Thursday, August 13, 2015

The traditional tribal dance, India 2015

While at the OATs camp we were treated to a traditional tribal dance with a small indian music group to provide the exotic (to us) music for the dance.  The audience was invited to join in!
  Traditional Tribal Dance, India 2015

Jaipur, India 2015

Jaipur, the pink city of the maharajas, rugs, astrology, monkeys, snake charmers, puppet shows, grand palaces, cows, bazaars!  You might say all Indian icons.
  Jaipur, India 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sarnath, India 2015

The holy site of Sarnath is the location where Buddha first preached his teachings of how to live life. There is a modern day shrine and temple with a stunning set of prayer wheels and a gorgeous  statue of the Buddha in contemplation.  The nearby museum contains terrific statuary found in the site including the original statue of Buddha replicated in the shrine.  This is the site where the four lion statue was found, which was oirginally placed on the Ashoka pillar, now one of the national symbols of India.  The archeological site as a great stupa along with numerous other smaller stupas and other temple structures.  This is a pilgrimage site for buddhist around the world and there were numerous groups dressed in colorful robes.
  Sarnath, India 2015

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mumbai, India 2015

Mumbai is clearly a dynamic city with the hustle and bustle of a modern city, high rises, and poor areas.  The abundance displayed in the market was incredible and of course the Victoria train station was a picture of energy.  The open laundry with all of the manual laundering going on was impressive as was the lunch box routine.   We had to see some of the movies set in Mumbai or about the activities of Mumbai after coming home.

Mumbai, India 2015

Monday, August 10, 2015

Balloon Ride Over Jaipur, India 2015

The country side around Jaipur as seen from the air provides a striking contrast with that at ground level.  The land was relatively flat and arid with small farms and some mustard fields in harvest.  We also had a great view of a brick factory where camels were used to hall the bricks and raw material. We passed over an extensive reservoir were we noticed a fish kill with dead fish lining the lake banks.  We weren't able to get an explanation of what happened. There was a lot of excitement from the people on the ground as we passed over although I suspect the presence of the balloon was not that unusual.

Varanasi, India 2015

Varanasi, India 2015

Varanasi is a chaotic mix of humanity and spirituality centered on the ghats along the Ganges river. The celebration of life occurs along side of the marking of death; the Hindu Brahman ceremonies of life celebration with their spectacular torch ceremonies accompanied with chanting/singing from the hindu writings; the cremation ceremonies, the washing of the body and the cremation fire; cleansing the body (spirit) in the Ganges.  We experienced spectacular sunsets and sunrises, and a great full moon view.  The ride and walk to the Ganges banks has to be experienced to appreciate the total life energy.
  Varanasi, India 2015

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Chand Baoli, India 2015

The Chand Baoli (Baoli meaning step well) was built in the 9th century.  It was used to store water in the wet season for use when the rains stopped.  The steps were used to haul water to the surface wherever the water level happened to be at the time.  The visual impact of the wells is very striking with the geometrical patterns creating an arresting view.  There are still Hindu statuary on the walls of the well and numerous niches for prayer and worship, and apparently cooling off as the temperature at the bottom of the well is considerably lower than at the top.  The area around the well contained a lot of statuary that is now displayed on the top surface level.  According to Wikipedia, Chand Baori was used in filming The Fall, The Dark Knight Rises, and the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
  Chand Baoli, India 2015

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Village visit, India 2015

When visiting the village there were farm animals, running loose and others tethered.  Interesting looking people in the village and most of the women wore traditional clothes.  During the time in the village we visited a village home where the mother made tea for us on her outside wood fire. The family consisted of mom and dad, and three kids, two of whom were teenagers. The father was off at work.  All the kids go to school. They lived in a two room house with two beds and apparently the sleeping strategy was on a first come first served basis. The mother is instrumental in the women's co-op that produces printed fabrics, quilts and a great variety of ready clothes. She was one of the founding members of the co-op. She made masala tea with the appropriate milk and sugar and it was really good.
  Village Visit, India 2015

Women's Cooperative, India 2015

Women's cooperatives are places were village women can come to produce various products, usually fabric based, that then are sold to supplement their income.  The cooperatives also provide them with a feeling of self-confidence, and give them a chance to socialize and find out whats news in the villages.  We visited one such cooperative and watched women working at sewing machines producing shirts, pants, etc., using an heritage block printing technique to pattern long lengths of cloth, making quilts and other processes.  Usually one or more of their children were close bye.
  Womens Cooperative, India 2015

School Visits, India 2015

During our recent trip to India we had an opportunity to visit two schools in small villages, one in the north near the Ranthambore Tiger Park and the other in south India along the waterways near Kochi. The teachers were very happy to have us visit and the kids were delighted.  The kids were all over us to make pictures of them, and of us, and were also looking for handouts.  They tried out their english skills with standard phases such as "What is your name?", "Where do you come from?", etc.  It was of course nice to see the mix of boy and girl students.  In the northern school the kids covered a relatively wide age range but the school in the south had kids of about the same age.

School Visit, India 2015

Amber Fort, India 2015

The Amber Fort was the palace and fort of the Kachhawaha until the 18th century.  Major buildings added by Jai Singh I (reigned 1621 to 1667) created the jewels of the Fort and it's spectacular decorative elements.  Visiting the Fort today one can imagine the time when the rulers were active with all of the royal entourage.


Monday, July 13, 2015

The Red Fort, Agra

The Red Fort is where Shah Jahan ruled in the 17th century and where he was imprisoned by his son until his death.  The fort was built by Akbar between 1565 and 1573.  Good views of the Taj in the distance and the surrounding country side.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

South India, India 2015

Arriving in Kerala we transferred immediately to a house boat for two days of exploring the waterways north of Kochi, with excursions on the shore to see various sites.  The "South India on the Water" is a photo story of the sites from these two days on the water, and "Kochi" is a story from the sightseeing in Kochi itself.  This area is strikingly different than the other parts of India that we had toured earlier.  Very tropical, lots of tea, spices, banana trees, rice fields; beautiful flowers and birds; not as littered as some other areas we had seen; and a number of Christian churches from the heritage of the Portuguese, Dutch, and British.  We visited a synagogue but were not allowed to photograph.  We were also not allowed to photograph inside the Dutch Palace and this contained spectacular wall paintings illustrating the Hindu mythology.  The classical Indian dance was tremendously arresting, colorful and powerful.

South India on the Water

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Taj Majal, India 2015

One of the iconic monuments  we visited in India was the Taj Mahal in Agra.  We viewed it in varying lights, in the evening from across the Yamuna river, in the morning, where the plan was to be there at sunrise but the skies were overcast and it rained so we came a little later than originally planned.  Anticipating the visual scene in the minds eye (and from photos) did not prepare us for the overarching impact of the actual building.  It is highly elegant and simple and at the same time imposingly large.  It is a really large structure with incredibly delicate decorations.

We also visited the "little Taj," Itimad-ud-Daulah's tomb.  This tomb was built over six years starting in 1622 and served as a model for the Taj.  Photos are included of this tomb in the photo story below.

Both tombs are in a garden setting on the Yamuna river and sit on a raised platform that enhances the visual impact.

Taj Mahal

Monday, July 6, 2015

On the Road, India 2015

During our recent trip to India we spent a lot of time traveling from city-to-city and attraction-to-attraction, mostly by bus but also by air and train.  There were many striking images of the people of India in diverse activities and we often stopped and talked with the people or observed their activity, sometimes with a demonstration(especially for our group).  The photos collected in the following story are gathered from these encounters and observations.  There were of course many other striking scenes in the specific cities and attractions that are included under those stories, not here.

On the road

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Khajuraho India, 2015

During our trip to India we visited Khajuraho, an ancient temple area in central India lying between Agra and Varanasi.  The temples are famous for the exuberant sculpture adorning the temple surfaces, particularly the erotic couples in sexual posses.  According to the guide books the temples were built in the 10th to 12th centuries AD.  A photo summary is viewable here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Delhi, India 2015

The following link shows the Dehli part of our February-March 2015 India trip.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Ranthambore Tiger Park, India

Using the new Adobe application Slate I created a vignette of the Ranthambore Tiger Park with photos made during our trip to India in February and March.  You can view the Slate presentation here,
Ranthambore Tiger Park

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Trip to India

A recent trip to India produced a large number of travel photographs that I thought worth sharing in the form of albums from specific aspects of the trip. To start, we had a great day and a half of wildlife viewing in Ranthamborne Tiger Park.  We saw a mother Tiger and her "cubs" but the most spectacular sighting was a leopard really very close in.  There were deer and lots of birds also.  To us everything was exotic.  The link to a gallery of photos from the Ranthamborne  part of our trip is included here.