Archive for ‘India’

February 20, 2021

Sunrise by Shivalaya Temple

The city of Badami in Northern Karnataka, also called Vatapi, was the capital of one of the most enduring dynasties in Southern India – the Chalukyas. Nestled by a ravine that cuts through the sandstone landscape the site is graced by some beautiful temples – rock-cut and otherwise.

One of the prominent temple that I loved from my visit is the upper Shivalaya Temple. It had quiet ornamantal windows. It might have held equally ornate sculptures too within and probably was deprived of the same as time passed. The majestic mandapa stands as remnants of a bygone era, but still loaded with such grace and grandeur. It takes some effort to get up the hill. But the view is worth all the effort, especially around sunrise.

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 250: 16 mm : f2.8 : 1/200 sec

Upper Shivalaya Temple
Badami, Karnataka, India

February 14, 2021

Startling night on Valentines day

Had planned to visit this particular area last year with a friend. That never materialized because of you know who :) Accounting to the same, 2020 had not been great, even more so for travel. Then what can be said for night travel ?!

Hence, when the Astro season started this year, was trying to hold my expectations low. This time of the year the Milky Way graces the night sky after 3 or 4 AM. It was only a small window, but the twilight even from the horizon behind graciously blanketed the lake with its warm light. The stars finally aligned, and I couldn’t be happier.

Feeling thankful that we still have pockets of the night sky in a short distance from busy cities where the stars can be appreciated. Here is to the love of stars. Happy Valentines Day !

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 5000: 16 mm : f2.8 : 8.0 sec

A Hillock by the lake
Kanakapura, Karnataka, India

February 9, 2021

Arasamara Pillayar / அரசமர பிள்ளையார்

My connection with the peepal started at a very young age. I have vivid memories of that huge peepal tree by our school building. Be it daily prayer / gathering or PT classes – this was the place we used to assemble. Arasamara Pillayar is also a very common scene of any typical south Indian village. Peepal tree is a symbol of the universe’s never-ending expanse. It is amazing how our culture imbibes rituals & lifestyles to live one with nature. If only we take an iota of effort to follow them, without losing their crux :)

For this week would like to share such a village scene captured in digital pencil art. How do you like it ?!

Pencil on Cold Pressed Paper

Arasamara Pillayar
Some Village in South India

January 23, 2021

Life of Lambda

DJI Mavic Pro : ISO 164 : 4.73 mm : f2.2 : 1/25 sec

Lambda
Sakleshpur, Karnataka, India

January 8, 2021

Postcard from the past

As I was enjoying the Virupaksha temple at sunrise, came across this scene. For some reason, the family standing there, resembled the typical tourist – one who does not gel with the surrounding & stands out. May be it was their attire or the posture, but whatever – they felt juxtaposed. Tried processing to elevate and showcase how Hampi still stands the test of time. The final result felt like a postcard from the past :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 500: 10 mm : f9.0 : 1/15 sec

Hemakuta Hill
Hampi, Karnataka, India

January 1, 2021

Reflections & Perspectives

Reflecting back on 2020, it had been a tough year. Travel had been restricted and not great in sense of capturing moments. One good thing with the lockdown – mother nature seem to be healing. We now hear more of birds chirping even in the middle of Marathalli, Bangalore :) For the many lucky folks who are not stranded away from home – the lockdown had brought in a much needed break to reflect and introspect. For me it had been a great year professionally with more reading, new challenges and associated experiences. The ups & downs were like never before but the lessons learned were inevitable.

Let us drop the prejudice of 2020. Focus, enjoy and equip for the journey forward. Here is to 2021 – to more learning, more travel, more connections & enriched experiences :)

This week shot is from Badami (from a pre covid trip). Badami Shivalaya was the regal capital of the Badami Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD. Most of the visitors miss this as the focus is always on the Badami caves. The fort is quite opposite to the caves on the other side of the lake. Also one needs to trek to the top . The path is quiet defined with steps but is a bit strenuous, especially in hot weather. The massive hillock hosts couple of different levels with – the pillared structures, the lower Shivalayas and the upper Shivalayas. One is treated with  Chalukya architecture and the views are directly propositional to the effort one puts in to climb up :)

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 100: 16 mm : f22 : 0.5 sec

Upper Shivalaya Temple
Badami, Karnataka, India

December 24, 2020

Geminids

The Geminids are a prolific meteor shower caused by the object 3200 Phaethon, which is thought to be a Palladian asteroid with a “rock comet” orbit. This makes the Geminids, together with the Quadrantids, the only major meteor showers not originating from a comet. – Wikipedia

The weather Gods were not very kind when planning for the grand conjunction ( Jupiter and Saturn) this week, but they were very supportive just the past week.

2020 had not been great for travel & photography. But as the year is coming to a closure, am glad our drive to Udupi, gave us the required rejuvenation by way of access to crystal clear nights & witness some of the showers :)

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 2500: 16 mm : f2.8 : 6.0 sec

Kapu Beach
Kapu, Karnataka, India

December 6, 2020

Days of the Glorious Past

Hampi is one among the most historically and culturally significant sites in India. Stroll through its remote landscape and one is bound to be drowned in its beauty. Achyuta Raya Temple and the ruined market street in front of it sit in a semi-secluded valley created by two hills – the Gandhamadana & Matanga hills. What once was an incredible empire is now in a state of ruin, but that only adds to its beauty and grandeur. The remnants are quite stark and make one wonder how celebrated it would have been in days of its glorious past.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 22 mm : f27 : 6 sec

Achyuta Raya Temple
Hampi, Karnataka, India

October 26, 2020

Life is Inevitable

If dreams were made out of stone, it would be Hampi. Every walk and every turn at Hampi has awe and surprises carved in stone.

This particular morning we were strolling on the hills of Hemakunta. Surrounded by the grand architecture of Hampi, the cool morning breeze, the rising sun, golden light glistening the rocks – the moment was perfect. And then stumbled upon this little guy, growing right thru the stone. He was there for a purpose, yet juxtaposed at the same time. It was as if everything came together to make this moment happen, to make this connect happen.

He was silently showing what life is all about.

What you think as dead, is just dormant. Be aware, take care of such little things that is & constitutes life. Life is just inevitable.

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 500 : 27 mm : f/4.5 : 1/30 sec

Hemakuta Hill
Hampi, Karnataka, India

September 11, 2020

When birds swim …

When birds swim, they are even more magical :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 150-600 mm : ISO 2000 : 600 mm : f5.6 : 1/60 sec

By Kabini River
Jakkalli, Karnataka, India

August 21, 2020

Absolutely Still

Sometimes – to take in all that life has to give – you just got to be still. Absolutely still.

Stagnation is dying, in many ways. But Stillness is beautiful. Especially when you are so with awareness of each breath & each fleeting moment. Here is one such fleeting moment of stillness from the the land where even the stones sing – Hampi :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 320 : 12 mm : f11 : 1/20 sec

Hemakuta Hill
Hampi, Karnataka, India

August 13, 2020

Rest, Relax, Rejuvenate …

Just like a spring, our body & mind accommodates and carries a lot of load. Few at a time seems manageable, but carry for long & it breaks. Unlike a spring, know when to knock off the load and rebound. Identify rituals that help you revitalize.

Rest, Relax, Rejuvenate & Spring back :)

To rest is not being idle. To lie on the beach or the grass – listening to the murmur of the water or rustling of the trees and to watch life happen – is by no means a waste of time.

Canon XSi : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 32 mm : f13 : 1/350 sec

Hidden Beach
Bogmalo, Goa, India

August 4, 2020

Aihole wrapped in a blanket of stars

Just an hour’s drive from Badami is Aihole – a historic site of ancient & medieval era with Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monuments. There are a variety of temples sprinkled all over this place. With so much variety, Aihole is indeed the cradle of temple architecture. The incredible work here dates from the sixth century through the twelfth century.

This week’s shot is from one such complex which hosts a collection of about 30 temples by the banks of river Malaprabha. The quarter moon was just enough to light the temple complex, while still allowing to enjoy the grandeur of the stars. The trip from earlier this Feb was not conducive to enjoy the Milky Way, but it helped to get an enticing composition around the north star with equally captivating temples in the foreground. How do you like it ?!

PS : This shot was made possible with ~200 shots over 45 mins and composited with the “Creative Effects” Photoshop script. You can download the same for free here :)

By the banks of Malaprabha
Aihole, Karnataka, India

July 6, 2020

Virupaksha Temple @ Hampi

The Virupaksha temple stands unrelenting from around the 7th century. It is one of the most prominent center of pilgrimage at Hampi.

The Vijayanagara rulers, in the middle of the 14th century, initiated the blossoming of native art and culture in the region. Though most of the temple buildings are attributed to the Vijayanagara period, there is ample evidence indicating to additions that were made to the temple in the late Chalukyan and Hoysala periods. When they were defeated by Deccan Sultanate in the 16th century, most of the wonderful decorative structures and creations were systematically destroyed. However they were not able to destroy the religious sect of Virupaksha. Even after the annihilation of the city in 1565, worship of Shiva (Virupaksha) had persisted throughout the years. Today, the temple is still fully intact among the surrounding ruins and is the only active temple in all of Hampi.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 500 : 10 mm : f9.0 : 1/80 sec

Hemakuta Hill
Hampi, Karnataka, India

June 29, 2020

Shadows

The shadow is the greatest teacher for how to come to the light. – Ram Dass

Art (be it artography or photography) is as much about capturing the shadows as it is about capturing the light. It is amazing how the depth of what we perceive is solely driven by the darkness of the shadows.

This is the famed Stone Chariot of Hampi as seen from within the near by mandap.

Watercolor on Canvas

Vittala Temple
Hampi, Karnataka, India

June 7, 2020

By the Temple Pond

It is a tough time indeed – for everyone of us with COVID19, Amphan, Nisarga etc. and we have not even crossed the first half of 2020. At least one good thing with the lock-down – mother nature seems to be healing. I can now hear more of birds chirping even in the middle of Marathalli, Bangalore :) For the many lucky folks who are not stranded away from home – the lock-down had brought in a much needed break to reflect and introspect. I had seen people try to pick up new skills, do work out, indulge in cooking etc. As for me – being in IT – my work days had just become longer :( (thanks to remote work). One of the reasons why no updates around here for the past 2 months. But I did get to refine and complete on something that I had been toying around for years – Artography.

This week post is from Kovilur – yeah the same place with the lovely thirukulam (pond). Taking a walk around the thirukulam (திருக்குளம்) is soothing anytime of the day. An evening stroll, cool breeze, sitting by the pond and enjoying as the sun as it was setting behind – it was all an work of art.

If you are curious on how this particular art was made, check out the article – Artography – Photo to Painting. And do share how you like the same in comments …

Watercolor on Textured Paper

By The Pond (பொற்குளம் அருகில்)
Kovilur, TamilNadu, India

March 30, 2020

Keshava temple of Somanathapura

The Chennakesava temple of Somanathapura stands on a raised platform, in the centre of a spacious enclosure having sixty four cells. This three celled (trikutachala) structure consists of three garbha grihas, three antaralas and a navarang. It has a mahadwara standing on the east. The basement of the outer wall is highly ornamented with friezes of elephants, scrolls, epic & puranic scenes. The lathe turned pillars and delicately carved sixteen different types of ceilings are the characteristic feature of the hoysala art. Inscriptions engraved on a huge slab standing in the mahadwara and on the beams of the navaranga ranging in date from 1269 – 1550 AD, give the details of the construction of the temple.

When we visited, the outer enclosure was being refurbished. That particular afternoon the brewing storm added to mood of the shot. Shortly after this, witnessed quiet a downpour, but we were safe inside the garbha grihas :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100: 12 mm : f13 : 1/3 sec

Keshava Temple
Somanathapura, Karnataka, India

March 16, 2020

Simple Life

With all the things going around in the world right now, in context of COVID19 – borders being closed, people staying home as much as possible. It is tough times. But nature always has its way of getting things balanced out.

Distance socially, but not from yourself. Slow down, breath, find your zen. Enjoy small things in life. Go for a walk, enjoy the sunset, spend some lone time & rejuvenate. Learn something new. Use the opportunity to connect – with people and nature.

Stay healthy and stay safe.

This scene is from a village in south of India. Just a regular day, a regular guy, spending his morning time in the early morning twilight. Life is simple, the moment we stop making it complex :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 500: 12 mm : f3.5 : 0.5 sec

Simple Life
Some Village, Tamilnadu, India

March 9, 2020

Meghalaya – Land of flying boats

Meghalaya with its magical mist is well known as ‘Land of the Clouds’. The best time to visit the north east is indeed the monsoon season – when the forest is lush and the waterfalls are overflowing.

But if you wanna experience a different kind of magic, you should plan to visit between Oct to Feb. During this season, the Umngot river (traversing thru Dwaki & Shnongpdeng) is so crystal clear that one can see the river bed right till the bottom. During this season at the right time of the day, the shadow of the boats fall on the river bed – the river being so clear. This makes the boats float :)

After witnessing this little gem at Shnongpdeng, I feel it would be apt to call Meghalaya – Land of flying boats. What do you say :)

Sony A7III : Sony 24-105 mm : ISO 200: 61 mm : f4.0 : 1/800 sec

Umngot River
Shnongpdeng, Meghalaya, India

March 2, 2020

Signs of Spring @ Badami

Though Badami is more famous for its cave temples, I liked the visit to the Shivalaya temple better. Situated on the hills on the northern shore of Lake Agasthya, it faces the cave temples on the southern shore. The trek up needs a bit of an effort, but the experience so much makes up for it. This particular early morning, the clouds did not play along for the dramatic sunrise we expected, but the twilight was serene.

The fresh spring leaves felt juxtaposed by the gnarled tree & the rugged landscape, but it indeed had a beauty of its own :)

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 2000: 16 mm : f2.8 : 1.5 sec

Upper Shivalaya Temple
Badami, Karnataka, India

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