TTL: Delhi: Ugrasen Ki Baoli and Rajghaat

Now that we were back in Delhi, the remaining few places on the list, we planned to visit them quickly.
The first stop was the Ugrasen Ki Baoli. Also known as Agrasen Ki Baoli, this is a step well (baoli/bawdi) with 108 steps to the bottom. There are three different levels on which arches are made. It is right in between the busy and bustling Connaught Place, Delhi, located on the Hailey Road.

Now, this place is pretty, and quite nice for photo shoot, which is the good bit. The sad bit is that it seems the entire clan of college bunking kids find this place to flock, right from the second the gates are opened. Hence, crowd seems to be an integral part of the shots of the baoli.
No wonder, I was not too enthused about not getting clear shots of the architecture and beauty, I turned to the beauty I had being my guide 🙂

Girl sitting on stairs with a smile, Agrasen ki baoli, New Delhi, India

Girl looking back with a smile, Agrasen Ki Baoli, New Delhi, India

Girl resting on a wall with a smile, Agrasen Ki Baoli, New Delhi, India

Finally, I managed to pull this photo out with a lot of difficulty.

The Agrasen Ki Baoli, New Delhi, India

Yes, it is a composite photo of about 30 shots. I would have got some more, but the guard was not very happy about the tripod. Hence, had to pack up. Also, as we walked out, I noticed a board which prohibits all the type of photography that can be done in there.

Next we went to Rajghaat. The cremation place of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation. It has a nice big lake and huge lawns, on which, as expected, one can find people rolling about. I didn’t find anything of interest here. Got some good photos though 😛

Girl sitting on the edge of a lake and relections, Rajghaat, New Delhi, India

Girl sitting on the  edge of water playing with her hair, Rajghaat, New Delhi, India

Girl playing with her hair with a smile, Rajghaat, New Delhi, India

Next up, we had something to eat and were on our way to the next location.

Follow and stay updated 🙂

Cheers!!

TTL: Alwar: City Palace

It had been a hectic week for me. Shifting to a new city, Mumbai, finding a suitable place to stay, joining my job at L&T Realty, etc. But finally, tonight, I can catch up and continue.
So, after roaming about in Delhi for a couple of days, we booked a car, and were on our way to Alwar, Rajasthan.
Alwar, like most of the cities in Rajasthan, has a fort and a palace and a lake too. The city is famous for the City Palace, the cenotaph of Musi Maharani, Bala Qila ( a fort on top of a hill). Nearby places include the Sariska Tiger Reserve and a little further is India’s and Asia’s most haunted and the world’s 4th most haunted place, Bhangarh Fort.

We had a limited time and range, so we hit the city palace and on our way back, the idea was to go to the Neemrana Fort.

The following are some of the photos from the trip.

City Palace, Alwar, Rajasthan

Girl posing with a column at City Palace, Alwar, Rajasthan

The main structure of the Bala Qilla, Alwar, Rajasthan

Girl smiling on the Terrace of the City Palace, Alwar, Rajasthan

Distant view of the Bala Qilla, Alwar, Rajasthan

I must say, Tuhina, in her neo-ethnic dress fit in marvellously and looked stunning. I’ll admit, I must have missed a couple of amazing shots because I was too busy admiring her :p

Girl walking near the lake at Musi Maharani cenotaph, City Palace, Alwar, Rajasthan

Girl happily spinning near the columns, City Palace, Alwar, Rajasthan

Girl sitting and smiling at cenotaph of Musi Maharani, City Palace, Alwar, Rajasthan

The next photo, is one of my favourite photos. As she descended down the stairs, I called out to her, she turned, and smiled! Such beauty!!

Tuhina looking the prettiest

On the way back, we did go to the Neemrana Fort, to find it closed. It stays open from 1000h to 1300h on the days of operation. The minimum expense that one has to bear is ₹1900. Probably it would have been amazing inside, but all we managed to see was this.

Peacock roaming near the Neemrana Fort, Rajasthan

Neemrana Fort, Rajasthan

By this time, we were tired and exhausted and still had another 100kms of drive ahead of us. So, we turned and came back to Delhi.

The route to Alwar is pretty decent, with the roads in the Gurgaon area being quite amazing. The drive is a comfortable one in general.

We still had a few places to visit in Delhi, coming up real soon.

Cheers!!

TTL: Delhi: Tomb of Safdarjung

After being done with the Red Fort and the Lotus Temple on the previous day, the second day began with a visit to a old friend of mine. We had brunch and soon it was time to meet up with Tuhina, who would be my tour guide and model for the rest of my stay.

After meeting up with her, we made our way to the Safdarjung’s Tomb. Located on the Safdarjung Road, this is a sandstone domed structure erected in 1750s in honor of Safdarjung. The architecture is quite mesmerizing and within the walls, it is quite peaceful. The mausoleum has four water chambers on each side, which were sadly dry. There are arabic inscriptions on the doorway. There are lawns ideal for people to laze. There are at least a couple of peacocks in the premises too.

Nearest metro station would be Jor Bagh on the Yellow Line. The Safdarjung Tomb is right opposite to the Lodi Gardens, which I visited on a later date. The monument remains open from 0700-1900h all round the week. There is, most probably, a ticket of ₹30 per head, kindly confirm on site. Expect a crowd and you may often find people strategically lazying to ruin your perfect shot.

Here goes…Safdarjung’s Tomb!

Tomb of Safdarjung, Delhi, India

Girl sitting on the steps of the mausoleum, Delhi, India

Parrot on one of the minarets, Delhi, India

Girl with a pretty smile at the monument, Delhi, India

Safdarjung's Tomb, Delhi, India

Girl posing while sitting at the monument, Delhi, India

Safdarjung's Tomb view from the entrance arch, Delhi, India

 

We visited the Delhi Haat next to buy a couple of stuffs mum asked me to get for her, with expert help from Tuhina, that assignment was completed. We followed it with dinner and retired, for the next day, we were going Alwar, Rajasthan.

Cheers!!

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. ₹35 for Indians (including the museum pass) and ₹200 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 ₹1200 normally, I got it in ₹400. They posed too 🙂

Camel and Man in Thar Desert India shot in silhouette

The series continues, rest can be found here.

Cheers!!

TTL: Dudhsagar – Wrap Up

On the way back, the train was quite empty. The train stopped at SNL for a minute and people all around were getting very excited that the Falls was coming up.
One advantage you may get, if you have a camera and can play the part, is that people would let you have a good spot if you request them just a bit.
So, I secured my spot by the door and waited.

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I wasnt too bothered about the falls this time round, for I already knew what I would get to see and that had already been shot in the best possible settings. So, I shot the other way.

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As the light faded, this rock feature came in to view. Probably, this is where Castle Rock derives its name from.

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Soon it was nightfall and we retired  to our respective berths.

We reached Pune quite on time early morning.

I would term this trip a success, right from the planning stage, to the getting down and walking to the falls, the shots at the falls, the train ride… everything fell right into place. It was good.

The next trip is being planned…will keep you informed.

Cheers!!

TTL: Dudhsagar – The eventful day

The sun rose at about 0615h and so did we. We got busy clicking photos of the fall.

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Next we took a safe, albeit a tad scary route to the bottom of the falls where the water makes a pool, before gushing further down. Now, this is a spot where one DOES NOT get in the water. No mater how tempting it may look to be, or how amazing swimmer you may believe yourself to be, DO NOT go into the water.

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We lazed around and were nagged by the feeling of being watched constantly, and soon the watchers came into clear view with evil motives. They wanted our chocolates, and we would not part with them without a fight.

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So, we had a stand off, 4 of us versus 3 of them. Without incurring any casualty on either side, we climbed back to the top, to the railway tracks.

Here, we waited for at least one train to pass by, so that we could venture into the tunnel and walk on towards Sonalium (LIM) and ultimately towards QLM.

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Once the train passed by, we went into the tunnel, only to hear the whistle of the second one approaching from the other side.

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With the other one gone, we knew we had a lot of time to walk to the second view point. Its about a kilometer walk to the viewpoint, located directly opposite the falls.

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We waited on a cement bench for a train to pass by the falls. We waited for an hour, and then….

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Now, we had the following options: one, we walk to LIM, then find transport and go to QLM; two, we walk to QLM; three, we hail the train and take a lift to QLM. We took option three.

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Thus, we visited the Dudhsagar Falls and then hitched a ride on a goods train and made it to Kullem. The return trip was scheduled at 1635h from QLM and it was just 1045h yet. So, we went to the town, a tiny one that is and had breakfast. Then we lazed about and made our way to the station and waited for our ride back home.

On the way back, we saw something quite beautiful too…find out in the final part of the trip 🙂

Cheers!!

TTL: Dudhsagar – The night and Dawn

So, with the planning done to the details, we were ready. The Friday arrived and we made our way to the Pune station. Goa express was 1h and 30 minutes late. So, we spent the time lazying around in the station. Then, finally, at about 1800h, the train ambled in. Since tickets were booked already, no hassles, we found and occupied our seats.

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We were scheduled to be at QLM at 0435h the next day, and that it would cross Castle Rock (CLR) at 0350h. Now, CLR+10 tunnels, gets us to DDS. That’s the calculation one must follow at pitch darkness.

I dont manage to sleep properly in the train, hence, I was up and about since 0300h. As we reached CLR, I woke up the rest of the team and we got ready. The train made an unscheduled stop at DDS station, and without further ado, we were off. We had arrived at the Dudhsagar station at 0400h in the morning. One must walk on the tracks to reach the falls from the DDS station, and at that time, one must not expect a lot of light. There is also a tunnel en route that one must cross.

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With the huge moon above our head, and the torches to light up our paths, we walked to the falls. By about 0430h, we were at the waterfall. We could hear the falls even before we first saw it. It was like a sheet of water tumbling down the slopes, at immense force with a growl.

Since there was not a lot of light around to shoot with, we waited there, enjoying the cool breeze coming from the direction of the fall, which would sometimes spray us with cold water too. A couple of goods trains roared past us.

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By this time, we were hungry. Out came the chocolates. We found some spots to sit and lay down, and we waited, for sunrise, which was still a couple of hours away. Honestly, we were desperate to shoot at and the falls, I was, I know for sure 🙂

TTL: Dudhsagar – The Planning

Hi there all,

It has been quite sometime since the last post. In the time lapsed between, some significant changes have taken place in my life. The preparations had kept me too busy and I am happy to share that the results are in the positive.

Now, coming to the matter at hand, Dudhsagar Falls.
Located not far from the border of Goa is this waterfall where the Mandovi river takes  a 600ft dive . The river is a rainfed one, hence, during the rainy season, she is a roaring beast, while during the summer, shes way more timid. This is one of the few tourist spots which have not been spoilt yet my heavy commercialization. The falls came into limelight when a scene from the movie, Chennai Express, was shot here.

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I wanted to visit the falls since time immemorial and almost always, things would stay just till the planning phase. One fine day, a few months back, me and Ankita, we decided that enough of planning and wishing, this time, we shall make it through. And then, she had an operation done, so the plan was scrapped.

A few weeks ago, the plan was put to motion once more, and the conditions looked favourable. So, the train tickets were booked, from Pune to Kullem. We would board the 12780 H.Nizamuddin-Vasco-Da-Gama Goa Express from Pune (PUNE) station at 1635h on Friday, and reach Kullem (QLM). From Kullem, we would hike back to the Dudhsagar falls using any means available in our budget. The return train from Kullem to Pune was the 12779 Goa Express of Saturday, boarding at 1535h. The distance from Kullem to Dudhsagar (DDS) is about 12kms . So, as per plans, we had a 24 kms hike, and 11 hours time.

I had my own check list ready:

  • Camera (2) – Nikon D3100 (mine), D5200 (Tanaya’s)
  • Battery (3)
  • Lens (2) – 18-55mm on the D5200 primarily, 55-200mm on the D3100
  • Silica Gel packs
  • Power Bank
  • High Power Torch
  • Knife of a sort
  • Lighter
  • Tissue papers (Both dry and wet)
  • Hand Sanitizer and Face Wash
  • Dry Food ( Chocolates and Biscuits)
  • Salt (for the Leeches :p)
  • Bluetooth Speaker
  • Tripod
  • Water Bottles
  • Extra pair of socks

These fine details of the trip would not have been possible but for the input from the amazing and experienced traveller, Dipanwita.

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To an enthusiastic mind, the numbers seemed doable. So, with a plan in place, the tickets were booked and we were waiting for the Friday, 21st of October, 2016 to come.

There are differences in plans, and executions, we experienced it first hand. Coming up soon 🙂
Cheers!!

TTL: Tamhini Ghat

It had been planned by the group that we must go on a trip. So, a group of about 40 photographers, varying from novices to professionals, we made our way towards Tamhini Ghat. About 60 kms out of Pune, this place is known for the lush greenery and the numerous waterfalls.

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It is here, thanks to one of the members, that I got to use the Tamron 90mm macro lens for the first time, and I simply loved it. The lens is not a speedster at acquiring focus, true, but once you manage to focus it right, you are in for a treat. The following images ought to convince anyone who would be doubting whether or not to get a macro lens towards the lens.

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Now, this lens can also be used for shooting the perfect frame too. Its all about how you choose to use it.

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A huge thanks to the Pune Photography Lovers group for the trip. Special thanks to Medha for lending me the macro lens and to Rutuja for being my model 🙂

Till the next trip, cheers!

TTL: Tikona Fort

They say, the forts around Pune, look amazing during the rains. Heard this so many times, and have been enticed by so many photos, that finally, we gave in. We loaded us on a couple of bikes, and went on our day trip to the Tikona Fort, morning, 7 o’ clock on a Saturday. This is the account of our trip. There may not be photos of the fort in here, rather, there are ones of what you can see from the fort.

Keeping true to Murphy’s Laws and the weather reports, we lost our ways a couple of times, splashed into huge puddles of water and finally made it to the hill and found it engulfed in fog.

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We caught our breath for a minute and took in the amazing view, though limited view from the base of the fort.

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Post maneuvering through some muddy and rocky paths, we reached a spot, from where the path ahead was this…

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For the sake of railings, there was a co-axial cable cut and bolted into the hill face, and we had to climb on the rocks, which were at least a foot high and slippery. The gradient felt close to 60 degrees. Well,  it was just the beginning though. Some time into the climb, things became more slippery, and agreeably, scary too.

It was the views that kept us going and pushing to reach the top.

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We got the view of the greenery that had been so much referred to, and also realized that after all, monsoon may not be the best time to come to this place. Not because of the rain, but because the clouds obstruct the visibility.

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This is a nice place to be for a day outing. As we climbed down, we saw tiny kids and even toddlers climbing up the trail, so it is not very technical climb or a difficult one as such. One must always exercise a certain amount of caution though.

The location ought to be an amazing one for night time photography and star gazing. The peak of the climb experiences quite strong winds so the ones venturing up should take the necessary precautions.

While climbing down, some caution had to be maintained as the place had become very slippery and narrow approaches forced us to move in a single file.

On the whole, the trip was a nice way to unwind and to get some of the much needed fresh air.

Cheers!!