Untravel pic of the week: Colours of India

Bright multi-coloured water pots lined up to be filled at the street tap. These bright plastic jugs are ubiquitous in Chennai and Tamil Nadu.


[Editor’s Note] Each week, we’ll be selecting a photo that brings conscious attention towards the need to untravel i.e. travel responsibly and sustainably with respect to the natural and artificial resources in hand, indigenous cultures and communities in their natural habitat and to look at the world with a set of curious eyes and inquisitive mind. 

Water pots lined up for filling (Pic: McKay Savage)

Photographer’s description:

“Bright multi-coloured water pots lined up to be filled at the street tap. These bright plastic jugs are ubiquitous in Chennai and Tamil Nadu. With water outages, shortages and availability, you’ll see them in every home, village, by the rainbow-hued hundred in shops, and even in precarious bundles balanced on the bikes of travelling wallah pot-sale vendors.

Many, if not most, homes in smaller towns and villages in Tamil Nadu don’t have indoor plumbing or personal taps. Women are responsible for fetching and filling water for the family. As water is often not available through the lines all day, especially in the dry season, pots will be lined up waiting to be filled and carried home, on their head, for cooking and washing.

And to mention one more interesting juxtaposition that is India, this scene, right out of the most rural village (except for the paved street) was only 2 blocks from the tourist district of Mamallapuram.”

Editor’s notes:

While it’s nothing but natural to be wide eyed as a tourist and find all things out of your ordinary to be fascinating, it takes a holistically responsible traveller to put two and two. This picture may not just so easily be categorized to be reminiscent of rural and poverty tourism, with its debatable implications on our economy and society. The traveller understands the dearth of infrastructure at one given place but marvels at the irony of a flourishing tourist spot called Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. This photograph makes a reader think how can tourism benefit social welfare of locals and balance equity in the same state.

Image Source: Flickr CC Attribution License


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