21 June 2012
Last updated at 00:35
More than 3,000 people recently gathered in Mumbai over three days to take part in the Mumbai International Tattoo convention. Tattoos have been popular with certain tribespeople in India for centuries, but now the modern tattoo culture is also taking off, say event organisers. (Text and photos: Rajini Vaidyanathan)
Moses is a tattoo artist who has seven designs on his body. "Tattoos are my passion, I love them. They can still be taboo in some parts of India. The kind of designs I have are not done much."
There are thousands of tattoo artists in India these days but there are few rules of hygiene and that worries many in the trade, including the organisers of this event.
The three-day event brought together several Indian and international tattoo artists. Artist Roshan Paul says tattoos of loved ones are very popular in India.
Roshan Paul himself has a tattoo of his late grandmother etched onto his arm. He says that "people are getting more meaningful tattoos here".
Bhupesh has eight tattoos, including one of the Hindu god, Ganesha. "I like religious tattoos. It's better to have these than pictures of skulls," he says.
Jay has a total of 15 tattoos on his arms, including one of the spiritual leader Sai Baba.
Jay's favourite tattoo is the one he has of his mother. "She likes it a lot and I got it done because I love my mother so much," he says.
Ronak Patel of Bihar, who sells ink and other materials for tattoos, gets more than 500 clients a year. He believes the tattoo industry in India has grown by 200% in recent years.
Rupi, earlier a drawing teacher, has been a tattoo artist for three years now. "My community doesn't think it's good, but my husband loves that I do it," she says.
Aditya is getting a tattoo of Kat Von D, the American model who is famous for her tattoos. "She's my dream girl," he says, four hours into the procedure.
Hema is a tarot card reader who has one tattoo. She says tattoos are becoming more popular in India because the culture is changing, with more Western influences coming in.