Archive for ‘India’

June 5, 2019

The Prakaram of Nemam Temple

Nemam Temple near Karikudi is one among the 9 temples connected with the Nagarathar community. The nine temples connected with the Nagarathar or Natukottai chettiyar include: Ilayathakudi, Iluppaikkudi, Iraniyur, Mathur, Nemam, Pillayarpatti, Soorakudi, Vairavan, and Velangudi. Some of these like Pillayarpatti are more prominent than others.

But the intricate work at Nemam temple makes it stand out. Sculptures in the temple are so artistic, minute and sharp. The prakaram around the inner sanctum was definitely an architectural splendor. Once could sense how accurate these were laid out. The windows on the top brings in the right amount of sun to light up the prakaram and the beauty of the sculptures.


Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 8.0 sec

Nemam
Karaikudi, TamilNadu, India

June 2, 2019

Soul of Ooty

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

As the summer temperatures were soaring up pretty much everywhere, we decided to head to Ooty – Queen of the Hills – for a short break. Being a impromptu travel, there was not much time for planning or scouting locations.

Being our first trip to Ooty, we made the mistake of booking the last of the rooms by Ooty downtown. Thought it would be good to enjoy a walk by the lake or get to the shops. But, oh boy the traffic was similar to that of Bangalore SilkBoard, if not worse :)

The serene drive to Emerald & Avalanche Lake, next day, balanced it all out. Some spots were indeed blocked or restricted, since it is owned by Electric Board and used for electricity generation. These spots need prior planning and securing permits beforehand. Still the drive is very picturesque and worth even if you were not able to secure the permits.

This weeks shot is a view is from a quick curve by the road side, as we were driving back from Emerald lake to Ooty.

I love this shot – it distills the essence of all that Ooty has to offer – Queen of hills, land of lakes, rolling coffee plantations, distant fog and a bit of human settlement. The sunset colors were a pleasant addition and the afternoon thunderstorms accentuated it. Ooty being cloudy / foggy most of the time, we did not expect this scene. But we gladly enjoyed as it unfolded in all its glory !

Surprises like these and more are what make the impromptu travel so additive :)

Soul of Ooty
Ooty, TamilNadu, India

May 16, 2019

Perspective

Sometime all we need is a new perspective.

Perspective – it changes everything.

One of the amazing things in life – just when we think we have everything figured out & then you stumble upon something new or suddenly see the same things in a different perspective & everything shifts again :)

Today’s shot is that of a top perspective of Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam temple – something that most would never have witnessed, lest be captured in the golden twilight.

Perspective – it changes everything :)

Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam
Madurai, TamilNadu, India

April 12, 2019

Cosmic Unison

Some dreaming, some planning and a lot of waiting was involved for this shot. When I first got to visit this spot, I went crazy with ideas like a kid with cotton candy. Of those, capturing this beauty under the cosmic stars was on top. This past weekend everything came together to make this possible …

The temple was just couple feet away while the milky way was 25,000 light years away. The temple was constructed around 1000 years back while the milky way is from a couple million years back. Separated vastly by space and time, yet in in cosmic unison – it was one beautiful sight to behold !

Being no moon, it was quiet dark. Hence decided to play with light painting to make the temple pop. To make it even sweeter, I had a lovely assistant who diligently worked with me thru the process. Having to accompany my son on his first night out and shooting stars was even a greater experience :)

 

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 2500 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 20 sec

    Vijayalaya Choleswaran Temple
Pudukottai, TamilNadu, India
March 19, 2019

Merku Gopuram of Meenakshi Temple

This shot is just part of the base 2 tiers of the 9 tier Merku Gopuram (west tower) of Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai. The temple complex spanning 14 acers – has 4 nine-storey gopurams (outer, raja), 1 seven-storey gopuram (Chittirai), 5 five-storey gopurams, 2 three-storey, and 2 one-storey gold-gilded sanctum towers. Each one compete and excel at being more intricate and detailed as the other.

Though there are references to Meenakshi Amman temple in literature going back to 6th century, these were restored back to its pristine glory in the 16th century, when King Thirumalai Naicker came back to power in Madurai. What awe-inspiring structures, with-standing the test of time. With such intricate work, would you believe this was conceived and constructed centuries ago ?!!!

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 76 mm : f8.0 : 1/125 sec

    Merku Gopuram, Meenakshi Amman Temple 
Madurai, TamilNadu, India
March 3, 2019

Kotravaleeswarar Temple of Koviloor

The Koviloor temple of "Sri Kotravaleeswarar" was initially built by the Pandiya King "Veerasekara Pandiyan" – approximately thousand years ago. Legend says that once when King Veerasekaran was on his hunting at this place, he lost his sword and later recovered it. The temple was raised for the lord who helped recover the same. And hence the name Kotrai vaal eeswaran Temple !

The temple tank right in front of the temple called Madhu Puskarani, is one magnificent structure. The pretty mandapam backed by the row of coconut trees, reflected in the sparkling waters is a sight to behold, especially during sunset.

 

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 1/4 sec

    Madhu Puskarani, Kotravaleeswarar Temple
Koviloor, TamilNadu, India
February 18, 2019

Divine Island

Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam (வண்டியூர் மாரியம்மன் தெப்பக்குளம்) is a temple tank located near to Vandiyur Mariamman Temple and situated at a distance of about 4 km from the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai. Teppakulam, literally translates to temple pond and is mainly used for devotional festivals. The tank is connected to Vaigai River through an ingenious system of underground channels. This was constructed by the King Thirumalai Nayak. One of the largest Ganesha, the Mukkuruni Vinayagar in Meenakshi Amman Temple is said to be found when this tank is dug in 1645.

As a kid, I had seen this pond often used as cricket playing field. But when filled with water, the artificial tank makes the temple within – an island and is a sight to behold. An walk around this would take 30 minutes and would be awesome during early morning or evening times. The place is filled up with lot of road side shops to eat and walk with. If the tank is filled with water and the climate is breezy, you definitely would enjoy this spot !

DJI Mavic Pro : ISO 172 : 4.73 mm : f2.2 : 1/50 sec

    Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam
Madurai, TamilNadu, India
December 30, 2018

Center of my Universe

You are not at the center of The Universe, but you definitely are center of your universe :)

DJI Mavic Pro : ISO 188 : 5 mm : f2.2 : 1/13 sec

    From Above
Sakleshpur, Karnataka, India
December 23, 2018

Iraniyur

Just a short drive from Karaikudi is lraniyur, which hosts this lovely Aatkondanathar Swami temple. As the first rays of the sun hit, birds chirped all around, accompanied by the cool and pristine breeze – one is just teleported to a different world and time !

The history goes that Lord Narasimha incurred a dosha for killing demon Hiranya. He worshipped Lord Shiva for relief. Lord Shiv granted darshan to Lord Narashima and cleansed him of His dosha.

DJI Mavic Pro : ISO 100 : 5 mm : f2.2 : 1/190 sec

    Iraniyur
Karaikudi, TamilNadu, India
December 11, 2018

Vivekananda Rock by twilight

In a conflict between the heart and the head, follow your heart. – Swami Vivekananda

 

Eight years back, when I visited Kanyakumari, I did not get to actually visit the Vivekananda Rock. Back then, I had to settle for the view from ashore. It brought back memories from my childhood visit – the grandeur mandap, the towering pillars, the roaring waves, the serene & the cool rock – were all etched in my memory.

So this time around, when the chance presented itself, I was more than eager to get out there. But, I was a bit taken aback, on how things had taken a turn. From the confusing ticketing queues (one for the ferry and one for the entry at the rock, makes one wonder why someone would take a ferry and avoid entering the rock) to the huge crowds this place draws, the experience is no longer pristine. It was really sad that sitting in silence or meditation was no longer allowed on the grand hall and the so called meditation hall, set up down below makes one claustrophobic.

Don’t get me wrong, the rock and the mandap is still an awe inspiring structure.  Actually the design of the mandapa incorporates different styles of temple architecture from all over India. You definitely should visit if you are around in Kanyakumari. But at the same time, the experience is no longer as serene as it used to be. For now. given a choice, I’ll settle for the view from ashore and hold on to my memories :)

 

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 125 : 76 mm : f6.7 : 30 sec

    Vivekananda Rock
Kanyakumari, TamilNadu, India
September 23, 2018

Sunrise @ South Tip, India

Kanyakumari , the southern most tip of Incredible India, is well known for a handful of things – The Vivekananda Rock, Thiruvaluvar statue, the small fishing colony, Devi Kanyakumari Amman Temple on one end and Our lady Church on the other. But it all comes together during sunrise, when everyone gathers by the coast to witness the dynamic colors :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f4.5 : 0.3 sec

  Sunrise @ South Tip
Kanyakumari, TamilNadu, India
September 11, 2016

Turquoise Gem of Agumbe : Jogi Gundi

Deep in the forest of Karnataka there are some pristine spots, largely untouched (yet). Jogi Gundi is one such lovely waterfall tucked in the wilderness of Agumbe. The Jogigundi Falls is located around 3 km from Agumbe. Situated on the way to the Barkana Falls, it can be reached by a small trek of around ~500 mts.  When the conditions are right, you can also enjoy swimming in the turquoise green water. Even during the monsoon time, water was inviting and pretty refreshing from the afternoon heat.

I was lucky to visit the place, at the right time, when the water was just right to highlight the beautiful structure of the waterfall, while the entire surrounding was still lush green from the rains. Heavier rains would definitely make it more majestic, but also would increase the challenge of accessing the falls. Also heard that the leeches might decide to join the trek, if the rains are continuous :)

Be advised and cautious. This is a rain forest.  You are entering the habitat of the wild. Respect their place & space. Leave only foot prints and carry back all that u carry in, along with some lovely pictures & memories!

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100: 10 mm : f22 : 1.0 sec

Buy Print  Jogi Gungi Waterfalls
Agumbe, Karnataka, India
February 19, 2015

Refuse to be ordinary

Bandipur National Park is an established Tiger Reserve, but it is also an amazing place to watch birds. This particular day as we were eagerly trying to locate some big cats, this beauty decided to get our attention. He was just still and serene, while the slow breeze was making the leaves around dance. After leisurely posing for this shot, he decided to show his flying skills too. It was quiet a sight to watch the him glide – oh, so majestically.

 

Canon XSi : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 1600 : 168 mm : f6.7 : 1/180 sec 

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change

Peacock
Bandipur National Park, Karnataka, USA
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