elsewhere?
The wide variety of colours! Everywhere, everything is so colourful in India, be it its people, the buildings, the terrains, or even the cuisines.
A word of advice to international travellers visiting India for the first time.
India is a land of diversity, and that reflects in its food. Taste it all, but do remember that the spices may or may not suit your stomach. I’d advise to keep a travel medical kit handy.
How do you suggest international travellers plan their visit to India?
One can book a holiday package that will have everything in place already, right from the food to transport. However, that will put you on a strict schedule. In case you want to be more free, you can opt to travel solo, and explore at your own pace as India is a traveller-friendly country. Research destinations, best time to visit them, places to avoid at nights, the dos and the don’ts, etc. However, planning it out with the help of an Indian friend still tops the list. People in India are friendly, helpful, and believe in the tagline, ‘Atithi devo bhava’, which means one must treat guests who come to their country as nothing less than God!
How has the response been to your Instagram posts from India?
My sunset post in Jodhpur got thousands of reposts, and some people wanted to buy it. The Taj Mahal photos also got many awards in various international photo contests.
Do you plan to return to India? What’s next on your list?
I am going to visit India again next February with some of my influencer friends, and this time, I intend to guide them. Next destinations on my list are Goa, Kerala, and Kolkata.
Top five travel essentials while moving around in India.
My photography equipment, a pair of sunglasses, some hard cash, a list of authentic restaurants, and a crazy rickshaw driver who’s ready to take me anywhere!