The vast nation of India is fast embracing photography as an art form with photograph exhibitions becoming more commonplace. This time, the state of Goa – currently known worldwide for its scenic beaches and chill vibe, will be holding its first ever photography exhibit in Ucassaim, Bardez Goa, which will showcase more than 75 creative photographers from all over India and beyond. “The state has hosted film fests, literary fests and it’s time it hosted a truly international photography festival. Goa has not been exploited enough photographically. The time is right for an international photography festival, particularly as photography is getting more democratized.” says Shantanu Sheorey, founder of the GOA International Photo Festival.

©  Samar Jodha

A portrait of one of the members of the diminishing Buddhist tribe of Tai Phake in Phaneng, Assam © Samar Jodha

For a nation teeming with interesting imagery, India has become a popular destination not only of travelers but of photography enthusiasts as well. It has since came a long way since India hosted the nation’s first ever photography festival in New Delhi four years ago. The many intertwining rich history of various regions and unique traditions along with the colorful, vibrant yet overflowing street scenes in India make any photographer salivate in delight.

©  Manoj Jadhav

© Manoj Jadhav

The photographs submitted for the Goa Photography Festival represent India to its truest core, the dizzying and wide array of subjects give justice to what India is all about: Diverse. From the far corners of the subcontinent ancient tribe’s dwelling places, to religious and cultural practices, as well as the daily activities of ordinary people creates these wonderful collection of images.

©

© Aparna Jayakumar

One of the early highlights includes shots of the 900-year-old festivity honoring Jagannath or the “Lord of the Universe”, in which almost a million Hindu devotees roamed the streets of the town of Puri in Eastern India, pulling giant 16-wheeled chariots. The immense picture of this tradition became the origin of the English word “Juggernaut” based on the sheer visual power of the chariot carrying ‘Jagannath’.

©  Mahesh Shantaram

Photographer captures local Indian politicians campaigning on mobile phones © Mahesh Shantaram

All over India, one would never ran out of mystifying scenes to capture. Every photographer I’ve known who been to India, including myself would remind anyone to have their eyes ready and finger holding the shutter button because anytime and anywhere there is a picture-worthy moment about to transpire.

© Prateek Dubey

© Prateek Dubey

In light of the current pull of modernity even in the country of India, where some traditions are slowly disappearing, the role of photographers documenting it will surely help India’s bursting photography scene “to discover, inspire and develop the next generation of photographers and creative thinkers.”

©  Shantanu Sheorey

Just one of the images documenting the Rath Yatra Chariot Festival at Puri, Orissa © Shantanu Sheorey

And those new breed of photographers will have their works displayed at the Goa Photography Festival from February 10 to 21, 2015.