Jaipur Must Do: Get Shot by Tikam Chand

Jaipur – a photography enthusiast’s dream. Home to the forever picturesque Hawa Mahal, Amber Fort and the only 1860 Carl Zeiss camera left in the world. Wait, what?

Lo behold, Tikam Chand and his ‘magic box’, Jaipuri institutions if we’ve ever seen one. Seated down the block from the salmon-coloured, honeycombed façade of the Hawa Mahal, Tikam Chand’s 150+ year old camera has been passed down through three generations of the Chand family. The legacy began with his grandpa, who was the Maharaja of Jaipur’s official Royal Photographer back in the 1800s. Tikam Chand himself took over from his father’s seemingly-genetically-predisposed-to-photography business back in 1977. #Throwback.

Tikam Chand does photography old school – analogue in a digital world. The pinhole camera’s black and white photographs take only minutes to process, but the result looks like it has stood the test of time – a piece of history, a keepsake from eras past. Gloriously vintage, unabashedly aesthetic.

I first heard about Tikam Chand from Sheena, who I had the pleasure of meeting in Jaipur in 2015. Blame it on bad luck or soaring temperatures, Tikam Chand wasn’t at his usual spot the fateful day I was. Fast forward to July 2017 – I was in the Pink City just for a day and at the top of my To Do list was getting snapped by the man himself. And oh, I did.

My slightly herpy-derp (my fault, obviously) black and white portrait is a treasure. There’s something special about holding a picture in your hand, especially as the almost ritualistic act of printing photographs is rapidly declining in an increasingly digital world. In a day and age where smartphones rule and Kodak has ceased to be the ubiquitous household name it once was, I strongly suggest getting shot by Mr. Tikam Chand.

Pro Tip: You can find Tikam Chand on the footpath between the Hawa Mahal and equally iconic Pandit Kulfi. Treat yourself to a creamy kulfi after you’ve been photographed (my personal favourite is malai, but there’s also fun flavours like chocolate and paan) for a 10/10 Jaipuri day out.

More pictures of picture-taking below. Enjoy!

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