I went to PatniTop a small hill top tourist location in the state of Jammu Kashmir . The place is quite near to the Hindu holy shrine of Vaishno Devi which is quite a popular religious site in India.
Since we have the monsoon season currently going on here the place was expected to be full of lush green landscapes, meadows and full of trees.
The place being at height of close to 2000m from sea level was anyway expected to be cool but as the monsoon was yet to grab pace we were told that its quite hot and humid there and not worth going.
Luckily for us by the time we reached Jammu the weather changed and we had some overnight rain in Patnitop because of which the weather became quite pleasant and cool. But what we found was beyond our expectations.
Just before we reached the top, clouds started to cover the whole landscape and soon it became too foggy and misty. It was literally as if we were among the clouds. It was quite a welcome relief from the humid plains that we were leaving behind.
Although I have been to many hill stations but I have never experienced such a misty and foggy climate. And to top that the accommodation we booked was right in the middle of a meadow with clouds hovering around. It was simply breathtaking.
So being in the middle of this beautiful nature, how can I miss an opportunity to take an early morning walk ???? 🙂 🙂
Sharing some of the pictures that I took….
Was hoping for the sun to come out a bit as a little bit of sun light would have added a spectacular golden touch to the already mesmerizing surrounding….
On my last official visit to Grenoble France, I did manage to take few stroll across the city admiring its architectures and trying to absorb some of its culture. Unfortunately the weather was not that favorable and it was mostly cloudy and wet. But somehow the photographer in me was not bobbed down by it and I did manage to capture some of the beautiful and magnificent buildings that it had to offer.
Presenting some picture from one of the evening strolls I took to the La Collegial Saint-Andre Church.
The church of Saint-André , also called Saint Andrew’s Church, which is a religious building located in Grenoble on the Place Saint-André in front of the old Palace of the Parliament of Dauphiné . This is the former private chapel of dolphins founded in 1228 to house their burials.
The construction began on the church in 1228 under the order of the Dauphin Guigues VI. Like the other 13th and 14th century religious and noble constructions in Grenoble, the church is built of brick. The Saint-André de Grenoble was intended by its founder as Palatine Chapel and burial of his dynasty. The building was destroyed in 1562 by the Protestant troops during the Wars of Religion.
Protected by the chevalier Bayard who stands fearlessly and inoffensively in the centre of this square, you can take a seat at one of France’s oldest cafés, La Table Ronde, which opened in 1739. This is where Stendhal liked to sit and write.
Site of the Dauphins’ power, Saint André square is lined by the former parliament house of Dauphiné with its Renaissance and Gothic facades.
The pictures inside the church did not come out well, some due to my poor low light photography skills and some due to the apprehensions I had inside an empty church (I was bit scared of being approached by someone to be preached)
Even when churches are full, you tend to feel a complete sense of solitude inside and this being empty had that feeling in plenty and despite my sense of being scared I could find some calmness.
In the memory of deceased of the dynasty.
Prep remembers the alumni who have passed away, and believes that for these members of the Prep brotherhood, vita mutatur, non tollitur – life is changed, not ended.
Indeed one of my best lone walk, the one which I fully cherished. I plan to visit this place again next time I happen to go to Grenoble as after researching for this place I find that there is much more to explore at this area and even if not at least to experience the serenity and calmness that the church has to offer 🙂
Ending with my favorite shot of this walk.
The only thing that can take the focus of a Man away from a beautiful woman is a Beautiful Car ~Me
For the first time this year the Annual Automobile Exhibition for India happened near my office , so I got the opportunity to visit it first time in my life.
Sharing some glimpses that I somehow managed to capture owing to the massive crowd that descended to the venue during the exhibition. 🙂
Although we went on Monday which was suppose to be less crowded as most of the general public prefer visiting on weekend, but we were disappointed as that day to there was no respite.
Also since we were short on time we decided to start with the exclusive or luxury car brands first up so that we at least cover that.
First up was the Audi pavilion. To be honest I am not such a car lover but yes I do appreciate some real beauties 🙂
So I am never mesmerized by the classy Sedans and more for power or curvaceous design 😉
Next time I have decided that if I plan to attend again then I will book for Business Hour so that I can admire and study them in more details.
Durga Puja is the annual festival of people from eastern parts of India especially from Bengal. Its a 5 day festival celebrated with much reverence and fanfare during which people worship Goddess Durga and her 2 sons and 2 daughters. Actually its considered that every year Goddess Durga visits her maternal home with her children for vacations and this occasion is celebrated exoberantly by creating huge pandals housing the idols of Maa Durga and her children , full with exotic decoration, celebrated with cultural programmes , various events and by serving exquisite foods and specialities.
As people from Eastern parts are now spread across the sub continent of India and abroad too so they generally celebrate this locally where they are residing and generally don’t visit their native place mainly in West Bengal as used to be the case earlier. But still in the state of West Bengal this is celebrated with much more enthusiasm. Its more like a month long festival with decoration work starting much earlier, schools closed for longer duration and people having a elongated vacation with their near and dear ones.
Despite being a Bengali I had never been able to visit Bengal during this time but this year I got the opportunity to visit there. Although I reached Kolkata , the capital of Bengal, day after the festival was over but due to some government order the pandals and decorations were allowed to stay for little longer allowing me to visit some of them and appreciate what it mean to people in this part. And to summarize my experience I will say that if you are Bengali and no matter where you stay in this world, do visit Bengal at least once in your life time during Durga Puja. Durga Puja outside Bengal is nothing compared to what you have here. Its just beyond words. The pandals, the themes on which they are made, the massive and innovative idols and decorations are just beyond this world.
Sharing some photos from some pandals I visited.
First up was Kidipur . The concept here was foot marks of Maa Durga. I was spell bound by the decoration (no photos as they dint come well 😦 ). They had a huge plank created inside pandal with a huge sequence of foot marks as if to potray that Maa is descending from heaven. With ribbons and small bells hanging every where, one could see the amount of effort being put.
One can see her children depicted as small idols bel0w her.
Next up was Suruchi Sangha in New Alipore. This is one of the most awarded Puja of Kolkata and they say that during the 5 days one could not find space even to stand , so crowded it becomes.
The theme here was a newly wed bride. Every where there were beautiful wood sculptures with a giant married woman as the Pandal.
Next was the Naktala Durga Puja
The major theme of this puja is “Pathare Pran” i.e. “Giving life to stone”. A 16 ton rock was carried and placed in a particular spot. Later sculptors built the sculpture of Durga from that rock. The entire pandal is made of sculptures either on sand stone or on wood.
Last was another pandal in Naktala itself. This one although dint have a huge pandal but the idol were in vibrant blue color.
These picture dont do any justice to the atmosphere or the passion of the people of Bengal which revolve around this festival and I too want that someday I do get to spend some elongated time here both before and during the festival to feel and capture this festival that defines us Bengalis.
Humayun was the second ruler of the Mughal dynasty to rule India. He was son of Babar and father of the Great Akbar.
Upon his death his widow Hamida Begum made a Masoleum in his remembrance. This masoleum is made of red sandstone and is considered as the precursor to Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world. This was the earliest example of persian architecture that so flourished under the Mughal rule.
I have been visiting this place since a long time and over the years have clicked this monument many times. Sharing some of the photos that I took during these visits.
In last couple of months I had the opportunity to embark on two trips.
One a business trip to France and another a family trip to my native state, West Bengal.
And on both these trips I managed to do some thing that I always dream to do i.e. to take a solo morning walk, embracing the natural surroundings and clicking some memories.
Although I went to France first but I am bit lazy to share that walk, so I will first share the second walk that I took on my trip to Kolkata.
Kolkata is city burstling with life. Although the nights may not be at par with Mumbai , the city that never sleeps, but I will call Kolkata the city that wakes up early.
Like most of the major cities in the world where civilization flourished, in Kolkata too the main place of attraction or lifeline, is the river which flows through the center of the city, the tributary of holy river Ganges called Hooghly. This river divides the city into Howrah and Kolkata.
So which place other than the river bank to take a morning walk and catch the sunrise ? Especially when you have the added attraction of capturing the world famous Howrah Bridge (the sixth largest cantilever suspended bridge in the world).
Sharing some photos of the walk that I took along the river banks, its ghats and across the Howrah bridge.
It was around 5:30 am and bit hazy.
There were lot of things that I could not capture along the banks as I was bit skeptical about the surroundings (one drawback of being alone).
Like I said , even at 5 in the morning the amount of activity happening around the place was much more than one would assume later in the day.
With scores of people bathing at the ghats, newspaper vendors buying their supplies from lines of trucks loaded with various newspaper dailies and magazines , dirt and garbage littered around and tea stalls and eateries operating amidst the same.
Unfortunately photography is prohibited on this bridge . Before I could be pointed out the same , I managed to take this shot 🙂
The best way to cross this river to reach the other side is via a steamer (big boat) and I so wanted to do that as it would have let me take the photo of the bridge from center but unfortunately the service only starts from 8:30 in the morning and even at 6:30 the sun has become so hot that it was difficult to wait for so long.
The Jaganath Ghat was on the Kolkata side and it had Akhara or Indian Gym where various wrestlers were practicing their techniques in the muddy grounds of the river (no photo).
As I mentioned I was not that comfortable to walk with my camera in that crowd so that’s why I could not capture the flower market too which was on the way to the Jaganath gath. The flower market although clumsy and dirty had such a large variety of flowers that I really regret not having clicked any shots. Some of the varieties, I was seeing for the first time.
The best part of these walks apart from the scenic beauty is the fact that you get to spend some time alone. Although in Kolkata , you cannot be alone even starting from 4:30 am in the morning but still you could find a lot of peace in that crowd burstling with profound energy to start their routine day.
Ganga Aarti @ Triveni Ghat, Rishikesh