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A Misty Morning at the Yamuna Ghats

Early on in the winter season, Delhi becomes a “tourist” destination of a different sort. Hundreds of migratory birds, especially seagulls, stopover in the city, catching a breather before flying onwards to their destination.

This annual phenomenon, best witnessed on the banks of the river Yamuna, has become a hotbed of activity for photography enthusiasts. The ghats serve as religious spots throughout the year, but for these few weeks, all attention gets diverted towards the magnificent flying visitors.

Misty Mornings at the Yamuna Ghaat

An idyllic spot for photography - Yamuna Ghats

The best time to reach the ghats is just before sunrise. Photographers ranging from novices to professionals head on out at this idyllic spot behind Raj Ghat in New Delhi to witness the birds fly about with the rising sun forming the perfect backdrop. A chance to capture some stunning silhouettes as well as the orange coloured skies clicks from camera shutters cut through the tranquillity of the morning.

The Lone Boatman - Yamuna

The seagulls are hungry and yet they remain inaudible. Knowing not to break the sanctity of the environment without reason. As the sun starts to rise, locals begin to take paying customers (Rs 50 per person) out into the middle of the river. Their boats filled with bags of bread and grains to attract the birds.

Every time this happens, a five-minute drama ensues where countless birds swoop down to pick up the food and fly away, encircling the boat until the packets are empty. A few minutes later, another boat leaves, and once again the screeching sounds of the seagulls fill the air.

Feeding the birds

Breakfast rush at the Yamuna Ghats

The Migratory Seagulls at Yamuna Ghat in New Delhi

Unfortunately, the city’s continued crusade against pollution is evident alongside the innate beauty that is on show here. A couple of crows catch a few plastic bags floating down the river. Cunning, why waste time flying when there is free transportation available. Garbage of all sorts is spread out in every direction – right under the signs that advertise the cleaning of Yamuna. Bags of plastic collected by the moored boats, waiting patiently to restart their journey down the river once the boat moves. A peculiar smell overwhelms the surroundings, a combination of the refreshing morning mist and the air pollution that is slowly choking the city.

In defence at the Yamuna Ghats

The Hitchhikers - Crows take a ride on plastic bags on the Yamuna

A Religious Spot - Yamuna

Who can we blame but ourselves? Where do we start and how will it end? It seems philosophy is slowly turning into reality right in front of our eyes and we don’t know what to do anymore.

Hooked - Yamuna Ghaat

Everyday Life at the Yamuna Ghaats of New Delhi

Colour All Around - The Houses along the the river bank

But there is a sense of natural brilliance amongst all this. Something, we city dwellers aren’t privy too on a daily basis. So, make the most of this special event – until the birds stop coming – and head on out to the Yamuna Ghats. Take a boat ride and help the locals, and come back with snapshots that will linger on in your mind for years to come. And hey, they’re sure to get you some likes on Instagram too.


  • arv!
    Posted 28 December, 18 at 4:15 PM

    I have something similar here in Jaipur at Mansagar lake which has Jal Mahal in its center. People wanting to earn good karma drop bread, biscuit, and what not in the name of earning good karma and what do they leave behind? plastic everywhere and polluted water. BTW, those birds and fishes don’t need food from humans; the nature has provided enough.

    Excellent pictures, Raghav

    • Post Author
      Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 28 December, 18 at 6:17 PM

      I agree, but I think the birds here have become accustomed to being fed. You are, however, correct because majority of this is done for the benefit of the photographers or else as part of some ritual.

      • arv!
        Posted 29 December, 18 at 7:55 PM


  • Carrie Ann Karstunen
    Posted 9 February, 19 at 3:51 AM

    So sad to hear about the pollution and trash littering this area – hopefully the city’s efforts to clean it up can make a positive impact. Your photos are gorgeous, though! I’m not sure if I would enjoy being swarmed by so many seagulls, but I bet it’s quite a sight when there are so many of them gathering around the boats.

    • Post Author
      Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 9 February, 19 at 10:21 AM

      The seaguls go about thier business without bugging the humans. If anything, it’s the other way around.

  • Adele
    Posted 9 February, 19 at 11:55 AM

    Those are amazing photos. Nature is simply wondrous. I often wonder , why the most beautiful places have to be so polluted. I havent been to India but definitely worth to check it out .

  • Emmanuel Damian
    Posted 9 February, 19 at 8:43 PM

    It’s so sad to see that it’s polluted. I think Yamuna deserves something better. We have to do our simple act of being responsible with our own trash. A small act can make a big impact. Do you agree?

  • Anda
    Posted 9 February, 19 at 11:20 PM

    Ah, your pictures of the migratory birds stopping over Delhi are National Geographic level! Very atmospheric. India is indeed a photographer’s dream and I’m hoping to make it there someday. Too bad there is so much pollution there.

  • Jane Dempster-Smith
    Posted 10 February, 19 at 3:03 AM

    What amazing photos! They really depict the morning and the seagulls. It is such a shame that beautiful areas are polluted and it is not only in India these days. Thanks for sharing the experience.

  • Daniel
    Posted 10 February, 19 at 3:27 AM

    Your pictures are absolutely stunning! I absolutely love this place. I lived in Delhi for a year and I came to take a walk near the Yamuna river many times to find peace. I also took a lot of amazing pictures from the surrounding. Thank you for this post, it brought back so many nice memories.

  • shreyasaha1987
    Posted 10 February, 19 at 5:23 AM

    It’s so unfortunate to see such naturally blessed place like Yamuna Ghat is polluted! Your pictures are lit. I hope the people living there could be little more responsible to take care of the trash.

  • Soumya Gayatri
    Posted 10 February, 19 at 7:56 AM

    These are such beautiful photographs. I was glued to them for quite sometime until I came to the part on pollution. What a pretty sight it would have been without those unwanted objects in the water or the sky! It is high time we took some care of our environment so that these birds have a better place to live in and us too. Have pinned your post to spread the word.

  • Medha Verma
    Posted 12 February, 19 at 1:18 PM

    I admire how you’ve managed to bring out the beauty of one of the dirtiest and most polluted cities in the world (no offense of course, I am from Delhi myself so I know it in and out and have lived there for the better part of my life). You’ve actually managed to capture the essence in a way that very few photographers can and it’s brilliant. I also appreciate that you speak openly about the water pollution, the plastic waste in the river and the city’s fight against the unhealthy resources.


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