On May 25, 2010, the government of Argentina kicked off a yearlong celebration of the 200th anniversary of the day when the Argentinean nation was born. In Buenos Aires, millions of people took part in street festivities and the government organised rock concerts and military parades to mark the event. Far away in Mumbai, you can get a glimpse into the diversity of the eighth largest country in the world by visitingBella Argentina, a photo exhibition that opens today at the NCPA.
The images have been shot by Aneesh Bhasin, a 25-year- old photographer and writer, who runs a consultancy company called Travel Pixels, along with his partner Subhash Motwani. Bhasin and Motwani travelled to Argentina for 15 days. The images that resulted from their travels are a good indication of the stark landscapes that you will encounter in this South American country.
For instance, you’ll see a photo of the Perito Moreno glacier, one of the country’s major tourist attractions in the frigid, snow-covered province of Santa Cruz in southern Argentina. But you’ll also find a photo of a cactus plant standing against the backdrop of the rugged Andes Mountains.
“The terrain varied from deserts to glaciers to waterfalls,” explains Bhasin. “I would have liked another 15 days to explore the country.”
When he was not exploring glaciers or deserts, Bhasin found the time to shoot a perfectly choreographed tango performance and also sample the local meat. “I am a big foodie and I can tell you that nothing compares to the meat you get in Patagonia,” he says.
Bhasin hopes that the images will spike the curiosity of Indian travellers looking for unconventional experiences. “I had no idea of the diversity of the country before I started doing some research,” he says. “While it is still quite expensive to travel to Argentina, I think a lot of people will combine it with Brazil in time for the 2012 soccer World Cup.”
What about the reputation that South America has gained — fairly or unfairly — of being dangerous for travellers? “Argentina is quite safe,” clarifies Bhasin, adding that it was in Brazil that he had to be extra cautious. “The people were very warm and friendly, and some of the places we stayed at were straight out of a fairy tale.”
Bella Argentina opens today at the Piramal Gallery, NCPA and continues till Dec 2.