India’s first organic state is situated in the northeastern region of India. Sikkim also boasts of India’s highest mountain range Kangchenjunga. Home to glaciers, alpine meadows, Sikkim is a jewel for India with a unique and distinctive personality.
Old Delhi, popularly known as Chandni Chowk was formerly known by the name Shahjahanabad, the walled city built by Shah Jahan from 1638 to 1649, containing the Lal Qila and the Chandni Chowk. It was the capital of the Mughal Empire during Shah Jahan’s reign. It is presently referred to as “Old Delhi“.
Old Delhi streets might appear chaotic and it’s senseless traffic but the unique charm of Old Delhi lies in its narrow lanes and its people. Transport yourself into a bygone era as you move around in the lanes and corners of old Delhi, laden with its remarkable history.
The best way to experience the essence of Old Delhi is to start early in the morning. Old Delhi comes in its full glory during winter.
Some of the famous places to explore in Old Delhi are the Jain Temple, Fatehpuri Masjid, Jama Masjid, Ghalib ki Haveli, the Red Fort, Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib Ji.
What to experience:
Old Delhi streets are a complex and intricate web. A few suggestions to soak in the essence of Chandni Chowk area in different ways are, mentioned below.
Photography– Delhi is famous for its street photography. There is a frame to make, an image to capture on every corner. Sometimes it really becomes difficult to choose.
Food– A bit overrated but certainly you have to try the famous Old Delhi delicacies. Need to have a strong belly for that.
Spices– It is a challenge to pass through without buying anything from Asia’s largest spice market in Khari Baoli
Architecture – One hardly has the time to look upwards and marvel at the amazing architecture of Old Delhi buildings.
Wedding shopping – People from all economic strata in Delhi and even from outside Delhi flock into the area for their wedding Shopping.
All these activities may appear a bit daunting to be covered in two days but if you can manage to start early morning, say 7 a.m, you can cover quite a lot in two days. Yes, I have personally experienced and done it.
Start from the Red Fort, famously known as Lal Qila. This historical site was the main residence of the Mughal Emperors for nearly 200 years. You can spend 2-3 hours wondering around its buildings and grounds.
On the opposite side of the road is the Jain temple of great historical importance.
The Jama Masjid is next. The reason I suggest it for the early morning is that later in the day it becomes crowded with busloads of tourists arriving to visit Jama Masjid. You can see the Red Fort from Jama Masjid and it is a sight to behold.
Next is Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib Ji. The Gurudwara was constructed by Baghel Singh Dhaliwal to commemorate the martyrdom of the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur. Perfect place for a meal not just feeding your stomach but your soul too. Sumptuous food (Langar) is served free to anyone throughout the day. Eat to your heart’s content, sit in the prayer hall. Let the spiritual atmosphere of the place envelop your senses.
It is up to you if you prefer this harmonious community lunch or eat out at some retail outlets.
After lunch head towards the market, stroll around, soak in the whole atmosphere. After Jama Masjid if you are still inclined to visit another mosque but in an intimate environment then Fatehpuri Masjid is for you. Much smaller and quieter compared to Jama Masjid. But before that, you will definitely cross an area because for which Old Delhi is known as Chandni Chowk. There is a roundabout, probably the widest area in old Delhi. It is an intersection point.
Finish your day here with Fateh Puri Masjid.
An early start not required but it is always advisable to start early.
Paranthe Wali Gali, a narrow street in Chandni Chowk, famous for its paranthas (Indian bread). The variety of Paranthas(cooked in ghee/clarified butter) you can taste here is unbelievable. I personally avoid it as I feel the Paranthas are overrated there. But as a one time experience, it is must to understand what it is.
Head towards Chawri Bazaar (Chawri Bazaar metro station) and experience the spice market in Khari Baoli. Khari Baoli is Asia’s largest wholesale spice market. Give that tingling sensation to your sense of smell and immerse yourself into the thin spice-laden air.
Up next is Ghalib ki Haveli. This place is a tribute to India’s foremost and most popular Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib. I love this place for it is a stark contrast to everything that is happening outside on the streets. The place is a peaceful haven and you will certainly experience great calm around you. With Ghalib’s personal belongings and poems, this place is a must visit.
Ghalib ki Haveli provides a perfect calming influence for your senses amidst the chaos outside. A good way to finish the Old Delhi tour.
There is not hard and fast rule that you have to experience places in the order mentioned here. It is entirely up to you and the experience you wish to seek. You can skip a place or two if you do not feel the need to visit it. Everything is flexible, that is how I travel.
- Walking: Walking is the best way to experience Old Delhi and soak in its essence. If you want and require it at all, manual and battery operated are readily available. Be ready to bargain if you are in the mood and have extra energy.
- Water: Keep yourself well hydrated. Always carry a bottle of water
- Small bag: It is always recommended to carry a small bag or a backpack for your essentials and valuables.
- Head Gear: A scarf or a hat to protect yourself from the scorching heat if you are here in summer and to be worn in places where heads have to be covered. Always a good thing to respect local culture.
Happy Travelling and Enjoy your Tour.
A portfolio is an important tool for a photographer. A well laid out portfolio tells a lot about the photographer and his/her work. For a photographer amateur or a professional, having a portfolio is a must. A photography portfolio is like a reflection, a mirror image of the personality of the photographer.
Most photography portfolio platforms provide a trial period of 15 days. You can experience the platform in almost full features before deciding on your buying decision.
Squarespace is one visually stunning portfolio platform. The platform is an attractive proposition for creative artists and entrepreneurs alike. The platform has got some of the sleekest layouts and themes. If you looking for a minimalist design with all the functionalities and running an e-commerce store is your priority, then Squarespace is for you.
Format offers everything you need to showcase your work. This Toronto based company has a vibrant community of creative artists from all over the globe. Format is conceptualized and designed keeping in mind professionals at heart. They do have an excellent customer support system. Simple layouts, and integrated e-commerce solutions.
Started in 2005, Photoshelter is a smart and simple platform for creative artists and professionals. The portfolio website has got flexible customization options making it a top choice. Photoshelter is more a photo management system rather than just being a simple portfolio platform. Showcase of photos and e-commerce is seamlessly integrated.
Choice of millions of photographers around the globe, Smugmug is a popular choice. I personally feel it lacks a punch when it comes to customization. With great customer support and a thriving community, Smugmug ranks among the best in the business. Smugmug was also recently in the news when it acquired Flickr. We all know Flickr was once a poster boy of photo sharing websites. With time, Flickr has lost its sheen but more on that later.
This Sweden based, a self-funded portfolio website is perfect for creative artists. Relatively new in the market but has a good market standing. Portfoliobox has got all the features one needs to create a stunning looking portfolio with all the functionality. Portfoliobox keeps it simple by offering only two plans, a free account, and a premium account.
I must add a sixth one in the list. Through google search on photographers, I came to know about this platform.
Simple, clean and to the point, that’s what Pixpa is all about. Pixpa does a great job by providing Portfolio, Galleries, and stores all under one roof. It really feels good that an Indian based platform is also present as an option for photographers. Make no mistake, the platform looks at par with all the international portfolio websites. Mind you, I have no affiliation with Pixpa.
The possibilities are endless with these photography portfolio sites. I have tried and tested each and every portfolio platform mentioned below. They all have their own pros and limitations. Ultimately it comes down to the individual choice and preferences. More on these platforms in the upcoming blog.
Given the large scale and impact Google products have on our daily lives, news of Google+ shutting down is a big one.
We all remember Google+ was released with much fanfare. Touted as the future base for upcoming google offerings. But, no one could predict the shape and turn the industry will take.
As we stand now, the social media industry is driven by visual content.
This is big news.
Google is a huge umbrella with many products under the belt. It really does become difficult to maintain each and every product line on profitability. Social Media Landscape has changed dramatically in the last three years. Visual consumption is on the rise. Even Facebook is facing slow growth. Pure visual platforms are facing upward growth in the last few years. platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are ruling the charts. This has got to do with the surge in young population all around the globe.
No wonder in such dramatic business environment this once top of the cream product is shutting down.
What to do now?
Question is what would be your next step as Google + shuts down. You need to download all your content, first hand.
Google has been responsive enough on this count. Detailed instruction has been provided on the required steps to be taken. The user should not face any problem.
You still have time to download your content and Google is doing every possible help in this regard
Click on the following link to know more and proceed further.
This is a perfect example of the fragility of social media platforms. You are never too sure about the future of Instagram also.
So now the question comes, where to put all our content be it words and visual. There is a simple wayout but more on this in the upcoming blog.
Traditional Goa houses, made of mud and a thatched roof are a sight to behold. Walk around streets of Goa and you could see Portuguese influence on the architecture. Large ornamental windows, spacious courtyard space, and vibrant colors are some of the distinct features of traditional houses of Goa. Coming from North India where construction of houses are as linear as it can get, experiencing these marvelous structures came as a pleasant surprise.
Ganesha is one of the best-known and most worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon. Images of Ganesha is very prominent in the art scene. The son of Shiva and Parvati is the lord of success and the destroyer of evils. Lord Ganesha can be seen everywhere on the island of Bali. Mostly facing the entrance to a house or temple to keep out the unworthy.
Delhi architecture is synonymous with the tombs from the Mughal era. Think Delhi and first image will come to your imagination of Mughal period architecture. Mughal era plays an important role in the development of India, Hindustan back then.
Delhi with its historical architecture at the center is an attractive destination for history and culture buffs.
This blog is an ongoing series. I will add more visuals of Delhi architecture in the upcoming blogs
Standing on a raised terrace, Safdarjung tomb is one of the most popular in Delhi. Ironically attracts fewer people compared to other tombs in Delhi. The tomb is surrounded by lush green gardens.
It is located in the same complex as Humayun’s Tomb and is an excellent place for history enthusiasts. Isa Khan was an Afghan noble in the court of Sher Shah Suri.
World Photography Day, August 19, the mecca of a day for shutterbugs, for all the photographers all around the world. You can sense the buzz around among the photographer community. The day is meant to have fun, enjoy the very process of creating an image.
So how can you celebrate this special day of photographer community?
Few things you can think of doing:
- Shoot: Yes, what better way than celebrating the day than taking the camera in hand and creating images. You can choose to go out obviously but for some reasons you cannot move out, use elements in your home as subjects. The light coming from that windows, soft light of that lamp shade, your own home garden etc. for some inspiration.
- Read: You can read a book on photography or read about some great photographers you admire like the iconic, early 20th Century American photographer Ansel Adams or Henry Cartier Bresson or any other photographer you like.
- Blog post: You are a photographer, passionate about creating photos. Why not write a small post accompanying your amazing photo.
- Camera or Phone: It really does not matter what equipment you use at least on this day. Remember the first time when you picked up your first camera or any equipment. Remeber that joy. It is time to experience that feeling once again.
- Share: Do not keep your efforts in the closet. They do not serve their purpose in the trunk. Share your images, your creative vision with the world. It is much easier inpresent times to reach out to the external world. You do not necessarily have to share a fresh image clicked on the day. If you feel like sharing some of your amazing photos from the past, go ahead with it. There is no forum to put a question on you.
- Meetups: Lookout for photo walks or any meet ups in your local area. Go out and attend, while you can. Make friends from the photographic community.
*Have I missed something? Feel free to add more points here.
Go on, Make merry on World Photography Day. This is your day.
What is Travel Photography? This is probably the most important and misunderstood term. But on the other hand the most popular genre of photography. Mostly because it covers the entire spectrum of photography. For travel photography, well you need to travel and do photography along. You can do portrait, landscape, events as part of travel photography. Photography is a form of creative expression that lets us capture those moments in our own way.
But the big question still remains unanswered, what is travel photography? How can we able to define this term? Travel opens the mind, and refreshes your soul! It can give you some of the most incredible moments.
Can photography in the neighborhood be a travel photography? Photography done in some part of the city can be a travel photography.
When we travel, the same scene becomes exciting to us. The same flower looks more vibrant and has more texture. Basically, our senses become in the active heightened state when we change our location.
Travel is our state of mind and a moment to actually perceive life. When we talk of life, we only end up thinking about us breathing. Life is what is us, in us and around us. Traveling changes our perspectives and if traveling cannot change us, nothing can. Likewise, travel photography changes our concepts and perspectives. We become more aware of ourselves and others. Travel photography ignites our senses enabling us to see the details of life. Which in turn helps us to be more observant and appreciate things and people around us.
Travel Photography capturing people and places that are unfamiliar to me and my friends/peers/family, places that are far away from where I was born and grew up, especially if the culture is very different. Different languages, food, a way of life, all of these things are what you find and experience when. Travel documentation and a storytelling of my experience so I will feel being blessed for whatever I meet during my travel.
Shooting photo in exotic place around the world. Collect beautiful images from a journey so u can enjoy for years
Any photography we do which challenges our pre-existing mindset, any photography which makes us go outside our comfort zone is travel photography.
Kumbh Mela, the world’s largest spiritual gathering is a sweet sight for sore eyes. My spiritual sojourn to the Kumbh Mela acted as a perfect gateway for my need to distance myself from the chaotic rumble of the urban jungle.
Anxious and excited I was for this one-of-a-kind trip. It is not recommended to travel to Kumbh Mela without advance reservations. I just wanted to experience the place as it is and was even prepared to sleep under the wide magical sky and endure the cold winter nights of Allahabad.
The cold, misty morning of Allahabad welcomed me with wide open arms. All I could see was a sea of humanity on the train platform and at the exit of the station gate. The station acted as a sleepover place for those coming from far away places with just a few survival provisions in their bags.
My habit of talking to local rickshaw guys came in handy and immediately struck a chord. The old man took me to a decent enough accommodation and he promised to take me to the nearby Ghat the next morning for a boat ride. Of course, he would have made some money from it, but that is alright. Better than spending on junk food back home.
Passing through the narrow lanes of Allahabad sitting on the tightly built rickshaw, I reached the Ghats. A one hour boat ride on the river Ganges in the early hours was a terrific idea. The Ganges was revealing herself slowly as the sun pierced through the morning fog. There I happened to have my first encounter with Siberian migratory birds (as I was told, not confirmed).
Siberian migratory bird
The first day was a sort of initiation into the atmosphere of the great MahaKumbh Mela. Spread across the vast landscape, a city was recreated within the city. Fantastic arrangements by the authorities although it became difficult to manage the large hordes coming from far away places with all family members on tow, including children who don’t know what exactly is going on around them. In this chaotic mad rush, there is always a chance that small children getting lost and that is what happens there. The famous Bollywood saying “Kumbh ke mele mein kho gaye” (lost in Kumbh Mela) originates from this experience.
My eyes just could not fathom the vast landscape and magnitude of this amazing event. It was an eye opener seeing all the gathering there. Driven by blind faith and thousands of years old belief system that has been passed down from one generation to another.
There are two things every visitor looks to do at the MahaKumbh Mela, one is taking a dip in the holy waters of River Ganga and the second is a chance interaction with the secretive tribe of Naga Babas
and I was fortunate enough to manage to do both.
This Kumbh Mela fulfilled my deep desire to meet the much feared Naga Sadhus. These freakish sadhus are the stuff of legends and are the main attraction of the MahaKumbh Mela. Sadhus in the Mahakumbh Mela are used to have media personalities and foreign nationals approach them to have a conversation and sometimes they do seek monetary benefit in return for a photograph or two. Here I feel foreign tourists are to blame as they have propagated this culture.
Next destination, Varanasi, the oldest living city in the world is an experience in itself. The city offers so much more than the usual evening ritual performed every day without fail on the shores of mother Ganges. As I experienced the narrow lanes of the city, I faced the classic case of mistaken identity. I was welcomed as Discovery Channel guys while roaming in the narrow lanes of Varanasi. I have not been able to figure out why. But it felt cool and nice to be a celebrity even for a short while.
After trying local delicacies, experiencing winding narrow lanes and the traffic madness of the oldest living city, I decided to visit Sarnath to soothe my rugged mind. Sarnath was a complete contrast. Not many tourists, one can wander without any fear of being run over by a car. People are easy-going and less cunning as compared to the more touristy places around the country. Thankfully travel agents think it is not worth it. Only local crowds and delegations from Buddhist centric nations visit the place.
Returned back to Delhi with my mind at peace. The immense satisfaction of having interacted with the ever so elusive Naga sadhus. I can easily say that the visit to Varanasi and Sarnath was raw and intense if nothing else.
The mind was always going to the after-effects of this mass bathing in the river Ganges. The huge leftover by the insensitive people not caring enough for mother Ganges. If we are not able to save the Ganges there will be no MahaKumbh Mela. No spiritual gathering of this magnitude can take place in future. I will definitely dig deep into this in the future posts.
Allahabad and Sarnath are a must visit on any traveler’s diary especially in the winter season. Summers can be quite demanding on mind and body. Both the places are easily accessible via rail route and flights from the national capital of the country, Delhi.
The local food, culture and the handloom industry located in small rooms are surely not to be missed by the inquisitive soul.