Brazilian Intagrammer Pedro Perestrello once fancied capturing ethereal experiences of India through his clicks, and he is making sure of living that dream every year with his wife and favourite travel companion, Renata Mozzini. He first did his dream trip to India in 2017, and has been coming back for more ever since. Here, he talks about his tryst with India, and his bucket list destinations. By Shikha Pushpan
Q. Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Brazil, and have been travelling as a model and photographer since 2005. I have visited over 40 countries in 15 years. While photography and music are passions for me, art is my life.
Q. Who’s your favourite travel partner?
That would be my wife, Renata. She makes my trips so special with always being positive, and having a good vibe at all times. She loves nature and music, and is a rare gem that I was blessed enough to find.
Q. What prompted you to travel to India?
The beauty of India is known worldwide. It’s an amazing sub-continent with each region so distinct. I had seen India in magazines and movies so much that deciding to come here didn’t need any convincing, and choosing what cities to visit was our only challenge.
Q. What was your first impression when you arrived in India? Where all have you travelled here?
The very first thing that I noticed was the kindness of people, and the fact that beauty and chaos run side by side. The constant car honking was another thing that took me by surprise. I have been to India thrice, and have visited Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Varanasi, Khajuraho, Rishikesh, Amritsar, and McLeod Ganj.
Q. Your favourite destination in India?
Varanasi scores hands down. I could actually breathe in the spirituality and devotion, and feel the power of Ganga Ma. I was there on Maha Shivaratri, and will cherish the experience forever.
Q. An experience that stands out from your holiday in India?
It has to be the first time I saw the Taj Mahal! I had seen it all my life in movies and books, but when you step through the gate and have a look at it for the first time, it just takes your breath away. I believe, love is the key to a better world, and the Taj Mahal is really the greatest symbol of the power of love.
Q. Share a unique aspect of travelling around India, which you did not find anywhere else.
Well, India is a unique country. But what truly makes it different is that I felt supported, safe, loved, and the people made me feel at home—I was treated not as a tourist, but like their own.
Q. A word of advice to international travellers visiting India for the first time?
Come to India with an open heart, and your life will change for ever.
Q. How do you suggest international travellers should plan their visit to India?
My advice to the international tourists is to book through an agency, and hire a certified guide to have a really immersive and informative experience. I didn’t want to miss out on any information, so travelling with a guide was a must. I learned a lot about the Indian culture, Hinduism, and karma from him, and he became a friend for life.
Q. How has the response been to your Instagram posts from India?
It was amazing! My dream of touring India was shared by all of my Insta fam. I had promised myself to capture India’s beauty with my lens and show it to the world. After the 2017 tour, 10 people joined us for the second trip in 2018, and 20 people were added to the convoy this year. I feel blessed to be here every year, and I want to inspire more people to visit this spellbinding country.
Q. Do you plan to return? What’s next on your list?
Of course. Once you get to enjoy the surreal experiences that this country has to offer, you are bound to come back time and again. For next year, I have added Kerala, Goa, Kolkata and Mumbai to my itinerary.
Q. Top five travel essentials in India?
Camera, notepad, comfy clothes, tripod, and my copy of Discover India!