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Photography In Indian Airports (&Bangladesh/Nepal)

Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:36 am


I'm going India later this month, and am hoping to be able to take some aviation photos when I'm there. I searched for the last thread about this ( which was back in 2008. Have there been any updates since then?

User PNQIAD posted these two very helpful links, but they both date back to 2004/5. Is there anything more current documents available?

If it makes a difference, I am travelling to CCU (Kolkata) and IXB (Bagdogra) airports only.

And whilst I'm here, does anyone know about taking photos in Bangladesh and Nepal?

Provided I get some photos, I'll be posting in the Trip Reports section soon.

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RE: Photography In Indian Airports (&Bangladesh/Nepal)

Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:26 am

I can remember getting a few photos on the ramp on KTM with my colleagues and having an armed security guard attempt to grab our cameras off us and shout all sorts of incoherent abuse!!! Id be careful! LOL!
My views are my own and do not reflect any other person or organisation.
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RE: Photography In Indian Airports (&Bangladesh/Nepal)

Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:44 am

gabrielchew, I have been to CCU several times & I assure you of two things;

1) Your documentation, no matter how legal, may not mean anything to the authorities there
2) There is little to spot at CCU. The only flights outside the region are LH (ends March 25) & EK which sends A332. Otherwise you will see a chorus of 737s & A320s from various Indian carriers. You may also see several ATRs. This is on the tarmac only which is not really viewable from any grounds that you can safely be on.

I strongly recommend not attempting to take photographs at CCU for these reasons. If you absolutely must take some photos go away from the airport, there aren't any great spotting locations at the airport anyway. Depending on the flight path you may have some luck around a mall called City Centre 2 with a telephoto lens. Again be careful, this time mall security may ask you to stop. Basically even though this is legal in India, the practice is neither understood nor appreciated by the authorities, especially in CCU.

Recently there was a report of a media photographer being harassed in BOM where the practice is more common;

If the above can happen in BOM, my suggestion is to keep your camera packed at all times in CCU.
One more thing, if questioned by the authorities at any point in CCU be sure to speak English regardless of what other languages you know, trust me. Sorry for the doomsaying but as a fellow enthusiast I would hate to see you meet with unnecessary hassle.

Kolkata is a historic city with many great sights, take pictures of them if you get a chance!
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RE: Photography In Indian Airports (&Bangladesh/Nepal)

Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:49 am

I have taken photographs at BOM every trip and have never had any issues. As far as I can tell - the circulars I had mentioned are still current. The site ( lists all current circulars and specifically mentions the ones that have been superseded.

The articles pnd100 mentioned mostly refer to photography on the outside and the cops can be under-informed. However, you should not have any trouble on airport grounds.
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RE: Photography In Indian Airports (&Bangladesh/Nepal)

Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:33 am

DO NOT...I repeat DO NOT risk it. I am from India' and I am very much aware of the consequences If caught. Documents mean nothing to over zealous small time cops, but spending a few nights in filthy lock-ups could mean a lot to you. There were three spotters whose hotel room was raided and were arrested and charged as terrorists planning to attack an airport. This made international news and the involved governments had hard work ahead of them. This was because a room service waiter saw their uhf scanners, cameras,tripods etc. and reported them to the cops. A small inconspicuous P&S used discreetly could be the way out if you are desperate'

All the best!
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RE: Photography In Indian Airports (&Bangladesh/Nepal)

Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:41 am

Having been to Bagdogra I can say its is a no no, remember its also an Indian AF base.

I did a fully approved shoot with the Mig's that are based there and that was difficult enough, if you don't have permission from the very highest authorities then don't get your camera out.
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RE: Photography In Indian Airports (&Bangladesh/Nepal)

Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:20 am

Thanks everyone for the advice - i'll just take a few crafty shorts with my mobile then! Upcoming flights: AMS-RIX-BUD-VDA,ETH-TLV-FCO-LHR,STN-TXL-LCY,LTN-CPH-LTN,LGW-SZG,MUC-LHR

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