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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 five 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.

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.

Nepal Trip : Kathmandu and places near by

Nepal Trip : Kathmandu and places near by

Nepal is a tourists delight, there is something here for every one. For those who can trek for days and live off their backpack, there is the beauty of the Himalayas to explore and cherish the best, the nature has to offer. For those who are short on time and want to be vehicle bound, Kathmandu and Pokhara  are the places to explore. This blog is about my days spent in and around Kathmandu with my camera exploring its heritage and spirituality. This is more of a photo essay, in case you want to see a larger view of an image, click on it.

Patan Durbar Square  is one of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of its attraction is the ancient royal palace where the Malla Kings of Lalitpur resided. There is so much to explore and learn here about the rich heritage of Nepal. This place lies in ruins currently due to the massive earthquake of 2015. A massive effort is on to restore its crumbled glory. I just couldn’t stop taking photos here, just sharing a handful.

Golden Temple close to Patan Darbar Square has the finest metal craftsmanship which I have seen. A must visit while travelling to Kathmandu, Nepal.

Pashupatinath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and  is one of the most important religious sites in Asia for devotees of Lord Shiva. The temple was built in the 5th century and later renovated by Malla kings.  It is also a cremation site where the last rites of Hindus are performed.

Swayambhunath is an ancient religious architecture atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu city. The Tibetan name for the site means ‘Sublime Trees’, for the many varieties of trees found on the hill. Wikipedia

You  get birds eye view of Kathmandu Valley from here. There is lot of peace here. Beware of the monkeys and there are lots of steps to climb too.

Buodnath  is a stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. Located about 11 km from the center and northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the stupa’s massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal. The Buddhist stupa of Boudhanath dominates the skyline; it is one of the largest stupas in the world. Wikipedia 

Chandragiri Hill about an hours drive from Kathmandu is 2551 meters above sea level. This hill is connected with both Buddhist and Hindu religions. The hill provides panoramic views of Kathmandu Valley and the Himalayan ranges from Annapurna to Everest on a clear day. A cable car takes you to the top in about 15 minutes.

Bhaktapur is known for its glorious architecture; sky-high temples built in pagoda style – which is believed to be the stairway to the heaven, fine clay pottery, and massive royal courtyards whose existence date back to the 12th century, where devotees, still, celebrate their pre-historic festivals by equal amount of gusto and passion. It is a UNESCO heritage site. The city is about an hours drive from Kathmandu.

…….and that’s us enjoying the awesome sunset from roof top of Sambhala Hotel, Kathmandu.

Though Nepal and its towns will take a lot of time to recover from the ravages of the 2015 earthquake, there is a lot see and explore. A blog cannot do justice so I have decided to create a Photo Book on Nepal to include my visit to Kathmandu and Pokhara which will be soon announced on this very website. Best Wishes.


Ajanta Caves through my lens

Ajanta Caves through my lens

About 107 Km from Aurangabad, Maharashtra in India lies the Ajanta caves(30 in all) declared as an UNESCO heritage site in 1983.

When you are driving towards the Ajanta Caves from Aurangabad, about 12 kilometers short of the caves you will come across a very prominent Y Junction. Go left and you will reach a view point from where you get this birds eye view of the caves. You will subsequently have to drive back to reach the main entrance of the caves.

A visit to the Ajanta caves in early 2018 cast a mesmerizing spell and the memory of the magnificent murals, paintings and sculptors still linger on.

History has it that the sculpting of the caves began in 200 BC and continued for many centuries. For some unknown reason the caves were abandoned in 900 AD and fell prey to the elements of nature. These were accidentally re-discovered by Capt John Smith in 1819 during a hunt while he was chasing a tiger.

The rock cut caves are a reminder of rich heritage of India and its people. The sculptures glorify Buddha as a teacher and those who sculpted it certainly aimed to etch memories in stone for generation to come. Absolutely awesome, amazing and divine !!

If history interests you then Links and a video at the end of this blog may interest you.

I for one soaked in the awesome beauty of art which can be seen in these caves. Absolutely amazing. Sharing with you photos taken during the visit in random order.

The murals in few caves are amazing and speak volumes for the Indian Artisans.

The murals mostly depict the life of Buddha and Jataka Tales, however, few do portray the day to day life of kings of those days.

It took centuries to sculpt the caves and the sculptures within, and yet the whole thing looks so well coordinated. The art form was passed from generation to generations who continued to create an awesome story depicting the life of “The Buddha”.

Unfinished caves ??

I don’t really have words to describe what I have posted above. I presume the pictures tell the story.

If history of these caves interest you then you may like to click on the links below to know more. My aim was to take you through a pictorial journey of the Ajanta Caves, I hope you enjoyed it.