2 mins

10 breathtaking travel photographs taken by an NHS doctor

Wanderlust reader Prabir Mitra balances his hectic schedule as an NHS doctor with his passion for travel photography. Here, he shares 10 of his favourite captures, and what they mean to him...

Varanasi, India (Prabir Mitra)

It's an unprecedented time of uncertainty. The whole world is unwell, and we are losing so many lives across the globe. I, as an NHS doctor, am proud to be fighting the coronavirus pandemic from the frontline and I believe that we will be able to overcome this crisis.

People are leading a completely different lifestyle now, as instructed by the world's governments and higher authorities. Being an avid traveller and photographer, I too have embraced this change, but I feel rejuvenated as I travel down memory lane, remembering some of the most enjoyable times of my life.

Here are just a few of my favourite travel photographs...

Kolkata, India

Durga Puja, Kolkata, India (Prabir Mitra)

Durga Puja, Kolkata, India (Prabir Mitra)

Durga Puja, the Hindu festival celebrating the goddess Durga, is an annual extravaganza of thousands of Bengalis. It's best celebrated in Kolkata, India.

It has to be experienced in real life. No written accounts nor photographs can possibly do justice to the level of frenzy that goes on during the festival.

Though it is meant to be a religious festival at its core, in reality it actually is a celebration of colours, food, music, and incredible volumes of works-of-art, that are put up in temporary pandals.

A street in Kolkata, India (Prabir Mitra)

A street in Kolkata, India (Prabir Mitra)

Kolkata's street scenes never cease to amuse me. It is a city that I know inside and out, yet every time I go out with my camera, I find something new to shoot.

This photograph was taken at one of the busiest localities in south Kolkata. I was fascinated to observe the contrast between the chess players and the speeding buses that were zooming past these people, who remained unperturbed.

I saw a variety of board games in the middle of the pavement, which was dividing two lanes of extremely busy traffic. Random people were coming in and started playing, sometimes without even talking between themselves!

Varanasi, India

Ganga Aarti in Varanasi, India (Prabir Mitra)

Ganga Aarti in Varanasi, India (Prabir Mitra)

Varanasi is a place where myths are entwined with daily lives of the vast number of residents and tourists who come from all across the globe.

The ghats (or banks) of the Ganges River (also called Ganga) serve as a lifeline to innumerable people and is also a photographer’s paradise. The Ganga is considered as a goddess, and every evening priests offer aarti – a ritual which is done as a part of worshipping her.

The Himalayas

A chorten in Himachal Pradesh, India (Prabir Mitra)

A chorten in Himachal Pradesh, India (Prabir Mitra)

The very name Kunzum Pass has a great significance in my life.

About three decades back, during our first trek to the exquisite Chandra Taal (the Moon Lake), I developed acute mountain sickness while crossing the 4,590m-tall Kunzum Pass and was saved by my wife.

After recovering, I wanted to trek along the route again to ensure I could do it. During our second trip, we were more cautious and our guide circumambulated all the prayer stupas or chortens along our route.

One such chorten caught my attention - the magical light and out of this world location made it something really special.

The trek to Everest Base Camp, Tibet (Prabir Mitra)

The trek to Everest Base Camp, Tibet (Prabir Mitra)

For a long time, I wanted to trek with my wife up to the Everest Base Camp North Face in Tibet.

I clearly remember the arduous path leading to the destination. At the beginning of the trek, I looked back at the point beyond which wheels would not dare.

It was at that point I saw three trekkers slowly making their way up the mountains – I felt so humbled by nature at that time, the human perspective amidst the vastness of nature made me thoughtful.

Altai Mountains, Mongolia

An eagle huntress in Mongolia (Prabir Mitra)

An eagle huntress in Mongolia (Prabir Mitra)

I wanted to witness the Mongolian Kazakh eagle hunters – a small community who live in the remote Altai Mountains of Mongolia.

In a remote village named Jalan Aash our host, the veteran eagle hunter, took us to meet his friend Asker, who is a proud father of Aigirm, a 12-year-old girl, who is a budding eagle huntress.

She has been training under the auspices of Dalai Khan, and hopes to keep this tradition alive.

Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia, Turkey (Prabir Mitra)

Cappadocia, Turkey (Prabir Mitra)

Cappadocia in Central Turkey is famous for its unique landscape.

Its underground cities, cave houses and hotels, and of course for its famous balloon rides - which are perhaps the best way to experience the varied landscape.

A patch of cultivated field, as seen from a hot air balloon is not typical of Cappadocia, but it did offer a fantastic photographic frame.

- Prabir Mitra, NHS doctor and travel photographer

The Arctic Circle

A Sami reindeer herder in the Arctic Circle, Norway (Prabir Mitra)

A Sami reindeer herder in the Arctic Circle, Norway (Prabir Mitra)

69°26’55N 25°21’30E: deep inside the Arctic Circle, near the border of Finland. 

After spending several hours on a snowmobile and then on a reindeer pulled sledge, we found ourselves far off from civilisation, within the heartland of the Sami reindeer herders.

It was a relatively mild day of -19°C in the morning when we started, but the weather changed in no time and suddenly, we were in the middle of a blizzard. It was almost a test of our endurance. I was worrying about my children and my wife, as well as about my camera.

Despite the protective gears, I struggled to keep my fingers mobile enough to manoeuvre my camera for long, as I was bumping up and down on my sledge.

Norfolk, UK

Snettisham Knots, Norfolk, UK (Prabir Mitra)

Snettisham Knots, Norfolk, UK (Prabir Mitra)

It is widely believed that travel photography can start at your doorstep. I knew that the RSPB Snettisham Nature Reserve draws birdwatchers and photographers from across the country.

I, being only a few miles away from Snettisham, did not want to miss the rare life experience of photographing the 'Snettisham Knots' – thousands of migratory birds that come to create magic in the wide expanses of the northern Norfolk coast.

Berlin, Germany

Facing WWII in Berlin, Germany (Prabir Mitra)

Facing WWII in Berlin, Germany (Prabir Mitra)

Every time I visit Berlin, I find time to visit places in the city which remind one about the dreaded WWII.

During one of my visits, I was awestruck by a series of life-size paintings which were on display near the historic Brandenburg Gate. I could almost see my expression reflected in the faces of the visitors at that time.

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