Friday, 13 November 2015

Destination Patan

Some places need to be experienced rather than be seen through photographs! Rani ki Vav , the mother of step wells in one such place! Breath takingly beautiful and the fact that it was buried under the silt and excavated only in the late 80's adds to its mystery and romance. An UNESCO heritage site has now inspired me to visit all the sites tagged in India

Date : August 2015
Place : Patan, Gujarat

Tip:Taxi can be hired from compass tourism
First: Inverted temple
The Travel Connection: The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step- Lao Tzu

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Destination New Delhi

The capital of the country has so many places to explore. A fortification here, an astronomy observatory there! Mughal Mausoleums right around the corner and how can one miss the Delhi Bazaars and mega malls. Then there is the Lutyen's Delhi with linear vistas and grand buildings. Without getting overwhelmed, it is best to explore the city of magic and mayhem one at a time. And that is what I got a chance to do in 2015.

One of my visits was to Khan market. Wiki told me that it is the world's 21'st most expensive retail high street and the of course the costliest retail location in India. These facts let you assume that you will be at high end shopping paradise with all the facilities. What you end up in is a complex very much like our very own double storey BDA complex chock o block with cars and two Wheeler double parked with hardly any pedestrian walkway. Dirty kitchen exhaust , AC outdoor units, plumbing lines,syntex tanks and faux facade stare at you in abundance. But this hasn't stopped any of the luxury brands and well know restaurants to set up shop here. The narrow linear space of each of the store is effectively and creatively used and once you are inside a store, you are transported immediately  to the snooty world!

I got an opportunity to take an early morning walk around some of the architectural instruments at Jantar Mantar. As the guides had not  started their day, the plaques became my guide. And here I am listing the only bit of information I remember from that morning. The construction of these marvels began in 1724 close to 300 years back . The eccentric looking curved tall structures with calibrations surrounded by high rise modern buildings make for good photography. I wish there was somebody around to explain the movement of stars and sun to me!

The Samrat Yantra measured the accurate time of the day. It also measured the declination of the sun which can be seen by the shadow moving around the structure

 The Ram Yantra- two large cylindrical structures with open top, used to measure the altitude of stars based on the latitude and the longitude on the earth


Mishra Yantra is used to measure the shortest day (December 21) and the longest day (June 21) of the year

Humayun's tomb , an amalgamation of Persian and Mughal architecture is considered to be the inspiration for the well known Taj Mahal. After its restoration in 2013, I consider it equal if not better than it's marble cousin. The almost perfectly proportioned mausoleum standing high on platform of arches surrounded by gardens is at the same time very grounded due to its use of red sand stone. Almost 450 years old , it was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1993. All these dates reminds me the dreaded history exams where we had to spell out dates.  Where better than New Delhi for a quick lesson on the bygone days!

Date : 2015
Place : New Delhi
Tip: Early morning light is the best time for architecture photography.
First: Extreme Contrast in interior and exterior
The Travel Connection: "Travel, in younger sort, is part education: in the elder, part experience." - Francis Bacon

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