On World Heritage Day this year (i.e. on April 18) I had posted a photo essay on Celebrating World Heritage Day with 10 Heritage Monuments from India.And while shortlisting pictures for this post, I came across some other beautiful pictures and sights in India, that just compelled me to write this post. Hence posting another photo essay on 10 beautiful sights to see in India that too in a unique way.
Now all of us visit the typical touristy sights at some point in time or the other, but with my own travels I have discovered that many of these places are even more stunning or beautiful when some minor natural / artificial elements, ceremonies, etc are introduced or amended. And I feel that in some ways, these sights then become a unique travel souvenir – images in your own memory or a wonderful story. This is also what takes your holiday to a whole new level. I am sharing 10 of my own such memories (from my recent visits) with you today –
1. Waiting and waiting for that rare yet wondrous sight of the snow-covered Kangchenjunga peak on a day with clear blue sky (and this is very rare :), West Bengal – Sikkim –
Kangchenjunga Peak, from West Bengal
Today and on the 18th April of every year , ICOMOS i.e. International Council on Monuments and Sites celebrates the “International Day for Monuments and Sites”. The aim of the International Day is to encourage local communities and individuals throughout the world to recognize the importance of cultural heritage in their lives, identities and communities, and to promote awareness of its diversity and vulnerability and the efforts required to protect and conserve it. And I thought what better way to celebrate it on my blog than with a photo essay on 10 of my favorite heritage monuments and sites that I have been lucky enough to visit recently. I am limiting myself to 10, as I can go on and on with these pictures and the post can be never ending.
1. The Mumbai CST Station and the heritage walk on DN Road –
Mumbai CST Station, Mumbai, Maharashtra
After the successful darshans of Choolgiriji (Khaniyaji) and Sanganer; we arrived at our final destination for this quick trip and that was, Padampura. Padampura is a small town (around 33kms from Jaipur) and famous for the temple of miracles i.e. Bara Padampura. This unique temple is known for the beautiful and captivating idol of our 6th Teerthankar (God), Bhagwan Padamprabhuji. This idol had appeared in Vaishakh Shukla 5 V.S. 2001 and is a small idol of 2 feet and 4 inches in a padmasan (sitting) position and made of white (though now looks off-white / yellow) stone.
The Bara Padampura Temple
Continuing my journey (from my previous post Choolgiriji, Khaniyaji) on the Jain temple trail, I reached the small town of Sanganer, which is situated 16 km south of Jaipur City on National Highway No. 12, Kota – Jaipur Road. This is a historical town and famous for textile printing and handmade paper industry. However its most famous for the old and beautiful Shri Digamber Jain temple Sanghiji.
This is an ancient temple in red stone and exquisite carvings, that represents the old style of architecture and was completed in many phases. Per the inscription of V.S. 1011 in one of the pylons (Toranas), the last phase was completed in 10th century A.D. In this temple the Mulnayak Pratima (main idol) is of our first tirthankar, Lord Adinath (Rishabh Dev), made of local stone and expected to be more than 4000 years old. This temple is seven storied and has sky-high ‘shikharas’ (spires) and the inner sanctum is a stone shrine with skyhigh eight Shikharas (pinnacles). The inner temple is a stone shrine with three pinnacles and carvings of lotuses, creepers and elephants pouring water from pitchers held in their trunks all around.
The main entrance of the temple
Since I have started traveling, I have discovered numerous new categories within travel – rural, dark, voluntarism, responsible, eco, cultural, spiritual, action, active, etc etc. But along with experimenting with all of these, I have tried another type of travel that is both rural and a spiritual experience. This is the Jain temple trail i.e. visiting ancient Jain temples in smaller unknown villages and towns in India. Initially I didn’t like temples and like everyone my age group around had to be either dragged or emotionally blackmailed by parents into visiting them. But after a few such recent visits something in me has definitely changed. I have now come to like these visits and consider them a photographic and a spiritual delight. Many of these temples are really ancient and hence have a unique architecture, carvings, intricate patterns, some in ruins, etc that make beautiful pictures and on the other hand somehow these temples just bring about a certain sense of peace / harmony within me. My mom says, this because of the ultimate faith that people who built these temples then had in religion which still lingers in these old places / temples.
Entrance to the temple, Choolgiriji, Khaniyaji
The topic for this week’s weekly photo challenge is Focus inspired by Matthew George’s post on focus, in which he talks about highlighting the subject of your picture frame using the concept of depth of field. Using this concept and playing with the aperture settings, a single sight can be captured in multiple ways thereby making your audience concentrate on different subjects with each frame.
For this topic, I have decided to share my picture of an Indian Roller bird that I clicked in the jungles of Rajasthan last winter. When I first saw this bird, I just gaped at it for a while as I was so awestruck with its colors and then I remembered my camera and clicked this bird in about 12 different poses. I guess it enjoyed my foolishness and hence decided to humor me by patiently sitting and modeling for me 🙂 In this pic, I have just focused on the bird, resulting it to be sharp and the resulting background to be blurred.
The Indian Roller posing for my camera
Pushkar is any vegetarian and budget traveler’s food paradise. 🙂
The majority of the travelers visiting this town are foreigners and they live here for long periods of time. But the entire town is a temple town, hence any form of meat and alcohol is strictly prohibited. This has resulted in all kinds of cuisine being available here in their pure vegetarian avatars. This town is really small and for all practical purposes just one long winding road, but the number of eating options in terms of places and variety is just mind-boggling. And all this is available at dirt cheap prices.
So it’s no wonder that when a foodie like me landed in this town what happened – well I literally ate my way through the streets. My friends, Sonal and Partha had been to Pushkar a couple of months before us and they had spent about 10 days exploring this place and its hidden food gems. We tried their recommendations and found some of our own too. We were literally eating every 30 minutes here.
Since I loved the food here so much, I am now listing the same below for everyone who is visiting this amazing town to try out and enjoy. Since I was busy eating and now reminiscing while writing, the descriptions are quite short. Hence take this as a teaser and visit Pushkar for your own experience. 🙂
- Pohas – Every morning all along the roads people come with carts and set up street side poha stalls. Poha is a kind of flat rice which is cooked with vegetable likes potato and peas and served with a garnish of fresh tomatoes, coriander etc. This simple dish served in a newspaper for just Rs 5 is the most amazing poha that I have ever eaten anywhere in India or at home. This is a must try for at least one day breakfast.
A Poha Stall