Shadipur Puppet Colony

On an early Sunday morning, I headed to Shadipur colony in Delhi along with a group of photography enthusiasts. The entrance to the colony, near Shadier Metro Station resembled many other colonies we have ventured to, only to quickly prove it was not.

Shadipur was half awake by the time we arrived; people cleaning up, tea being brewed and a crowd of kids welcomed us. There is essentially one main street and narrow corridors that turn into a rather large but compacted residencial area. As we walked further in, their daily lives revealed to us. Most doors were open giving us a sneak pick of their private lives; mainly, one-space houses with mattresses laying on the floor, pots, pans and buckets of different sizes. Images of Ganesh, Durga and other goods and goddesses were a common sight.

I could go on into the details but I let my pictures speak for themselves. Like many other places in India, despite their precarious way of living (no connection to sewage system or fresh water supply), I found a lively community of happy people that would welcome us with a smile and a non-stop request for: “Mam, picture!” from the youngsters.

A few of the puppet makers opened their doors to show us their hand made puppets: different characters from India in their regional outfits. Most of the puppets were sold as matching outfits couples, which I imagined were part of a larger ensamble.

Down the road, we ran into a happy story teller, and soon, a sort of signing and theatrical performance would follow us around despite some of us not being able to understand a word. Still, it was impossible not to smile at the contagious laughs of Shadipur residents. 

As the heat pressed in, I left with a sense of thankfulness/happiness/sadness all mixed in one and with a great desire to share Shadipur’s inner lives with all of you.

On an early Sunday morning, I headed to Shadipur colony in Delhi along with a group of photography enthusiasts. The entrance to the colony, near Shadier Metro Station resembled many other colonies we have ventured to, only to quickly prove it was not.

Shadipur was half awake by the time we arrived; people cleaning up, tea being brewed and a crowd of kids welcomed us. There is basically one main street and narrow corridors that deep into a rather large but compacted residencial area. As we walked further in, their daily lives revealed to us. Most doors were open giving us a sneak pick of their private lives; mainly, one-space houses with mattresses laying on the floor, pots, pans and buckets of different sizes. Images of Ganesh, Durga and other goods and goddesses were a common sight.

I could go on into the details but I let my pictures speak for themselves. Like many other places in India, despite their precarious way of living (no connection to sewage system or fresh water supply), I found a lively community of happy people that would welcome us with a smile and a non-stop request for: “Mam, picture!” from the youngsters.

A few of the puppet makers opened their doors to show us their hand made puppets: different characters from India in their regional outfits. Most of the puppets were sold as matching outfits couples, which I imagined were part of a larger ensamble.

Down the lines, we ran into a happy story teller, an soon, a sort of signing and theatrical performance would follow us around despite some of us not being able to understand a word. Still, it was impossible not to smile at  the contagious laughs of Shadipur residents. 

As the heat pressed in, I left with a sense of thankfulness-happiness-sadness all mixed in one and with a great desire to share Shadipur’s inner lives with all of you.

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