I live in India, in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Here, some temples do not allow visitors to take pictures or videos. Is that legal, to stop me from taking photos? So many adventures and lovable statues in there!

Temples are public and are managed by the government. Few temples are privately owned. And I am not a photo seller — it's my hobby.

Can I take photos of people in these public places? Is there any law either for or against my rights as a photographer? When I take a picture of people in public, what should I know?

  • possible duplicate of photo.stackexchange.com/questions/12195/…
    – MikeW
    Jan 28, 2012 at 5:11
  • Is Photo law Differs Each County? . Otherwise I accept the European countries LAW Question. I am in Asia(India). Please Tell Me.
    – Sagotharan
    Jan 28, 2012 at 5:13
  • Yes laws differ in each country. If you want information specific to India, please update your question and you'll get a specific answer. As a general rule, it is legal to take pictures in public places for personal use. You may need a release/waiver for commercial use.
    – MikeW
    Jan 28, 2012 at 5:57

4 Answers 4


95% of the famous temples are functioning under the Government. If somebody tells you that photography is prohibited, ask for the administrative office and inform the administrative officials that you are wanting permission. More often than not, this will be accepted without any hassle, but, there are very small number of temples where photography is strictly prohibited.

If your intention is to photograph the sculptures, before starting your travel to temple, call the temple's administrative office and check if you will be permitted to take photographs. This will save you time later on.


In Short: It is legal.

In some temples, particularly in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, photography is not allowed - within the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. In particularly orthodox temples, even taking a camera or a cell phone is prohibited.

If you wish to shoot sculptures, I believe you need a written note from the temple administration - something that can be easily obtained.

  • Hi Arvindh. Any chance you could include some official references to the appropriate laws that apply here?
    – jrista
    Jan 31, 2012 at 20:30

I think it is very dependent on if the temple is privately owned/on private ground, or publicly owned (ie, by the government). If it's privately owned then the owner has full jurisdiction on whether photography is allowed and may be different from one temple to the next. You will need to check with the relevant authorities.


If it's a public place. no body can stop you from clicking photographs. It is the law that unless it is written or a pictorial sign is put up clearly in a place where the public can see, it is allowed for u to freely photograph. Just make sure you do not click anyone's face as people might find it offensive. If the Watchman or anybody argues and prevents you from clicking pics without the "Photography prohibition" sign being present, u can argue with the authorities that it is the property of the government and a public place and it is your constitutional right to click pics freely without being harassed. =)

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