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Grays Best

The Faces of India Print E-mail

A photographic essay.
by R. Valentine Atkinson
From the May/June 2011 Issue

Does anywhere on earth so linger in the memory? Draw so many questing spirits? Just say it: India.

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The place, the people, the sheer incalculable immensity of it all. Tigers coughing in the jungle? The Man-Eaters of Kuoman? No worry. String up that 7-weight and wade into the Ramganga for mahseer. Fancy an elephant ride afterwards? A shower? No problem.
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High in the Himalayas, on the Assi Ganga: brown trout planted by the British Raj. Focus on the stream, and you could be fishing the evening rise back in the Catskills. Except these gorgeous freestone rivers run through the world’s highest mountains and haven’t seen more than a dozen anglers in the past century. And the people? They’re happy to see you, too.
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For once, it’s not all about the fish. Sure, the mahseer are magnificent beasts. Even an eight-pounder like this one from the Kosi River. And who wouldn’t love catching a monster from the muddy Yamuna at the Taj Mahal? But up here in the Himalayas, away from the tourists, it’s all clean, clear water and sight fishing. For sights, and faces, you’ll never forget.
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