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Archive for November, 2016

Morning rituals, Ganges River


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Morning rituals, Ganges River, Varanasi, India.

I was up at 5am, i had to gentle wake the hotel manager to make sure he had organised this for me. A short walk to the river and on a boat, cruising to Dashashwamedh Ghat for Assi Ghat, I opted to jump off after watching the sunrise and just sit for awhile and enjoy. The locals come down everyday for their daily bath and their spiritual cleanse.


Mount Kanchenjunga


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Mount Kanchenjunga, another beautiful sunrise, viewpoint from Darjeeling, India.
I could have left this in colour which also looked beautiful, but i love the tones and lines in black and white.

You can purchase this image here.


Cham Dance, Darjeeling, India


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Sometimes things don’t go according to plan, you see on day 5 of my trip the government announced the the 500 and 1000 notes were no longer going to be used, a way for them to weed out the tax evaders or something like that, this overnight announcement left the Indian public in dire straights, I heard many times, the rich are crying and poor are finally laughing, well that also left many tourist without money including myself, I was lucky enough to have some money exchanged but unfortunately not enough to travel to our destination planned. So we stayed in Darjeeling at went to the local monastery to witness this amazing ritual, Cham Dance, apparently only happens once every 12 years. I was lucky enough to join the local photography club with my mate, given front row seats to capture this colourful often amusing performance by the monks. This is the info I found online Cham Dance

For more info please checkout my mate Surendra Pradhams post 1001 Things about North Bengal

Ahhhhh India, you just gotta go with it……always makes for pleasant surprises.


Ganges in Varanasi


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I feel so very blessed that I have been able to visit some of the most beautiful, full of culture, rich traditions but what makes each and every place unique are the souls you meet along the way, a simple smile, a nodding gesture to confirm that I may take their portrait, some blissfully unaware as they go about their daily lives. With a quiet smile, i will often approach the person i just photographed to show them their portrait, i love the reaction on faces, they look at the pic then at me, some smile, some a little dazed at looking at themselves. The images were all captured over 4 days along the Ganges {Ganga } River.

While bodies burned as part of their funerals it seemed so normal and no one flinched,

The bodies are first dipped into the river to be purified, the a family member would walk around the body clockwise to represent the 5 elements, Earth, wind, fire, water and the spirit. The closer the body was to the river, showed the family’s wealth. For the families that cannot afford this type of funeral, i was told a huge rock was tied and they were thrown into the middle of the river. One around was 24/7 for the Hindu people and another Ghat was for all others. I was there during one of their most important festivals of the year, bringing thousands more……..

Each day I would start my walk from Assi Ghat to Dashashwamedh Ghat, stopped by many to share their culture and stories with me, funny enough the first little ladies to stop me, called out with huge smiles, waving me over, I didn’t quite understand what they said or more like i didn’t expect it, still confused, i said I’m sorry i don’t understand you, they pulled me over to their mums i guess and they pulled out their phones, “Selfie” hahahah you have got to be kidding me, no English but they know the word selfie!!!! so we all too turns in selfies, such a laugh. The first of many selfies request.


Meet Padam


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Just two of the things I love that go hand in hand, Travel and photography and when the opportunity arises who am I to say no to a corporate shoot.
Meet Padam, He runs The Surya Paying Guest house in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India
Not only that they also have a camel safari, Wanderlust Camel Safari
I was lucky enough to stay two night, upgraded to the best room in the house.The fort in the background is where his guest house is located, spectacular to watch the sunrise from my window. A day trip that was customised just for me. Fantastic service by a very nice bloke.


Doors of India


Just some of my favourite doors in India.

Never look back at the door that was closed, there are so many more to be opened, the choice is always yours……doorslogo

You can purchase this image here.


Darjeeling, India


Mount Kanchenjunga.

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A 2 or so hours car ride from Bagdogra to Darjeeling….a much needed sleep, I stayed at the end of town, The Dolphin hotel, a quiet peaceful spot, this was my view, 5 metres from the hotel. A knock on the door at 5am and a change of plans, just as well i was up about half hour before..5.5 hours time difference. It was an amazing sight as the sun was coming up, changing colours and textures.

Purchase this image here.


Kolkata, India


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After 19 hours or so from leaving home, {Melbourne} I finally made it to Kolkata, a place called Dum Dum, it was nice and close to the airport, a nights rest and a fun walk through the local market before my flight to Bagdogra to meet up with a friend. The people in the market were so friendly, a few even calling me over to have their photos taken, one bloke gave me a cup of tea, I do love tea, and yes of course i got distracted and a little lost, I have maps of me although if was taking me around in circles, funny that, so i decided to get a taxi as i didn’t have long before heading off to the airport. Yep, he drives me up the street, 100 rp later, and points ummm that was the point of taking a cab, you know front door delivery, it’s was too far and thankfully figured it out. Off i went, One hour flight, it was beautiful to see the Himalayas on the way in. Jet Airways were kind enough to let me sit in First class to take a few pics. It was great to see a friendly face at the airport picking me up.


Chhat Puja, Siliguri


Day 3

So i am not going to pretend that I know what the festival was about! All i know is that it was amazing to witness and this is just some of the India I wanted to experience. There was music, smiling faces and celebrations.

I am lucky enough to be with Surendra Phadhan  he is quite a well know photographer from Darjeeling, he teachers at Inspiria in Siliguri and that is where i am right now, great college.

This is what i found online. Chhath Puja, Siliguri, West Bengal, India.

Etymology
The word chhath means sixth in Nepali, Maithili and Bhojpuri languages and the festival is celebrated on the sixth day of the month Kārtika of the Hindu lunar Bikram Sambat calendar. The word is a Prakrit derivation from the Sanskrit ṣaṣṭhi, meaning sixth.It is the longest and most important festival after navratri. The very first day of chhath starts exactly 4 days from Diwali and last for 4 more days. This day the people who observe fast take bath at a river or pond and prepare lunch (consisting of rice,dal mixed with pumpkin and pumpkin, made in pure ghee). The second day (5th day from Diwali) is known as kharna or kheer- roti. In which the kheer( A Indian recipe where rice is prepared with sweetened milk instead of water) and chapati ( called roti in many Indian provinces). The people observe fast for the full day without taking even water and eat this kheer-roti as dinner after offering it to the rising moon and Goddess Ganga. This is the only time when they eat or drink anything from the starting of the day till the last day of chhath. The third day is the main festival day (exactly 6th day from Diwali) of chhath is observed by offering surya namashkar and fruits to the setting sun followed by the next day (exactly 7th day from Diwali) event of offering surya namashkar and fruits to the rising sun on the fourth or last day of chhath.chhath-puji-travel-photography-www-silviatomarchiophotography-com