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Trip to Mahabalipuram

Trip to Mahabalipuram

We visited Mahabalipuram some time back but some how missed on putting the details in my blog. While returning from Andaman in 2016 we had a day halt at Chennai and this is when we made a trip to Mahabalipuram. Mahabalipuram is famous for its monuments which are now a world heritage site.

Built during the Pallava dynasty, the group of monuments at Mahabalipuram are a collection of 7th and 8th century CE religious buildings in the coastal town of Mamallapuram, Kanchipuram district, Tamil Nadu.

The site has 400 ancient monuments and Hindu temples, including one of the largest open-air rock reliefs in the world: The Descent of the Ganges or Arjuna’s Penance.

There are Ratha temples with monolithic processional chariots, built between 630 and 668; mandapa viharas (cave temples) with narratives from the Mahabharata and Shaivic, Shakti and Vaishna inscriptions in a number of Indian languages and scripts; rock reliefs; stone-cut temples built between 695 and 722, and archaeological excavations dated to the 6th century and earlier.

Sharing few photographs taken during the trip.

Krishna’s Butterball (above) is a gigantic granite boulder resting on a short incline in the historical town of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, India. The boulder is approximately 6 meters high and 5 meters wide and weighs around 250 tons.

Varaha Cave Temple

Mahabalipuram lighthouse is the oldest Light House in India and was commissioned here in 1887.

A view from Mahabalipuram Light House.

Mahishasuramardhini Mandapa is an example of Indian rock-cut architecture dating from the late 7th century, of the Pallava dynasty. It is a rock-cut cave temple located on a hill, near a lighthouse, along with other caves in Mamallapuram. It is the one of the finest testimonials of ancient Vishwakarma Sthapathis. [Wikipedia].

Coconut Water is something you will find at every corner here. Do buy and drink this to keep yourself hydrated as it gets very hot here.

The Shore Temple is so named because it overlooks the shore of the Bay of Bengal. It is a structural temple, built with blocks of granite, dating from the 8th century AD. At the time of its creation, the site was a busy port during the reign of Narasimhavarman II of the Pallava dynasty. ( Wikipedia).

Bhima Ratha is the most massive of the fiveĀ rathas.

Dharmaraja Ratha

Nakula Sahadeva Ratha and its standing elephant

A must visit destination, give you a sense of India’s past splendor.

Trip to Anjarle Beach

Trip to Anjarle Beach

Few days back my wife showed me a write up about Olive Ridley Turtles Conservation Festival at Anjarle Beach. This beach is about about 215 kilometers from Pune. I found the idea of being there for the festival quite interesting so we booked a room at Whistling Waves at Anjarle and made a visit there on 23 to 25 March 2019. We arrived at the beach late afternoon and were told that the volunteers would be checking if the turtles had hatched or not at about 6 pm. There was lot of anticipation in the air.

I talked to the volunteers who were conducting the festival and was informed that this was an yearly affair. The mother turtle comes late in the night and lays eggs on the beach. Volunteers collect the eggs and keep it at a safe place on the beach, well protected. When the eggs are hatched, the baby turtles are left near the sea who are attracted by reflected light and home on towards the sea. This festival draws quite a crowd and many photographers too.

No turltles hatched that evening so we walked along the beach and took some candid shots.

The sunset was amazing.

Next morning we got up early and headed for the beach as we were informed that possibility of turtles hatching was there this morning. Hundreds had gathered at the beach to witness this event.

Our hopes were not belied, we did get to see the baby turtles crawling towards the sea.

Having had our fill of the baby turtles we took a walk along the beach and managed to capture few shots of the Sea Gulls.

When at Anjarle do visit areas around the beach, specially the Harne fishing village. You will be able to take some nice photos, specially of sunrise and sunset.

Venture a bit away towards Dapoli and you may be able to site the white breasted Sea Eagles and other birds.

This was a great trip specially since I love photographing nature and landscapes.

Birding at Bhigwan : Tips to take good bird photos

Birding at Bhigwan : Tips to take good bird photos

For me in winters, the best past time is to visit Bhigwan for bird watching and bird photography. Come November and migratory birds start arriving at Bhigwan. Bhigwan is about 100 Km from Pune. There are two spots near Bhigwan which are good for bird watching, Diksal and Kumbhargaon. I prefer going to Diksal as you spot more birds here. It is advisable to reach Diksal early morning to witness a spectacular sunrise.

Take a boat, the local guides should be able to guide you to spots where the waders settle down for their morning rituals.

You can expect to site Flamingos, Open Billed Storks, Spoon Billed Storks, Bar Headed Geese, Northern Shovellers. RuddyShell Ducks, Pin Tail Ducks and many more species of birds here.Sharing few photos which I took during my visit in mid Feb 2019.

This Painted Stork was Walking along side our boat. The reflection in the water appealed to me and I clicked. While composing follow rule of thirds and always leave space towards the direction in which the bird is looking.

Spot Billed Duck. While shooting a flying bird use continuous focusing and track the bird till you get the right composition and then click.

Open Billed Stork. Photographed with an Olympus OMD EM 1 MK II Camera with a 300mm lens. Effective focal length comes to 600mm due to 2X crop factor in this camera.

Greater Flamingos. You see them by the hundreds here. Expose for the highlights while photographing Flamingos due white plumage. Thes birds have a comfort zone, the moment you get too close, the will fly off, so be prepared to catch them in the act.

Black Headed Seagulls

Lesser Flamingo
Black Winged Stilt
Grey Heron

Have patience and you will be able to get few action shots like these.

Greater Egret
Painted Stork

Pintail Ducks are very shy and fly away if you get too close. Keep on taking shots as you approach them, you never know when they will fly away.

RuddyShell Ducks
Glossy Ibis
Black Tailed Godwits
Spoon Billed Stork

Watch the birds. Focus and be ready to click when they get into action. For such shots you will need to set the shutter speed to at least 1/1000.

Northern Shovellers
Spot Billed Ducks & Pintails
Spot Billed Ducks
Black Headed Ibis
River Tern

Wow !!! That was a great morning.

If you want to learn Bird Photography then you may consider taking this course. Click the link below:-

https://www.udemy.com/photographing-birds/

An evening at Marina Bay, Singapore

An evening at Marina Bay, Singapore

Marina bay is an amazing example of man made structures which are truly awesome. This was my first visit and I was awe struck by its beauty and glamour. Once a quiet body of water at the mouth of Singapore River, its now a bustling play ground of the rich and common alike. Come evening and this place is absolutely mesmerizing.

We arrived here early evening to explore the area. Everything was spick and span, no sign of dirt anywhere. People had started gathering around the Merlion, the national symbol of Singapore. People were busy capturing the moment and taking selfies.

As the dusk approached the surroundings became magical. Sharing few snaps through my lens. Enjoy!!

Look around and you will find many images to capture. As the lights come on, the surroundings dazzle.

Rains come here without warning, the good point is that it doesn’t last long .

Every evening there is a light and sound show here which is really worth the while. Do plan to stay late a bit if want to watch this spectacular show.

Do make it a point to get on top of the sky park at Marina Bay Sands. The view from here is spectacular.

There is much more then just Marina Bay in Singapore, more about them in the posts which will follow. Cheers !!

Trip to Murudeshwar

Trip to Murudeshwar

To enjoy the monsoons we took a road trip in July 2018 from Pune to Jog falls. We visited few interesting places during this trip such as Amboli Ghat in Maharashtra, Goa, Gokarna, Murudeshwar and Jog falls in Karnataka.

This blog is about our visit to Murudeshwar, a coastal town in Maharashtra, famous for the Murudeshwar Temple and world’s second tallest statue of Shiva. The town lies on the coast of the Arabian Sea.

The area has been aesthitically landscaped. A garden along the coast has statue of the Sun God and another statue is of Lord Krishna on a chariot giving sermons to Arjun.

The temple itself is a tall structure. You can take a lift all the way up to the obsevation deck from where you get an awesome view of the Shiva Statue.

The artificial cave below the Shiva statue hold many statues which depicts the story of Mahabali and the Vamana Avtar of Vishnu.

The statues at Murudeshwar are a fine example to indian workmanship. Do find time and take a trip to enjoy the environment.