Archives for posts with tag: Photography

Connaught Place or “Rajiv Chowk” is a historical center of commerce in the bustling Indian Capital, Delhi.  Composed of Concentric Circles of historical buildings built with a Victorian sensibility that stand as a the residue of India’s British past, though the atmosphere of the place in undeniably Indian.  A nation where a populist unlicensed street vendors and elitist Gucci stores stand face-to-face.  Is uneven progress is better than no progress at all?  Like a party where the early birds get to eat the most….One nation ruled by the almighty  ladder…

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Twelve kilometers from the historical city of Ajmer, Rajasthan lies the holy Hindu lake of Pushkar.  According to legend, the Hindu creator god, Brahma, came down from the heavens to perform a yagna by the lake he’d created.  However, he could not complete the yagna without the presence of his wife, Sarasvati, and consequently Brahma chose the next-best option of getting another wife, Gayatri.  When an enraged Sarasvati found out, she placed a cursed on Brahma which stipulated that he could only be worshiped in Pushkar.  Hence, the only major temple devoted to Brahma in the world is situated in Pushkar and hundreds of thousands of pilgrims flock to Pushkar to worship their cursed creator.

The modern Pushkar is now a holy tourist area.  Being a holy lake, there is no meat and not a drop of alcohol to be found anywhere in Pushkar (although smoking seems to lack the sacrilegious edge and thus not banned).  Pushkar is not only popular with internal tourists on pilgrimage but also with international tourists.  To take advantage of the economic advantage of being in the tourist map, Pushkar has certainly adapted as many hotels, restaurants (many with disastrously Indianised western food as I came to discover) and souvenir stores have mushroomed throughout the periphery of the lake.  Although India is an intimidatingly large country, Pushkar is comfortably small.  All major sites can be comfortably reached on foot and one does not to depend on tempos and taxis as they are an unnecessary luxury.

The holy lake, whose peculiar green color seems to indicate that it is a victim of significant pollution that comes along with urbanization and tourist trade, is surrounded by 52 historical ghats (steps leading to the lake).  Each ghat is dedicated to the historical kingdom that built it (Jaipur, Kot, Gurjar etc) or even people like Mahatma Gandhi or Queen Elizabeth II.   The Hindu tradition that lies at the heart of the pilgrimage involves parikrama  (walking around the lake or any other holy Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh place in a clockwise direction), bathing in the lake and pooja.

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On the banks of the Yamuna River at Vrindavan, old, dilapidated pieces of history stand today at the three Ghats, or a series of steps leading to the water level of a river, which are namely Arati Ghat, Akura Ghat, and the famous Kesi Ghat.  This Ghat is famous throughout India as it is believed to be the place around which Lord Krishna spent his childhood.

Small Boats wait for a Repair job on the North bank of Yamuna river at Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh

Pedestrian Bridge under-construction over the Yamuna Bridge near Kesi Ghat

Pannas and Sadhus congregate at Kesi Ghat

A Medevial Building on Akura Ghat

An Archway at Akura Ghat

A Sadhu Rests underneath an Arch at Kesi Ghat

Another Sadhu Walks towards Kesi Ghat from Akura Ghat

Kesi Ghat with the Famous Kadam Tree on the Background

A Push Cart Stands besides a Small Resting House at Kesi Ghat

Rhesus Monkeys Enjoying Bananas Offered by Pilgrims at Akura Ghat

A Watch Tower that Looks Out at the Yamuna River at Kesi Ghat

On a lazy Saturday afternoon I decided to kill some time by visiting western parts of the Kathmandu valley that is not necessarily on the tourist map.  I decided to visit Mathathirtha VDC, then head south and east to Macchegaon VDC and move on to Kirtipur Municipality, which is one of the five municipalities within the Kathmandu Valley.  In order to reach Mathathirtha VDC and its waterspouts, I first reached Kalanki Chowk, and headed west on the Kalanki-Thankot Highway for some two kilometers to Sattungal.  I took a left here and headed south and west towards the famous Mathathirtha waterspouts.  These waterspouts are visited by thousands of people where they bathe during the Nepali version of “Mother’s Day” which falls in late Spring.  Then I headed south and east towards Machhegaon.  Macchegaon is a VDC that lies somewhere between Mathathirtha VDC and Kirtipur Municipality.  At Macchegaon I visited Bishnu Devi Temple and Macche Narayan Temple.  Then I headed east towards Kirtipur Municipality and spent some time at the Kirtipur Thai Pagoda and the famous Baag Bhairab Temple – a landmark easily identified in Kirtipur vicinity.

A Boy at the Gates of Matatirtha Waterspouts

Matatirtha Temple and the Waterspouts

In Macchegaon VDC lie two famous temples – Bishnu Devi Temple and Macche Narayan Temple.  Macchegaon Temple is dedicated to the first avatar of Vishnu, Matsya the fish.  Thus, the temple is fittingly placed in the middle of a pond.  Matsya helped rescue Manu, the progenitors of the human race from a great flood.  The metaphysical aspects of the temple design cannot be more obvious.

Macche Narayan Temple

The Statue of Garuda at Macche Narayan Temple

 

Bishnudevi Temple which lies Nextdoors to Macche Narayan Temple

In Kirtipur, there is a nice pagoda built with the assistance of Thai Airlines.

Motorbikes and Electricity Poles

 

Thai Pagoda at Kirtipur

 

The Pagoda

 

The Monastery with Tribhuvan University on the Background

Bagh Bhairab Temple

 

In the Courtyard of Bagh Bhairab Temple

 

The Gate of Bagh Bhairab Temple