After the Tourists Depart

Visual Postmortem of a New Tourist Destination


  • Sreedeep Bhattacharya Shiv Nadar University, India



tourism, Ladakh, trash, consumer culture


This essay explores multiple aspects of a domestic tourism boom that has occurred in Ladakh, India, over the past two decades. It considers the nature of tourism itself within the context of leisure as a commodity and how visual interventions and photographic practices brand a tourist destination as a consumable idea, making a case for the inseparability of image and destination and arguing that the constructed image of a destination attracts a collective gaze. This perspective is then applied to the consumerist trajectory/ tragedy of Ladakh, which since the economic liberalization of India has been visually negotiated through imageries of the area as a destination for adventure and exotica. This experience is enacted through the consumerist practices of packaged tourism, and through a visual exploration of material remains—the paper documents material leftovers discarded by tourists.


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Author Biography

Sreedeep Bhattacharya, Shiv Nadar University, India

Sreedeep Bhattacharya is an Associate Professor in Sociology and a Fellow at the Center for Public Affairs and Critical Theory, B022, Lower Ground Floor, Shiv Nadar University, NH91, Tehsil Dadri, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, India.


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How to Cite

Bhattacharya, S. (2020). After the Tourists Depart: Visual Postmortem of a New Tourist Destination. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, 7(1), 61–78.



Visual Archaeologies