The White Beauty- Taj Mahal

Two riders astride a motorcycle followed us on the side of our car. It seemed as if they had hardly to waste any time before they decided that this is a group of tourists from outside their town and can probably be duped into taking up some not-so-great-but-still-not-cheap hotel for their one night’s stay before they go visiting the grand edifice that everybody flocks to Agra for. They were right on their first assumption(or conclusion) but wrong on the latter.

Next morning saw us taking up a  Tanga( horse driven carriage) ride to Taj Mahal complex. I dont’ remember the last time I had had a horse ride and it was fun to tap along in parallel in your own mind , the hoof steps on the road. It was too crowded to be having a good time once we reached there. Add to that the North Indian Monsoon humidity. But then it happened to us almost all of a sudden. The white beauty rose up in front of our eyes and got us all enamored in an instant.

The first glimpse

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Old is Beautiful – Adrift in Tughlaqabad Fort

Taking in the wind in the face, I kept staring at the maroon-white structure looking back at me across the shrub filled vegetation. After a few customary pictures, all that had been left to do was to sit quietly and look around…look around at the ruins around you and may be , at the lapwing resting himself on a mound of stones in the premises of the  ruins of a mosque. The bird had completely foiled my attempts at capturing him in a frame and had flown across the yard of the mosque with his black-n-white wings spread up beautifully.

Sometime while tracing the bird’s flight, my thoughts also completed a circle and I resumed my attempts at trying to frame all that lay around me in digital bytes. It was a curious feeling. Four friends who are basically a motley group of people brought together by a common liking for exploring and having a good fun time.

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Idling away Happily in Delhi

Khair-Ul-Manazil – It’s a chronogram, I was told. I had to read few more lines to understand the concept of a chronogram. I was inside some 16th century ruins, standing in the middle of urban Delhi, staring at a motiff on the wall. The structure  was not beautiful but it was old and people were still using it. I clicked few pictures and stepped outside the mosque.

The previous day had been cloudy. It had drizzled too, in the afternoon. I had cursed myself for being unable to shake off my laziness and had watched mother nature’s beauty from the comfort of my awesome, royal bed. Tomorrow, I shall go out, I had promised myself.

Luckily, a friend had shared the same feelings and we had taken off the next afternoon for a leisure tour of Humayun’s tomb and Purana Qila. Humayun’s tomb would probably be my most favourite Mughal structure in Delhi. I have been there multiple times and its beauty and aesthetics always fascinate me.

The red & white sandstone, the motifs with stars and other geometrical shapes in them, the latticed windows and the sun beam filtering through it, the grandeur of the octagonal architecture,  the Arabian calligraphy and the quietness in the lush green lawns surrounding the tomb – attractive it all is! I can lounge on that lawn and just behold the tomb in my eyes. That’s exactly what we did.

That Humayun is the grand father of Mughal King Shahajahan who built the world-famous Taj Mahal , that he had a peaceful and gentle personality and that he died after falling down from the stairs of Purana Qila, the fort built by him, is all I know about him. The tomb was commissioned by his wife and its photographs from earlier times do not portray the beauty that I feel  when I look at it. May be it’s because the structure was restored heavily after 1998, after being declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. But for whatever reason, its one of my favourite spots in Delhi. Besides the tomb, many smaller monuments dot the green premises.

First View

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Photowalk at Butterfly Garden and Shinde Chhatri

After a delay of  many weekends , aditto  finally found the time for a photowalk and we found ourselves at a newly opened Butterfly Park in Aranyeshwar area of Pune.

We reached the park around 10-10.30 a.m.,which was supposedly the ideal time for visiting the butterflies.

The park turned around to be pretty basic with no unusual species of butterflies to treat the eyes with.Yes,butterflies were sure to be seen but they were of the usual variety-common crow, great eggfly, blue jay,tailed jay,plain tiger and common leopard.

I have routinely seen these butterflies at CoEP boat club! May be the timing was not right or may be I need to wait for few more months for the park to get populated by more colorful creatures.

But I still am  glad to have visited the place as this was my first ever taste of a photo shoot of butterflies.Found it to be a difficult job,demanding a lot of patience & prediction and not quite fruitful if one doesn’t have a tele or an ultra zoom lens.Here are a few pictures I have managed to click with the 18-70mm lens of my Nikon. 
Tailed Jay

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City of Gates-Aurangabad

My hometown-Aurangabad,named after the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb,happens to be a very historic place.The city was founded in 1610 A.D. by Malik Amber, the Prime Minister of Murtaza Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar, on the site of the village called Khirki.

It was ravaged and burnt down in 1621 by the imperial troops under Shah Jahan. Fateh Khan, son of Malik Amber changed the name of Khirki to Fatehnagar.

In 1633, when Prince Aurangzeb was appointed the Viceroy of the Deccan for the second time, he made Fatehnagar his Capital and called it Aurangabad.

Also known as the ‘City of Gates’,it had 52 gates not a very long time ago.These gates served as points of revenue collection while entering the town and were also used for surveillance purpose.Out of 52 ,only 19/20 survive today..a few of them in a very dilapidated condition..

In my swiney vacation,i located 19 of these gates and photographed them.The hunt for the gates did not prove as difficult as i had expected it to be..wikipedia,wikimapia and one old map preserved by my mother(she is a history buff) were all that was needed..I took my best friend-Nehali along,and together,we rode in the old part of the city and completed our task.It was fun,exploring the parts of city i have rarely had reason to go into…not that it was very eye catching or anything..but the whole experience was satisfying..Navigating using a map,standing atop the ancient darwazas et al..

Plus,a history proff told me that Dargah gate,unlike others, is not among the medieval gates of Aurangabad..These 2 points need to be looked after.

Won’t keep you longer,here are the photographs:

1.Makai gate

Makai Gate
Makai Gate

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