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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!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Six years of life

I did not have a car when I started this blog. I also did not have a DSLR. In fact I was not even sure I had an interest in photography. I would just click photographs from the camera in my mobile phone. The objective was to capture Delhi and its changing face and the moments.

It has been six years since the first post. I, now, drive my car to different parts of the city. Mount my DSLR and click photographs. I do not post on this blog as often as I would like to. My love for the city is still all-consuming but my expression of that love has altered. I now have a keen interest in photography and travel to other places in the country with the gusto which was early reserved for just Delhi.

I think Delhi Photo Diary (with a spelling mistake in the url) played a big role in adding little traits to my personality over the last six years. It ensured I met lot of new people, invested in exploring the city a little more and most importantly learnt a little more about myself during the journey.

I might blog more this year. Or I just might become a fleeting presence in the World Wide Web. I don't know what the future holds and no longer try to find the unknown. But if anyone visits the blog and sees this post, I'd like to tell them that the journey so far has been one of the most important ones of my life. And just by visiting the blog and staying here for a few minutes they too have become a part of my life. And for that I would like to thank them.

Here is a photo of the Tree of Life I spotted a few moons ago at the Design Fair at Dastakar Haat in Meharauli.

I dedicate this photo to all those who have altered my life in the last six years. You have made it a lot more fun and exciting. Thanks!

Also, Happy Birthday, Delhi Photo Diary (DPD)!

P.S: I have decided to go back to the roots of this blog. I will be posting photographs taken from my camera phone for some time. Minus the minutes spent on Photoshop. Because I feel the need to unlearn and relearn.


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