Photo above: The sun rises over the Bay of Bengal at Puri. Orissa, India ©Tom Pietrasik 2009

Between a seven day stint confined to a hospital bed with malaria (see post below) and an assignment for a British newspaper magazine, I was lucky enough last week to escape to the east Indian town of Puri in Orissa for a particularly pleasant beach-side holiday. I did very little but relax, breathe in the ocean air and stroll along the shore with my camera. It was, as they say, just what the doctor ordered.

The south-facing coastline at Puri looks out towards the Bay of Bengal, providing spectacular views across the ocean at both dawn and dusk. Above is the scene that greeted me after I emerged from my hotel room one morning at 5.30am.

Of course the crows were there before me, unwittingly contributing to the drama of the morning sky.

Orissa, India
©Tom Pietrasik 2009

Puri attracts middle class tourists from across India and like all seaside resorts, offers holiday-goers temporary release from their routine responsibilities. On spotting me with my camera one afternoon, this unlikely gathering of bathers insisted I take their portrait. They weren’t interested in viewing the pictures I took and I can only imagine that the simple process of being photographed provided them confirmation that this was indeed a special day. As soon as their portrait was taken they turned to face the ocean and rushed straight back in.

The ferris wheel is one of the many evening beach attractions at Juhu.
Mumbai, India ©Tom Pietrasik 2002

Beaches in India are wonderful places for photographs and the scenes at Puri reminded me of a feature I photographed in black & white in 2002 on the community that congregates every evening at Mumbai’s Juhu beach. This is a photograph from that story.