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.
In this slide show you will get a look at some of the wonderful places to visit when you are in srirangapatna, starting at ; Masjid-i-Ala (also called Jama Masjid)
Colonel Bailey’s Dungeon
Ragantha Swamy Temple
Dariya Daulat Bagh-Summer Palace
Srirangapatna was the scene of the last and decisive battle fought between Tipu Sultan and a combined force of 50,000 men provided equally by the Nizam of Hyderabad and the East India Company under the overall command of General George Harris. This battle was the last engagement of the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War. The Battle of Seringapatam, 1799, was truly momentous in its historic effects.
At the battle’s climax, Tipu Sultan was killed within the fort of Seringapatam, betrayed by one of his own confidants; the spot where he ultimately fell is marked by a memorial. For the last time in history, Seringapatam had been the scene of political change in the Sultanate of Mysore. The joint forces of the victorious army proceeded to plunder Seringapatam and ransack Tipu’s palace. Apart from the usual gold and cash, innumerable valuables and objects d’art, not excepting even the personal effects of Tipu Sultan, his rich clothes and shoes, sword and firearms, were shipped to England.
n 2013 whilst driving around the Ma Hong Son Loop we stopped off at Pong Dueat Geyser and hot springs. The geysers were not blowing very high but the hot springs were lovely and i would definatley go again!
This place also offers you the hot springs with great facilities situate amid the picturesque views of the mountain forest. There are tents and bungalows offers for visitors who want to stay overnight.
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.
In 2015 I spent 5months travelling around Southern India. One of the things that struck me the most was there were so many Temples! This one in Mysore is the second in my video collection.
Chamundi Hill is about 13 kms from Mysore, which is a prominent city in Karnataka State of India. Chamundi Hills is famous not only in India but also abroad. ‘Chamundi’ or ‘Durga’ at atop of the hil, the famous Sri Chamundeswari Temple is the fierce form of ‘Shakti’. She is the slayer of demons, ‘Chanda’ and ‘Munda’ and also ‘Mahishasura’, the buffalow-headed monster.
She is the tutelary deity of the Mysore Maharajas and the presiding deity of Mysore. For several centuries they have held the Goddess, Chamundeswari, in great reverence.
In ‘Skanda Purana’ and other ancient texts, it is mention a sacred place called ‘Trimuta Kshetra’ surrounded by eight hills. lying along side of west is the Chamundi Hills, it is one among the eight hills. In the earlier days, the hill was identified as ‘Mahabaladri’ in honour of God Shiva who resides in the ‘Mahabaleswara Temple’; this is the oldest temple on the hills.
Jantar Mantar of Jaipur is one of the five observatories constructed by Jai Singh II. Ujjain, Delhi and Varanasi are the other cities that house the remaining Jantar Mantars but there remain no traces of the one at Mathura.
Among the many instruments that are part of this observatory is the world’s biggest sundial. Jantar Mantar is located just a stone’s throw from City Palace and Hawa Mahal and features instruments made of stone and brass that were built using instrument design principles from ancient texts.
In all there are 19 instruments that help observe astronomical positions with the naked eye. Jantar Mantar is a fine example of Ptolemaic positional astronomy and has instruments that operate in each of the three main classical celestial coordinate systems: the ecliptic system, the horizon-zenith local system and the equatorial system.
When it suffered some damage in the 19th century, Major Arthur Garrett, an amateur astronomer who was posted as the Assistant State Engineer in Jaipur, undertook the first major restoration work on Jantar Mantar. As of 2010, Jantar Mantar has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites and remains a gem of Jaipur that cannot be missed.
When i was in Cochin in 2015 I saw these wonderfully coloured Rickshaws in the grounds of a Hotel waiting for their start of the now famous Rickshaw challenge India.
1st January 2015, they start the rally in Cochin, Kerala on the southern part of India, and driving up India’s west coast to reach Jaisalmer, Rajasthan in northern India two weeks later (hopefully). Along the way, they pass through the beautiful beaches of Goa, the mountains of Nasik, the chaos of Mumbai, and many other parts of India.
The Rickshaw Run is the brainchild of a UK company called The Adventurists. They are most famous for the Mongol Rally, a race that brings participants from London all the way to Mongolia. Every adventure they run raises money for some charities. So far teams on their adventures have raised a total of 5 million GBP!
To quote them, “Here at The Adventurists we don’t want sunsets and ‘finding oneself’ we want danger and adventure, the clue is in our name. Our adventures are all hard-core and pose great risk to individuals health, however that’s the way we like to live.
The Rickshaw Run is no exception.” Their motto in life: fighting to make the world less boring.
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.