Hampi : Places to be!

If you have read the previous post, you ll know that I made it to Hampi. An ancient kingdom capital which finds references since the epic Ramayana in the Hindu mythology.
In the first day at Hampi, I walked about and went to the main temples around the place. Then, a little walk down to the Vitthala temple to visit the coveted stone chariots. With that, my day 1 was at an end.

The second day, I had a bicycle tour planned. The tour began at 0900h sharp at the Virupaksha temple. A temple tour and a history lesson later, we were on our way on cycles.

We stopped at the Kadalekalu Ganesha temple to observe the beauty of the carvings on the columns.

On the other side of the street is what used to be the market of Hampi also known as the Krishna Bazaar.

Past the bazaar and the temple across the road, we rode our cycles down the path to the Badavilinga temple and the Lakshmi Narsimha Temple.

Along the way, we stopped at a few places to have coconut water and a few ice golas, all very welcome due to the hot weather and the cycling across the terrain. One must always remember to stay hydrated!

Our subsequent stops were at the Queens Bath and the public bath. Honestly, neither were too impressive. Public bath was basically a stepped well, thats it.

Next up, our stop was the Lotus Mahal. The mahal was pretty, that’s for sure; what was more interesting is the ingenious way to keep the place cool. The walls are double layered and have a means to make water flow through them. So, as the air circulates, it looses heat to the water in circulation and keeps the inhabitants cool.

Our next stop was literally next door to the Elephants’ Stable. It used to be the royal stable for the procession and war elephants during their time of reign.

From here, we rode our bikes nearby to a quite place where we had lunch served to us. Homemade lunch comprising of rice, chapati, dal, tomato curry, cauliflower and potato curry and papads. Loved it. After riding the bicycle for hours, the food felt doubly tasty.
Once we were done with refilling ourselves, we were en route to the Hazararama temple. Filled with intricate architecture, this temple depicts various scenes from the Ramayana, and that is how it derives the name, Hazara Rama (thousand Ram).

Once past the Hazara Rama temple. we parted ways, and returned back to the village. I went to sleep.

On the way back we stopped briefly at the Saasivekalu Ganesha.

Woke up in the evening to sporadic firecrackers bursting about, owing to Diwali.

It was fun to see the kids dancing about the firecrackers, felt happy and good πŸ™‚

I was scheduled for a bus ride back to Mumbai next evening, so I went to bed quickly, for I wanted to go to the other side as quickly as I could and venture about a bit.

On the third day at Hampi, I took the ferry across the river Tungabhadra and rented a Honda Navi from the other side.

The Honda Navi

My itinerary had the Anjaneya Hill, the Sanarpur lake and the Hampi waterfalls.

En route there was a stream, in which there were ducks. Hundreds of them, and all were trying to swim upstream. Seemed like a ducks’ school of swimming.

The ducks!

It is quite amazing that how small the world is. At Hampi, while riding to Sanarpur lake, two wonderful ladies found me, a little confused of a turn and looking hither dither. The offered to help with the way to the lake, turned out, they were friends with some of old friends from college. Of the two, Akshita, is a gifted sketch artist. Do check out her sketches on her instagram profile.

Sudha and Akshita at the Hampi waterfalls

Later I returned back to the hotel, for yet another bout of sleep.

The return journey was equally torturous worth of 15hours of bus journey. It was outright horrible and I hated every bit of it, but then, maybe it was just me.

My learning, Hampi is an amazing place to be and is a must visit. It is better if you visit with a friend, but then I met people who were solo camping on the banks of the river too. It takes at least 3 full days to travel around and explore the place. So, fix a time, and get there; you ll love it.

Cheers!!

From the food bowl of India!

Hi there,

In this post, let me take you to the fields of my village. My village, Birati, is located in Hooghly district in West Bengal, India. Agriculture is still pretty much the mainstay source of income for the majority of the population out there.

I was there for a couple of days last month, and it was the beginning of the rice plantation season. So, here is what transplantation of paddy looks like. Transplantation is when the saplings of paddy are moved from the nursery where they germinate to the fields where they shall actually grow to become lush green paddy.

A tubewell coupled with a motor to irrigate the fields

Man carrying a produce of earlier crops

Testing the Autofocus on my camera!

My father and uncles on the way to a field inspection

Transplantation in progress

Man with a bunch of paddy saplings

Transplantation of paddy saplings in progress

In about three months time, these fields will turn golden yellow and the rice plants shall be ready to be cut, sheafed, thrashed, and go on to become edible rice grains. That is also the time around Durga Puja, so, I will be in my village for the same. An update can be expected on this topic. Plus, posts with insights into a Durga Puja at a bengali household shall be up too.

I was at a noodle making workshop lately. While learning how to make noodles, some amazing photo opportunities did come up, and I shall share them here, in the next post. Stay tuned.

Cheers!!

From up high, Mumbai

Dear readers, I apologize for not being as consistent as I used to be and would have loved being. Honestly, after pulling a 8 hour shift and another in travelling, the energy left in me, is not much. Hence, the delay.

I am also guilty of being inconsistent in posting for the Weekly Challenges on wordpress, so when today, when I came across the prompts of Dense and Atop, there was this one shot, that came to my mind.

It is old, a year old almost, shot from one of the floors of a high rise, during my internship days.

slums and high rise buildings sea ships and the sky, Mumbai, India

This photo reminds me of contrast. What do you see in this photo? I would like to know πŸ™‚

Cheers!!

TTL: Delhi: Lodi Gardens and Bangla Sahib

These were the last two stops on our list, and there was a specific condition I had for the Bangla Sahib gurdwara, I wanted to visit it at night.
So, we made it to the Lodi Gardens in the evening, and spent some time.

Dome in Lodi Gardens, New Delhi, India

Girl standing at the doorway of Lodi Gardens, New Delhi, India

One of the tombs in the Lodi Gardens, New Delhi, India

The garden is quite mesmerizing and the tombs are simply beautiful. It would be an amazing place to do some light painting experiments. Maybe someday, when I visit Delhi again.

Nearest Metro station will be Jor Bagh (Yellow line).

Next, we went to Bangla Sahib Gurdwara. After quickly depositing our shoes and donning a headscarf, we went ahead. Crowded, yet quite organized this place is. The best bit of the gurdwara, is the lake, and once we went to the other side of the lake, Β another of those pre mediated shots, came into being.

Long Exposure shot of Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, New Delhi, India

A five minute exposure turned the lake into a blurry mirror and it was just amazing.

Again, I have Tuhina to thank for taking me to all these places and being my guide and my model and as always, my cherished companion.

I left Delhi the next day, and as I type this out, am in Mumbai. I have shifted here and am based here, as of now.

 

TTL: Delhi: The Lotus Temple

Post my visit to the Red Fort, I made my way to the Lotus Temple, on the other side of the town, using the metro. Well, I am all praises for the metro, for it is highly convenient and economic many times over than a cab or even the buses.
The Lotus Temple is a Baha’i House of Worship, which, being in line with the code, is a temple which welcomes people, irrespective of religion, sex or any other distinctions to worship at the giant hall. The only request they make, please be quite. It is considered to be one of the most visited building in the world.
Architecturally, it is a marvel, being a 9 sided marble lotus flower, along with 9 pools on the sides. The hall can house 2500 people at a time.
Nearest metro station is the Kalkaji Temple Road on the Violet line, which can be tapped on to at the Central Secretariat. It stays closed on the Mondays, while being open 0900h-1900h, rest six days. No entry charges are levied. There is a strict prohibition on carrying food inside the premises.

Lotus Temple, Delhi, India

Arches of Lotus Temple, Delhi, India


Lotus Temple, Delhi, India

I was tad hurt to see that a huge chunk of the people who come at this place, have no idea of what they are visiting and also, why they are doing so. There are men screaming from one corner of the yard to the other, ladies cutting lines feeling entitled, kids running around, complete pandemonium. Also, once you reach the hall, you have tourists, not just Indian, but also foreign ones blatantly disregarding the request to not shoot indoors.
In my opinion, a ticket system must be put to place. Tickets for the ones who want to visit the inner sanctum, sit and pray, and tickets for the ones who would want to roam about in the open, take the photos and be done. It should also be made very clear that within the hall, there is absolutely nothing to gaze and marvel at, so that there is an auto filtration. I had been to the Lotus Temple, when I was about 3 years old. I remember sitting on the hall, and contemplating at the silence and peace. I had gone to revisit the place, after about 22 years, to find a similar peace, and all I found chaos.

With a heavy heart and irritated head, I boarded the metro back. My mood was improved soon for I met with my dearest muse, Tuhina shortly for dinner.

Next day, would be fun. Keep an eye out.

Cheers!!

TTL: Delhi : The Red Fort

Last week, I was at New Delhi, the capital city of India.
It is an old city and has been a seat of power for various rulers over the history of India, most significantly, the Mughals.

Red Fort, India, Tricolour flying

The first place I visited, was the Red Fort. Made using red sandstone by the emperor Shah Jahan, this majestic fort, currently serves as a frequented tourist spot. It has a museum, used to be a garrison for Indian Army and also features serves as a ceremonial and political centre in the modern times.
The nearest metro station is Chandni Chowk, which is almost a kilometre away. The distance is very much walkable. If not, take cycle rickshaws, but do bargain hard with them.
There are ticket charges. β‚Ή35 for Indians (including the museum pass) and β‚Ή200 for foreigners (kindly confirm). No extra charges for cameras though.

One enters the fort by the Lahori Darwaza.

Lahori Gate, Red Fort, India

The gate opens to a small courtyard, following which one enters the Chatta Chowk. In the ancient times, this place would sell gold, silk and other items for the imperial household, today, there are shops which sell souvenirs.

Shops in Chatta Chowk, Red Fort, India

Crossing the Chatta Chowk, one should find themselves in front of the Naubat Khana and the house of the commons, the Diwan-e-Aam.

Diwan E Aam, Red Fort, India

Moving on, one gets to see the quite magnificent Diwan-e-Khaas, which was the house of the lords, as one may say. The walls are quite intricately carved and they have paintings, which look marvellous even now.

Painting on the wall of Diwan e Khaas, Red Fort, India

Beside the Diwan-e-Khaas, the Khaas Mahal is located, which would serve as the emperor’s chambers and is made in white marble. It is indeed a sight to behold.

Khaas Mahal, Red Fort, India

Moving on, one finds a dried out reservoir with a red sandstone structure in its centre, this is the Zafar Mahal, added by and named after Bahadur Shah Zafar. On either side of the Zafar Mahal, one can see pavallions, Sawan and Bhadon, named after the Indian seasons.

Zafar Mahal, Red Fort, India

Sawan Bhadon Pavallion, Red Fort, India

With this, my tour ended within the Red Fort. I took nearly 45 minutes for the round. I didn’t visit the museums, which I would have, had there been some more time. I would recommend it be checked out.

Map of the Red Fort, India

There are pay per use toilet facilities available outside as well as inside the fort premises, which are maintained by Sulabh, hence they ought to be clean.

Once I was done with the Red Fort, I took the metro, from Chandni Chowk station, changed at the Central Secretariat, and went on towards the Kalkaji Temple Road, to visit the Lotus Temple.

Stay tuned, for the Lotus Temple post.

Feel free to reach out for further information.

Cheers!!

The ones that didn’t win – III

Here is one from Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India.

During my trip to the desert the last year, I was there in June, peak summer, hence off season.

So, for a camel ride that costs about β‚Ή1200 normally, I got it in β‚Ή400. They posed too πŸ™‚

Camel and Man in Thar Desert India shot in silhouette

The series continues, rest can be found here.

Cheers!!

TTL: Ahmedabad over the weekend

A couple of weeks back, I was at Institute of Management, Nirma University, to take part in their annual fest. The location was at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. I had never been to Ahmedabad, so I grabbed the opportunity and made my way there with a lot of anticipation.

My trip was for just a couple of days hence the exploration was negligible. What I did manage to do was take some shot at the fest and at a nearby temple.

The university had a stunt show organized a Delhi based group, Mototycoonz were performing. Good show I must say. Wheelies, stoppies, handle bar stands, burnouts…you get the drift. Have a look πŸ™‚

Bikes stunt wheelie

Wheelie without holding handle bars

Bike stunt sitting on handle bars

Bike stunt stoppie

Bike Stunt

Bike stunt burnout tyres rubber smoke

Bike stunt stoppie

The next day, we were headed to the famous Swaminarayan Temple to shoot around the locality. A quite and clean locality and a well maintained temple premise. Abundance of Langoors, who are quite well behaved.

Pink kite strings maanja

Old lady selling carrots

Tea seller tasting tea before serving to customers

Dog sleeping on a scooter

Garbage collector on his early morning routine rounds

Tailor on his daily duties in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Old lady sewing some cloth in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Young boy sells vegetables in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

A man feeds biscuits to a langoor in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

A langoor poses for a photo in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

A puppy plays with its mother in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

A eagle gives a striking pose in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

A langoor eats a brinjal in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

A langoor eats a potato in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

This event taught me a simple thing, either we win, or we learn. I learnt that at times, having a a good shot is not enough, I must also learn how to weave that good shot into a story too. This gave rise to the concept of starting a new series of my shots, The Ones That Didnt Win.

Next up, something closer to home. Four of us spend an afternoon shooting portraits in a couple of coffee shops in the search of the elusive perfect DP. Keep an eye out, the photos shall be here shortly.

Cheers!!

The ones that didn’t win – II

The minute you put a face in a photograph, you put a story to the photo. One must, maybe for just that one instance of the shutter click, relate to the face on the other side, know that person, know the story; this is my opinion while making portraits.

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This old lady said shes been in business for the past 30 years and is quite happy with the income. She isn’t camera shy, just dedicated to her work. We managed to have a conversation in two different languages, she cant speak Hindi, and I, Gujarati, so the conversation was quite animated. Just out of frame is, who appeared to be her grand daughter, helping her with the rest of the vegetables. Oh yes, before I left, she gifted me a carrot πŸ™‚
-Ahmedabad, 12/2016

This is a part of an ongoing series, posts of which can be viewed here.

Till the next story..
Cheers!!

A Dash of Blue

What is your idea of fun on a Sunday? Lazying around, relaxing?? I went to a trek/outing to a nearby hill, Vetal Tekdi, and look what I found there πŸ™‚

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The hill gives a nice view of the Pune city but thats not the main attraction of the location. This is….

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The place is filled with peacocks. One ought to have a minimum of 400mm reach on the lens to be able to capture these beauties. I had a 55-200 on me. I must admit, the shots were difficult. Not enough light, some camera shake, and yes, a lot of cropping.
We shifted locations, and we got some more shots.

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To part, I ll share a photo that mesmerizes me for the camouflage. Hope you find the peacock in there.

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Incidentally, the Peacock is considered as the national bird of the country, my country, India, and today, its the 70th Independence Day too.

Cheers!!

 

TTL: Shankarpur I

Its not everyday that we travel to the hills of the North East India and to the beaches of Bay of Bengal within a span of 15 days, but then, when the opportunity came knocking, I wasnt going to turn it down.

So here I was, at Shankarpur. It is still a relatively peaceful and calm beach on the east coast of India, facing the Bay of Bengal. It is situated about 20 kms away from Digha, but is immensely more calm, and also cheaper. Nearby are a couple of virgin beaches, Tajpur and Mandarmoni. Ideal destinations for couples, friends, families, who crave some quite time listening to the waves crashing and watch the moon rise and take early morning strolls.
Well, enough with the descriptions, have a look here πŸ™‚

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Just a regular morning on the beach

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The other side, evening

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Sea wall

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Nature’s artists at work

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Moonrise!

Follow this post for the part II. Coming up soon πŸ™‚

Cheers!!

TTL: Holi @ Siliguri

Last year, around this time, I was in Bangalore, with a bunch of colleagues who turned out to be close friends, smearing each other with colour and having fun. This year, am at my granny’s place, in the town where I was born, the gateway to the North East India, nestled at the foothillls of the Shivalik mountain ranges, Siliguri.

Anyway, its Holi again. The festival of colors and joy and fun. I missed my friends pretty much, and the only way I was going to suppress the feeling, was by going about making some photos! So, here goes, Holi, through my lens!

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Pre Holi masks for sale!

 

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This holi, a new hairdo πŸ˜›

 

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To the next locality…

 

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Vibrant!

 

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Decked up for the next round!

 

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I like the peek!

 

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Two face??

 

 

The last photo and the featured image, I couldnt find a model to try the shots on, so, I became the model and taught my aunt (Mummum) to shoot using a DSLR! A few trial and errors, yes, but after about an hour of training, she managed to get the focus correct and shoot straight! Good results I ll say!

Add some color to your page, show off your holi shots too!!

Cheers!!