With places like Diagon Alley, Ollivanders, and Hogwarts ticked off his list, Subbaraman's pictures will make any fan jealous.

Indian techie on Harry Potter trail in the UK his photos will fill ye muggles with envy
Features Harry Potter/Travel Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 13:09

If you're a Harry Potter fan, you're going to love this and hate this. You'll love it for bringing the world of Harry Potter to you in brick and mortar, and you'll hate it because there are just pictures.

Indian techie Subbaraman Nv relocated to Edinburgh, Scotland last year for work. A die-hard Harry Potter fan who has been religiously re-reading the books every year since 2001, Subbaraman knew that this was an opportunity too good to pass: "I was very clear about one thing! I am going to the land where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter and I am going to make the best out of it," he writes in a Facebook post.

Since December, the 34-year-old has spent his evenings and weekends on the Harry Potter trail, trying to visit "as many places with everything remotely connected" to the Boy Who Lived. 

With places like Diagon Alley, Ollivanders, and Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes ticked off his list, Subbaraman's pictures are bound to make any Harry Potter fan jealous.

Located in the old town area of Edinburgh, they claim that The Elephant House was the birth place of Harry Potter and that JK Rowling wrote the first and second Harry Potter books here. When she wasn’t the billionaire that she is, Rowling would order a coffee and sit for hours together, writing. The place is always crowded, with long queues of Potterheads coming to visit the place.


Rumour has it that Rowling started writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at Spoon, previously called as Nicholson's CafĂ©. They say she used to alternate between this place and the Elephant House. Now, the owners of the cafĂ© encourage budding writers to have coffee and stay for as long as they want, working on their books.


The set used for Godric Hollow (Harry Potter’s birthplace) at the Warner Bros. Studio in London.


No. 4 Privet Drive: The unfortunate house of Dursleys where Harry grew up, constructed in full scale at Warner Bros studio, London.


This is the Victoria street, next to the Grass market which acted as the inspiration of the magical Diagon Alley. The medieval, crooked and cobbled street with small shops is visible when one sits by the window at Elephant House, possibly how Rowling got the idea. 


Victoria Street, leading up to the Royal Mile of Edinburgh. Many of its multi-storeyed buildings date back to 1700s. Looks similar to a certain street from the wizarding world, doesn’t it?


Jokes and Novelties:  a real shop on Victoria Street, Edinburgh, which could have been the inspiration for Weasley's Wizard Wheezes and Zonkos Joke Shop at Diagon Alley. 


Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes at Diagon Alley in Warner Bros. Studio, London.



"Gringotts, the wizard bank! Ain't no safer place. Not one. Except perhaps Hogwarts." Gringotts Wizarding Bank at the Warner Bros. Studio, London, said to be inspired from an old RBS bank near Grass Market.

Australia House, London, which served as the interior of Gringotts in the films. (Unfortunately, unless you are applying for an Australian visa from the UK, or work in the Australia High Commission, or are a VVIP, you can't go in.)


"Ollivanders, Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC" (at Warner Bros. Studio, London).


“The wand chooses the wizard, Mr Potter.”

The 70,000 wand-boxes inside the shop are labelled to represent each and every person who has worked for the Harry Potter films. No two boxes are the same! During the first two films, the wands were quite generic. However, Alphonso Cauron, the director of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, insisted that every wand be made uniquely for its owner.


The iconic King's Cross Railway Station, from where Harry takes the Hogwarts Express. The fictional platform 9 Ÿ was later created for the fans who came in searching for it.


Platfrom 9 Ÿ, where there's always a long queue of fans wanting to get a picture clicked.


Platform 9 Ÿ at Warner Bros. Studio, London, complete with the Hogwarts Express pulling into the station! You can even go inside the train and explore the compartments.


Subbaraman says that visiting these places made him feel like he was in a dream. He also felt "nostalgic, inspired and a little emotional". He made sure to go to all the Harry Potter spots by himself for he "didn't want to be disturbed and wanted to be lost in his own world," he explains with a laugh.


Jacobite Express crossing Glenfinnan Viaduct, the bridge which is now called the ‘Harry Potter bridge’. Located in the Scottish Highlands, the bridge and the train have been a part of many Harry Potter films starting from the Chamber of Secrets.


Greyfriar's Kirkyard, which served as inspiration for the graveyard in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. When Rowling was hunting for names and themes for the series, she used to visit this place, which is right behind the Elephant House and next to the George Heriot school.


George Heriott school, founded in 1600s, was the inspiration for Hogwarts. The school is still running and also has four houses. It is located a hundred yards away from Greyfrairs Kirkyard, and the Elephant House of course!


Alnwick Castle, located 86 miles from Edinburgh, served as one of the main shooting locations for Hogwarts for the films Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets. 


Another shot of Alnwick castle. Recently, some scenes from TV series ‘Downton Abbey’ were filmed inside the castle's state rooms.


“’It's Levi-OOOOH-sa not LevioSAR.’ She's a nightmare, honestly. It's no wonder she hasn't got any friends!”

Remember the scene from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone where Ron makes fun of Hermione and she runs to the girls’ bathroom? This is where it was shot.


The Ghost Tour buses in Edinburgh, which run every night taking you through graveyards and dungeons. The tour also has jump scares.

Reminds you a certain violently purple bus from the wizarding world?


The Knight Bus, used in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, was made out of two double-decker buses. This is available to see at Warner Bros. Studio.


Entering the Great Hall: The entrance to the great hall is epic! A screen has Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson talking and as they open the door, and the screen goes up revealing this magnificent gate to Hogwarts!


"Let the feast, begin!"


Mcgonagall, Dumbledore and Snape: A scene preserved from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.



Gryffindor Common Room: The portrait behind Harry and Hermione's mannequins is a painting of a young Maggie Smith (who plays Minerva McGonagall). These rooms are life-size sets which were used from the first film till the last, with additions every now and then. The attention to detail is admirable -the room even have small notice boards with drawings and timetables stuck on them.


The potions class in the dungeons


The staircase to the Headmaster's office.


The massive Ministry of Magic sets: The complete set was so huge that they couldn't accommodate it within the studios, so only a fraction has been maintained for visitors to see.


I spy a Riddle: At Greyfriars Kirkyard, there exists a gravestone of a real Tom Riddell (notice the spelling). On Halloween, many Potterheads come here to pay homage to a certain Voldemort who was earlier known as ‘Thomas Riddell’.


The studio version of Tom Marvolo Riddle's grave.


Glenfinnan Monument, opposite to the Glenfinnan Viaduct (Harry Potter Bridge), was used as the Great Lake in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.


(All photos by Subramman Nv; special arrangement)

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