not allowed

Photographers not welcome – 4 places in Delhi where a DSLR is not allowed

Indians were quick to accept one person dancing and the other filming with a smartphone. First it was for TikTok and now for Reels. But my 7 years of street photography in Delhi, a person with a DSLR won’t be left alone. People walk up to me and ask, are you here on behalf of the city authorities. A foreigner with DSLR will be left alone to do his or her clicking.

People with 4k front camera selfie recording will be left alone, but if you have a DSLR, you will surely be stopped at these places in Delhi.

National Bal Bhawan

not allowed

National Bal Bhavan headquartered in Delhi was founded in 1956 by the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. It aims to encourage creative pursuits among children. There are many interesting events happening at this place. Plus the place itself has many things created to entertain the children, like a toy train or the aquarium. Ideal photographers delight.

But somewhere in the byelaws it is written that photography with an SLR is not allowed. I first visited the place in 2015 and was stopped at the gate. Security has specific instructions not to allow professional equipment. There is no specific reason or process to take permission. I was send to the administrative block to write an application on blank paper. Then someone accepted the application and told me that someone will approve it after 7 days. I had to convince myself that this place is home to super secretive research which can be accessed with SLR cameras. So after an hour of roaming around, I left.

Location of National Bal Bhawan

Cyber Hub

Cyber Hub located at Gurugram has consistently refused me entry with a DSLR. My guess is again that there is some sensitive installations here which if photographed with a DSLR will lead to some compromise to international security. So with an agreement in place with the United Nations Security Council, this place does not allow photography by DSLR cameras.

The only exceptions are if you have to do professional photography for a shop or restaurant within premises and of course smart phones photography is most welcome.

I clicked a series of three images using Canon 600D and stitched them with Hugin. Within minutes the security was onto me and asked me to stop clicking.

Aerocity

With minimalist yet spectacular hotels in a city block like structure with perfect landscaping, who won’t resist a photoshoot here. I wanted to try out my hand at building photography at night. So Christmas eve in the bitter cold of Delhi winter I went on excited.

Within half an hour, I had someone from security asking me not to click pics because this place falls under the airport high security zone. I asked him if it is ok to click with a smartphone, he told me to go ahead.

Dilli Haat – Janakpuri

DSLR photography is not allowed at Dilli Haat Janakpuri. You will be stopped at the gate by the security and not allowed in. The admin office says it plain and simple, Govt orders.

2021 is nearing close and we have mobile phone cameras which do 8k recording. Film-makers using stabilization rigs and iPhones create commercial movies. So why this restriction and targeting of DSLR users. Funnily enough, if you have a team or crew with you, no one will even bother to ask. But if you are alone, people will stare. I had an unpleasant experience of a devotee yelling at me while I was clicking temple architecture despite me taking permission from the authorities. Hopefully a day will come by.

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