Archive for ‘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

February 24, 2020

Mesmerizing Munnar

Munnar is a mesmerizing hill station located in the Idukki district of Kerala.

Munnar derives its name from the 3 rivers that confluence here. Rolling mountains, moving mists, flying clouds, rich green slopes & trees swaying to the cool mountain breeze – it all transports one to a mesmerizing magical world !

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 160: 18 mm : f3.5 : 1/60 sec

Kannan Devan Hills 
Munnar, Kerala, India

February 17, 2020

King of Pushkarnis

Pushkarni or kalyani – by themselves are a work of art. But this one by Hoysala Kings (in 1163 A.D) – is probably a milestone in the art of constructing Pushkarinis. The details in the work is amazing. This beautiful sacred pool of water is situated in a small village called Hulikere (Huli means tiger and kere refers to a pond), 5 Km from Halebeedu. Surrounded by lush greenery, the water can be reached via the descending stone steps. Locals say that the sanctums and sanctuaries of this pushkarini represent the 12 Zodiac & 27 stellar constellations.

This particular day, there was not much water in the pushkarni, but the golden morning sunlight flooded the place and made it even more magical.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 400 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 1/50 sec

Hulikere Kalyani
Hulikere, Hassan, India

February 3, 2020

Chettinad Natukottai

The Chettinad region around Sivaganga district is well known for its 19th-century mansions, whose wide courtyards and spacious rooms are embellished with marble and teak – imported from around the world like Italy and Burma. Along with the exotic imports, local legend has it that even things like egg whites were used to get the smooth texture on the walls.

Chettiars were a mercantile community involved with commerce, banking and money lending from as early as Chola and Pandiya kingdom. Much of their profits went into building these grand residences, which used to be called natukottai or regional fort.

Some of the Chettinad homes are so big that their entrance and exits are on parallel streets. The distant door on this shot opens up to the cooking area and the inner courtyards. Can you imagine – what you see below is just one of the several courtyards that spawn up the Natukottai.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f4.5 : 1.5 sec

The Bangala
Karaikudi, TamilNadu, India

November 18, 2019

Sunrise by Choleswaran Kovil

It would have been great if some clouds were there to make the sunrise more dramatic. But am not complaining – since just few hours before this – I got to witness the grandeur of the night, with Milky Way hanging just over the Kopuram

Lesson to self : Always make the most of what is around, than complaining for what could have been better :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f4.0 : 1/10 sec

Vijayalaya Choleswaran Temple
Pudukottai, TamilNadu, India

November 5, 2019

That tree in Hampi

Vittala Temple is one of the most extravagant architectural showpiece of Hampi. Words can not depict this spectacle. This temple was built in the form of a sprawling campus with compound wall and gateway towers. There are many halls, pavilions and temples located inside this campus. But this wonderfully shriveled tree, standing tall, just around the corner from the famous Stone Chariot at Vitthala Temple, steals the show.

The temple built around 15th century – is a splendor. But this tree dated back by 150 years – equally matches to its grandeur. The twilight sun – kissing the wizened tree was a sight to behold.

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 17 mm : f6.3 : 1/10 sec

Vittala Temple
Hampi, Karnataka, India

October 6, 2019

Stillness

The Stillness that you search within, can be initiated with external triggers – that slow music melody, that soothing breeze as you walk by the green fields, that moment when the sunset makes the sky it’s canvas.

If nothing else, just take a deep breath. A conscious breath can do miracles. When you cannot handle the mind directly, it can be handled through breath …

Hope this serene sunset from Hampi, brings you the peace you are looking for :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 10-270 mm : ISO 640 : 18 mm : f3.5 : 0.4 sec

Kamalapur Lake
Hampi, Karnataka, India

September 17, 2019

Star Fort of Sakleshpur

Sakaleshpur – a hill station town, in Malnad region lies on the magnificent range of the Western Ghats. It has a temperate climate surrounded with lofty green hills full of Coffee, Cardamom, Pepper and Areca Plantations. And hidden in this forest is the amazing fort of Manjarabad.

Started in 1785 and after almost 7 years, Tipu Sultan completed this star-shaped fort as part of his defense strategy. This enabled him to see the British Army from Mangalore. Also, it is said to be used for storing ammonia, horses, and a secret tunnel to Srirangapatna – the capital of Tipu Sultan.

Though – in the present day – the busy Bangalore Mangalore N48 runs close to the fort, not many take time to stop by and enjoy this marvel. I was glad I did :)

DJI Mavic Pro : ISO 100 : 4.73 mm : f2.2 : 1/250 sec

Manjarabad Fort
Sakleshpur, Karnataka, India

August 18, 2019

Magic of Kodai

If Ooty is the “Queen of the hills”, Kodaikanal goes with “Princess of the hills”. Folks also refer to kodaikanal as “Switzerland of the East”, “Set of Southern Emeralds”, “Chilled paradise among the Hills”, “Summer Heaven”.

In Tamil – Kodaikanal has several meanings depending on how you break it up – “A place to see in Summer (kodai kanal)”, “The End of the forest (kO Di kanal)”, “The forest of the Creepers (kodi kanal)”, ” The Gift of the Forest (kOdai kanal)” – (oh the beauty of Tamil)

But what is there in the name … Irrespective of how you call, it is beautiful. The view points, lake and everything else is well developed but the beauty is still kept, atleast in pockets. The floating mist as it sails thru the valley, adds magic to the already beautiful place :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 125 : 35 mm : f5.6 : 1/60 sec

Magical Mist
Kodaikanal, Tamilnadu, India

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