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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Archaeological dig at Purana Qila

On 19 April 2014, my friend who teaches history in a school and I went to Purana Qila. We had read news reports that the Archaeological Survey of India had opened the dig sites to the public for two days.

The evening was lovely with the sun playing with the clouds to create a dramatic sky

We saw men hard at work, using brushes to carefully dust the layers without breaking any remains
There were others who used a special knife to scrape the soil without harming any pots, bones, etc. burried in the soil.

You can see the depth of levels till which the digging has been done.
This collection of pots was dug very recently.
The present and past vessels to store water
The pieces that were excavated were washed carefully. You can spot a bone in the pile above.

Once dried, each piece was coded using a nib-pen and black ink.
A small exhibition showcased some pieces that were dug from the site.
The paintings and the colour (hundreds of years old) still look bright and beautiful.
This piece of potery is believed to be dated to the Mughal period. This piece was my favourite from the lot because of the beautiful pattern.
Though the site was open to the public there were certain parts of the exhibition where photography was restricted. But fortunately those photographs are available on the web.

We ended our trip to Purana Qila by staying for the Light and Sound Show called, Ishq-e-Dilli. You can see a post on the show done earlier, here.

The audience sat in rapt attention, savouring the visuals and the engaging commentary.

The colours of the night were pure magic.

You can read more about it here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Delhi cast its vote today

The people of Delhi cast their vote today in the 2014 General Elections. Once the process of voting is through and results are announced in May 2014 India will have a new government. I hope Delhi voted for a change and for a better India.

Here is a photograph of the hands of my family members after we cast our votes.

In the evening my mom and I went for a drive. I saw the Indian flag, a symbol of the country and the government, flutter proudly in the Central Park in Connaught Place. 

The dramatic evening sky encouraged me to click some more!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Holi and Holika Dehen

 As we neared the temple in Haripur village, I spotted groups of children filling their water guns with water from the drains that channel snow-melt in the entire region.

This is the scene that greeted me while I was removing my shoes.

As I joined the group, the smiling faces of the ladies welcomed me and soon I was enjoying myself as the group sang and danced to Krishna bhajans.

While the women danced, the men showcased their talents on different instruments.

Even the statues in the temple compund were included in the celebration.

I decided to take some colourful portraits while the meriment went on.

These girls became my friends and guide for the morning. They told me in detail about their lives in Haripur, their school and why they enjoyed Holi so much.

This young mother was on duty to fill her son's water gun with coloured water.

This gentleman was my favourite uncle for the day. He danced leaving all his inhibitions behind. When I asked his permission to click his photograph he gifted me a million dollar smile!

This boy's spotted head is my favourite photograph of the day.

This little handsome dude threatened to use his water gun on me. Turned out that he was just teasing me, the water gun did not have any water in it :-)

The villager left after almost an hour of singing and dancing. The group was to go to another temple in a nearby village and continue the festivities.

I took their leave and went back to the cottage with a promise to return for the evening of festivities.

The villagers gathered in the grounds of the government school to observe Holika Dehen.

The kids decided to take the prime spot atop the school roof to see the proceedings.

The village priest and other important members of the village took centre stage. They perfomred the puja while trumpets were blown and drums were beaten.

With the drums and trumpets providing the background score, the fire roared and warmed the evening even as the temperature ventured in the range of 0 degrees celsius. 

We stayed with the villagers till all the wood burnt.

Then we walked back down the hill to return to the cottage where we were staying.

The fantastic camera on the Nokia Lumia 1020 ensured that I captured the entire celebration without missing my DSLR too much. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Holi, Holiday

For Holi, this year, me and my friends decided to leave Delhi and go to the Himalayas. After a series of chain mails, we decided a village near Manali--Batahar--was going to be our Holi-destination.

Just a few days before I was to leave for the holiday, Nokia came up with an offer I could not refuse. I was given a Nokia Lumia 1020 to cover the festival of Holi. I had heard from many friends that the 41 megapixel camera was to die for. I could not wait to get my hands on it.

The phone arrived on the day of departure--14 March 2014. Ankita and I took a selfie just as soon as we boarded the bus.

And Sangeeta and Abir also smiled for the camera!

Since the journey was mostly through the night, I did not get much opportunity to play with the camera. But the morning was a different story. We found ourselves in a world of picture-postcard scenery that changed its form every few kilometres but our appreciation remained constant.

We stayed in the Apple Tree Cottages in Bathar village. The views from our rooms, the living room and basically everywhere the eye turned was breath-taking. I am not exaggerating! 

On 15 March we went to the Hidimba Temple and then to the Vashishth Temple.


On our way back to the cottage we decided to stop at the river bank. The water was cold so there was no question of us dipping our feet into it. So we sat on boulders listening to the gurgling sound of the Beas.

The villagers of Haripur, a village adjacent to Batahar, celebrate Holi a day prior to when the rest of the country celebrates. I requested the owner of the cottage to take me to the village to celebrate the festival.Our jeep was stopped by a bunch of children who were happy to apply colours on our cheeks and wish us, 'Happy Holi!'

A little further, a group of teenage boys decided to block the road using big boulders. They cleared the way only after Chamman ji gave them some money. This road block was laughed off when they wished us and shouted, 'Bura na maano Holi hai!' (Don't feel bad, it's Holi!)

As we neared the village temple, we saw many more coloured faces.

 I'll tell you the rest of the story in the next post!

Hope you had a good Holi!



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