In 2015 I was on a four month trip round Southern India. In the state of Tamil Nadu is the town of mamallapuram, famous for many things but this slide show focuses on its wonderful lighthouse and it’s recent new museum.
Originally closed in 2001 during tensions between the country and insurgents, Mamallapuram Lighthouse has now opened to the public for exploration. The modern circular lighthouse (dating back to 1905) stands atop a rocky outcrop next to the country’s oldest temple/beacon, built in 640 CE. Enter the lighthouse and climb its many stairs for spectacular views of the sea and the ancient temple carved into the rock face. Come prepared to climb and bring plenty of water.
Mamallapuram Lighthouse has been open for public view since 2011. The circular masonry tower of the Lighthouse is made of natural stones . Climbing on the stones and atop the Lighthouse (yes, you are allowed to climb) can be a real treat. From the top, the view is capable of captivating its audience.
One of the most pristine and panoramic beaches in kannur- India. We stayed here to attend the Theyyam rituals particular to North Kerela. The bonus was the stunning Beach reached by the backwater pool left by the tide which was out.
This was one of our most unexpected highlights of the trip which I did on 2015, but also one of the most welcome, it is fast becoming a popular place to go as more and more people discover it, I would highly recommend it before it gets overrun with holiday makers, oblivious to it’s deeper beauty!
One of the hardest things when photographing this was because of the unstinting sunlight, getting the colour of the sand right and trying to get it the correct colour. A near impossible task!
In 2015 i spent 5 months in Southern India, and photographed the Mysore Palace during the day. This huge area has four gates and many temples inside the grounds. What follows is some historical info ;
Mysore Palace is the central piece of Mysore’s attractions. The sprawling Mysore Palace is located in the heart of Mysore city. Rather the roads out of Mysore city appears radiating from the palace.
The interior of Mysore Palace is richly carved, intricate, colorful and architecturally thrilling.
It is from this palace the erstwhile rulers , the Wodeyars, ruled the Mysore Kingdom (see Maharajas of Mysore ).
Though Mysore is often referred to as the “City of Palaces”, the term Mysore Palace refers to the largest and the most opulent of all its surviving palaces located in the city center, called the Amba Vilas Palace.
Mysore Palace history spans for more than 500 years. But what you see now in Mysore is the modern palace built in 1912. As mentioned earlier the first palace was built during 14th century by the then Wodeyar kings. After the fall of Vijayanagar , and the subsequent power shifts in the region, Raja Wodeyar moved the capital to Srirangapatna from Mysore in 1610.
The palace in Mysore however continued to serve as a royal residence. The palace is basically a three storied structure with a 44 meter ( 145 feet ) central tower. Pinkish marble domes adorn the number of towers configured in perfect symmetry.
The first attraction is the Doll Pavilion as you enter the museum. Antiques made of gold, silver, marble , ivory from around the world are on display. Some of them as old as 900 years.
The central portion of the palace is a huge court open to the sky. Beyond is the royal Marriage Hall (Kalyana Mantapa ) , the most awe-inspiring portion of the palace.
The five storied tower of the palace makes a majestic dome over this hall. The walls along the corridors are decorated with oil paintings of royal themes. A host of ceremonies and festivals of the bygone era is depicted in these painting in all its vividness and details.
If you’re looking to learn a bit more about the local history, check out Itthi Military Base. It tells the story of the times when the mountain was at the centre of violent clashes between Communist insurgent and the Thai Army. You can see vehicles, guns, and other weapons that were used during the fighting, as well as maps, reconstructions of bunkers, and other exhibits and displays. The nearby Khao Koh Sacrificial Monument, made from marble, honours police officers, members of the military, and local people who tried to protect the area during time of trouble
During 2013 I was travelling at the later end of a Year across Central Asia and SEA. Whilst in Laos which I covered extensively up in the North near Sam Nuea I visited these Menhirs. I hope you enjoy seeing them too?
Shah Jahan was a member of the Mughal dynasty that ruled most of northern India from the early 16th to the mid 18th-century. After the death of his father, King Jahangir, in 1627, Shah Jahan emerged the victor of a bitter power struggle with his brothers, and crowned himself emperor at Agra in 1628. At his side was Arjumand Banu Begum, better known as Mumtaz Mahal (“Chosen One of the Palace”), whom he married in 1612 and cherished as the favorite of his three queens.
Did You Know? According to one gruesome (and most likely sensational) story, Shah Jahan had his minions cut off the hands of the Taj Mahal’s architect and his workers after the structure was completed, ensuring they would never build another of its kind.
In 1631, Mumtaz Mahal died after giving birth to the couple’s 14th child. The grieving Shah Jahan, known for commissioning a number of impressive structures throughout his reign, ordered the building of a magnificent mausoleum across the Yamuna River from his own royal palace at Agra. Construction began around 1632 and would continue for the next two decades. The chief architect was probably Ustad Ahmad Lahouri, an Indian of Persian descent who would later be credited with designing the Red Fort at Delhi. In all, more than 20,000 workers from India, Persia, Europe and the Ottoman Empire, along with some 1,000 elephants, were brought in to build the mausoleum complex. Design and Construction of the Taj Mahal Named the Taj Mahal in honor of Mumtaz Mahal, the mausoleum was constructed of white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones (including jade, crystal, lapis lazuli, amethyst and turquoise) forming intricate designs in a technique known as pietra dura. Its central dome reached a height of 240 feet (73 meters) and was surrounded by four smaller domes; four slender towers, or minarets, stood at the corners. In accordance with Islamic tradition, verses from the Quran were inscribed in calligraphy on the arched entrances to the mausoleum, in addition to numerous other sections of the complex. Inside the mausoleum, an octagonal marble chamber adorned with carvings and semi-precious stones housed the cenotaph, or false tomb, of Mumtaz Mahal. The real sarcophagus containing her actual remains lay below, at garden level.
The rest of the Taj Mahal complex included a main gateway of red sandstone and a square garden divided into quarters by long pools of water, as well as a red sandstone mosque and an identical building called a jawab (or “mirror”) directly across from the mosque. Traditional Mughal building practice would allow no future alterations to be made to the complex. As the story goes, Shah Jahan intended to build a second grand mausoleum across the Yamuna River from the Taj Mahal, where his own remains would be buried when he died; the two structures were to have been connected by a bridge. In fact, Aurangzeb (Shah Jahan’s third son with Mumtaz Mahal) deposed his ailing father in 1658 and took power himself. Shah Jahan lived out the last years of his life under house arrest in a tower of the Red Fort at Agra, with a view of the majestic resting place he had constructed for his wife; when he died in 1666, he was buried next to her. The Taj Mahal Over the Years
Under Aurangzeb’s long rule (1658-1707), the Mughal empire reached the height of its strength. However, his militant Muslim policies, including the destruction of many Hindu temples and shrines, undermined the enduring strength of the empire and led to its demise by the mid-18th century. Even as Mughal power crumbled, the Taj Mahal suffered from neglect and disrepair in the two centuries after Shah Jahan’s death. Near the turn of the 19th century, Lord Curzon, then British viceroy of India, ordered a major restoration of the mausoleum complex as part of a colonial effort to preserve India’s artistic and cultural heritage.
Today, some 3 million people a year (or around 45,000 a day during peak tourist season) visit the Taj Mahal. Air pollution from nearby factories and automobiles poses a continual threat to the mausoleum’s gleaming white marble facade, and in 1998, India’s Supreme Court ordered a number of anti-pollution measures to protect the building from deterioration. Some factories were closed, while vehicular traffic was banned from the immediate vicinity of the complex.
n 2013 I had the great delight of visiting the Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden.
I would firstly like to thank and credit the Artists and creators of these wonderful Sculptures and apologies for not knowing their names.
Heralded as the first of it’s kind in the UK, The Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden has been proudly exhibiting contemporary sculpture in a unique and magical environment for over 30 years.
he Khao Kho Sacrificial Monument was constructed as a monument for civilians, soldiers, and police who lose their lives to protect the border between Phitsanulok, Petchaboon, and Loei from communists from 1968-1982. The monument is a triangular slab of marble that is 24 meters in height, signifying the Buddhist year of 2524 or 1981 when civilians, soldiers, and police held a joint operation to crack down on the communists for good. The interior wall is inscribed with a description of the fight and the names of those who lost their lives.
The Khao Kho wind farm is located on an area of 350 rai and uses GE Thailand Company’s technology. There are a total of 24 windmills that are 110 meters in height. The windmills do not create much noise pollution since each emits less than 50 decibel of noise and can produce 60 megawatts of electricity or 140 million units a year. It has been in operation since May 2016 and apart from generating electricity for the province, it has also brought in tourism revenue.
In early 2015 I visited Myanmar. During my three weeks I travelled from Yangon to Bagan, to Kalaw in the mountains and then down to Inle Lake.
This is the first slide show showing you Yangon and some of the wonderful colonial and modern buildings along with some of the religious buildings too.
Yangon stands on the east bank of the oceanic River Yangon, about 30km from the Andaman Sea. It came to prominence in the latter half of the 19th century when the British made it the capital of their new imperial possession. The colonial port area is still the commercial centre, though the heart of the city remains the gigantic gold Shwedagon Pagoda, visible from most places and so the main focal point.
Wat Rong Khun, better known as “the White Temple” is one of the most recognizable temples in Thailand. The temple outside the town of Chiang Rai attracts a large number of visitors, both Thai and foreign, making it one of Chiang Rai’s most visited attractions.
Wat Rong Khun is a unique temple that stands out through the white color and the use of pieces of glass in the plaster, sparkling in the sun. The white color signifies the purity of the Buddha, while the glass symbolizes the Buddha’s wisdom and the Dhamma, the Buddhist teachings.
The Wat Rong Khun was designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a famous Thai visual artist. To date the temple is not finished. Eventually there will be nine buildings including an ubosot, a hall to enshrine Buddhist relics, a meditation hall, the monks living quarters and an art gallery.
On May 5th 2014 a strong earthquake hit Chiang Rai. Although the white temple was badly damaged, Chalermchai Kositpipat decided to restore and further expand the Wat Rong Khun.
History of the Wat Rong Khun Towards the end of the 20th century, the original Wat Rong Khun was in a very poor state of preservation. Restoration works on the temple started, but had to be halted due to a lack of funds. Chalermchai Kositpipat, a artist born in Chiang Rai, decided to completely rebuild the temple and fund the project with his own money. The artist built the temple to be a center of learning and meditation and for people to gain benefit from the Buddhist teachings. Today the works are ongoing.