Posts tagged ‘architecture’

May 2, 2021

Throne of Thirumalai Nayakar

Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal built (in 1636) by Thirumalai Nayakar at Madurai, intended this palace to be one of the grandest in South India. The design and architecture is a blend of Dravidian and Rajasthani styles. The interior is richly decorated whilst the exterior is treated in a more austere style. This palace is situated 2 km south east of the Meenakshi Amman Temple. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure.

The steps leading up to the central hall were formerly flanked by two equestrian statues of excellent workmanship. As you can witness, part of this is still standing the test of time and various historical events & wars. The throne in the center was incidentally lit by the ambient light from the stained glass windows by the dome. The palace constructed using foliated brickwork was finished in exquisite stucco called chunnam (shell lime) mixed with egg white to obtain a smooth and glossy texture. This probably inspired the Natukottai Chettiars, 200 years later in their own construction.

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 800 : 16 mm : f8.0 : 1/1000 sec

Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal
Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

April 6, 2021

Hemakuta Hill @ twilight

Hemakuta Hill located adjacent to Virupaksha temple is sprinkled generously with a large number of shrines, archways, and pavilions. These temples form one of the earliest groups of structures at Hampi and are dated to be from about the 9th to 14th century.

It is also one among the best places in Hampi to witness the sunrise/sunset and quiet an easy climb (about 10-15 mins and not as tedious as say, the Matanga Hill). Though an easy walk, the afternoon sun can make the boulders scorching hot. But take a stroll by twilight and you sure can experience all the hues from blues to reds being splashed across the whole wide canvas of the sky.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 320 : 13 mm : f9.0 : 1/50 sec

Hemakuta Hill
Hampi, Karnataka, India

March 8, 2021

Intricate architecture @ Mysore palace

The Mysore palace constructed around 1897, was conceived as a residence befitting the monarch of the majestic state. Mysore, which was laid out as the capital of the princely state, now part of Karnataka, retains a very strong connection with its royal past. The palace was constructed using fine grey granite and features beautiful domes that are made of deep pink-colored marbles. Every wall, pillar, ceiling, and doom is filled with such intricate work of art that one is struck by awe, just being there.

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 2000 : 16 mm : f/4.0 : 1/50 sec

Mysore Palace
Mysore, Karnataka, 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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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
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
November 30, 2018

Empire State by Twilight

There is no other place like NYC :) Each visit brings an experience unto itself. Sometimes the best view is not from the tallest tower , but from the one just behind it !

 

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 250 : 70 mm : f6.7 : 1/90 sec

    Empire State
New York, New York, USA
October 7, 2018

The Capitol by full Moon

Initiated around 1793, the core building of The Capitol (Washington D.C) construction took 33 years. It was interesting to learn that the current dome of the capitol building was actually the second one. The original wooden dome was subsequently replaced as a precaution for fire.

Today it stands as the meeting place of the nation’s legislature. The Capitol also houses an important collection of American art, and it is an architectural achievement in its own right. The several blocks from Washington memorial to the capitol building houses the various Smithsonian museums and is a great place to take a walk !

 

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 200 : 33 mm : f4.0 : 1.5 sec

  The Capitol
Washington, D.C, USA
April 21, 2017

Pineapple Fountain with Sun Cherry topping

When I heard about the pineapple fountain, I was pretty exited. As per the name, it was quiet a fountain. Arrived before sunrise to shoot. Unfortunately the fountain was not turned on. It was surprising that the near by spider fountain was operational.

As I  was walking by the gardens and enjoying the twilight, found a building opposite to the fountain. The high vintage from the steps gave a nice perspective. As I set the camera for the first rays, the fountain sprung to life !

Here is a Pineapple fountain, with sun cherry topping, for you :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 85 mm : f27 : 1/125 sec

   Pineapple Fountain
Charleston, South Carolina, USA
September 18, 2016

Sunset over the World

Was surprised to learn that Palm Jumeirah isn’t the only artificial island out there in the coast of Dubai. When I was in the area, learnt there were quiet a few more – The World, The Universe and may be they will even come up with a Multiverse sometime in future :) Standing on the world’s tallest man made structure (Burj Khalifa), watching ones of the largest man made islands (the world) & the Sun going down the gulf – it was quiet a tranquil.

Though there was definitely an awe on all the man made structures (and islands & its eco systems), in the back of my mind, one thought did linger – how would we justify the energy required to desecrate natural, aquatic ecosystems in an effort to fabricate a habitable environment that is in no way sustainable merely, for the sake of being able to say that it was done.

Only time will tell …

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100: 70 mm : f5.6 : 1/90 sec

Buy Print    Sunset over The World
Archipelago, Dubai, USA
May 2, 2016

Tampa RiverWalk by Night

Who said nights were for sleep – Marilyn Manroe

Tampa River walk is a phased open space and pedestrian trail along the Hillsborough River in Tampa FL, for about 2.3 miles, from Waterworks Park to Channelside. The river walk offers for a variant of activities from food to parks to walks on the land side and boats to kayaks to water bike rentals on the water. It provides for a fun walk taking you past many restaurants and parks that often have outdoor music and activities going on throughout the day and night. If the views aren’t enough to keep you interested, there are little historical and informative landmarks along the way. Just don’t forget to Wear sunscreen and/or a hat and bring water bottles. Or better at night come in at dusk to enjoy the season colors which is simply beautiful along the walk at night.

This was one among my many favorite views, highlighting the futuristic River walk along with the University of Tampa on the backdrop :)

 

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 400 : 22 mm : f5.6 : 8.0

Buy Print    Tampa Riverwalk
Tampa, Florida, USA
February 21, 2016

Adios Chicago

Moving from salting side walks to salting Margaritas, hopefully ;-)
Read somewhere that not everything can be bought, but looks like even Sunshine can be :)
Looking forward to what Life & Sunshine State has in store …
Adios Chicago !!!

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 13 mm : f8 : 30.0 sec

   Buckingham Fountain
Chicago, Illinois, USA
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