As an iPhone owner and an avid Hipstamatic user, I’ve been capturing daily life on the streets of Delhi for the past few months. As someone who was born and raised outside of India, I’m struck by how much of life is played out on the streets here. From bathing to cooking to sleeping, India’s streets are truly an extension of the home, and in many cases, is home itself.

Most of the photos are from Old Delhi, a world within a world in the heart of the Indian capital. The old quarters were once known as Shahjahanabad — named after Mughal Emperor Shahjahan who built the city in the 1600s.

Seventeenth-century writers and poets described the old city as “paradise” and “like a Garden of Eden”. Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi’s main thoroughfare, once had a canal running down the centre. Today, the canal has disappeared and Old Delhi is overcrowded and run down, and poverty is rife. Beggars line the narrow alleys alongside vendors selling everything from a fresh lime soda to used car parts, and young, homeless drug users huddle to smoke heroin before passing out on the side of the street.

But Old Delhi retains its charm. The smell of kebabs and fresh naan bread hangs in the air near Old Delhi’s most striking landmark, the Jama Masjid. The streets are constantly evolving, every hour, every day. You could walk down a street early in the morning to watch the city slowly wake up, and return hours later to blaring car horns and screaming rickshaw drivers under the hot, shining sun.

 

A man bathes in the polluted Yamuna river in the old quarters of Delhi. Oct. 1, 2012.