Intl Saturdays 26: Wat Arun: Temple of the Dawn

As promised, here are the photographs from within the Wat Arun complex. This temple looked markedly different in appearance as compared to other Wat’s i had seen till then in Bangkok. There were no elaborate wavy sort of roofs around the complex, no excessive use of the golden colour on the structure and no sort of sanctum sanctorum so to speak. On reading up on the temple in its complex learned that the architecture is Khmer, which is of Cambodian origin. 
Wat Arun is a blend of Khmer and Thai architecture and commemorates the the Indian god of dawn Aruna – ah the amalgamation of cultures! One thing that is conspicuous about Wat Arun is the intricate detailing on the main structure – called as ‘Prang’ – and also the surrounding four structures. You will notice that a lot of the material used to adorn the sculptures and the temple exteriors is broken piece of glazed porcelain. 

The temple has these insanely vertiginous stairs leading upto the third terrace which has Lord Indra or as he’s popularly known in this part of the world Erawan riding on a multi-headed elephant on all the four sides. These stairs may look normal from the ground up, but as you ascend you realise that it is quite a steep climb and you will not dare to climb without holding on tightly onto the side railings. 

Like i mentioned above, the main ‘prang’ of the temple is surrounded by four smaller prangs. As you are climbing up the main prang and enter the third terrace from where you can get a beautiful view of this temple town and the Chao Phraya river, you hear a pleasant and repititive sound. You can’t realise the source immediately, but if you stare hard at the top portion of the picture, you will notice some golden coloured leaf-shaped structures. They are in fact windchimes which add an element of sound thereby taking the spiritual experience to a whole new level. A zoomed in image is attached below. 

The temple-guards of Oriental origins are found around the complex and with fine liveries at that.

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BMC building at dusk

Ok i agree, i have shot this building a hell lot of times. Guilty as charged. But there is just something about its architecture that makes me go all starry eyed, whenever i am in the vicinity. This time around i had shot it at dusk and i really loved the dark blue cloudless sky which gave a perfect backdrop to the structure.

And here are some Black and Whites of the same building. 

Up close in CST

What do you get when you have a super zoom camera and are bored around the CST precint? Simple, just use the zoom and go deep on the gothic architectural marvel that is the CST headquarter building.

The gargoyles with their eyes popping out are my favourites though:)

This one’s on the BMC building on the opposite side of the road. Another superb building, which is as bad inside as it’s beautiful on the outside. Well, what do you expect when you have muncipality HQ inside such an awesome building?

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By the Banganga

Banganga is a time capsule. You get transported to this completely different era, once you enter the premise which is surrounded by temples. I keep going there again and again, if i just want to escape the maddening city that is Mumbai. It is an oasis in this concrete jungle. The levels of water of the pond keep going up and down hiding or revealing that water collection unit in one corner of the pond.

On this particular day, there were a lot of Hindu rituals going on at the place. The light was good, so decided to make some colour photographs except for the steps in the last image, which lend well to Black and White.

Attaching a poem which one of my friend wrote after she saw this place. It was love at first sight for her as far as Banganga was concerned

Banganga
The two walked down the road every day
And they saw the world whirr past –
Lost in urgent motion and constantly in a state of flux…
One morning, out of the blue,
He suggested that they change routes.

She walked with him to an unfamiliar place –
She had no idea where she was going.
Enthralled, she was, when she found –
He had brought her to an old, lost world,
Tucked in a small corner of the busy city.

They walked down a more secluded path…
He tugged at her hand
And led her down a sudden flight of steps…
They had reached –
She had finally discovered this hidden place!

They sat down on the steps,
And stared at the ducks swimming in the water…
Peals of laughter filled the air
As two little girls sprinted all over the place,
While a young lad entertained the spectators with his foolish antics.

They let the perpetual image of the salt-waters run into oblivion,
As they engaged in random banter amidst the freshness of the clear waters…
However, the evening beckoned that it was time to leave –
They got up and walked away,
And the old world dissolved into purity…

The hustle-bustle of the crowded city greeted them!
And in no time they were, once again, a part of the maddening swarm of people…
But the memories of the day were etched in their minds…
The freeze frame successfully preserved their wonderful moments;
These moments would not fade with time. 


Courtesy: Divya 


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Duality


The architecture around South Mumbai always fascinates me and I love to get lost among these old buildings. When I am not busy getting lost, i try to interpret them in as many ways as i can. Now if only i got a chance to shoot within these beautiful monuments, i would get to learn so much. There is something inherently attractive about the history behind these old structures. Abandoned places are the only other spaces that attract me as much, specially the defunct Mills around my locality. Hope to be able to shoot them someday. Till then, South Mumbai old architecture is where i will quench my thirst.

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The Blue Caps


This was one of the most privileged tours i had been to while i was interning at The Times of India. It was a journos only tour of the yet-to-be-opened Bandra Worli Sealink. The photographs of the sealink have appeared on the blog before : An Engineering Marvel . It was special because i got the opportunity to explore this link before it would be opened for the public and got to click some photographs, which i cannot imagine clicking today.
This is one photograph i had clicked even before i started snapping the Sealink. It was just a bunch of labourers, taking some time out from their gruelling schedule. Their blue safety helmet is what arrested my attention. It looked just perfect against the dull grey sky. The cloudy atmosphere added to the overall charm.
Today when i read an article on the critically injured labourer who is fighting for his life as a result of the infamous CWG bridge collapse, it made me think how much we take the migrant labourers for granted. I stopped on this photograph for a while and the guy on the extreme right seemed to be asking me, “We build your sealinks, your skywalks, your skyscrapers but do you’ll really give a damn about us if we are injured in the process?” And i realised, we don’t.
I am not going to get into the morality bit as i feel this is not the right platform for such a serious issue. But the least we can do on our individual part, is show some respect to these labourers. It’s a tough life they lead. After all, the collective efforts of these guys creates marvelous things.
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The Podium!


With the Olympics round the corner I thought of trying to get that essence into my photography. The Rajabai Clock Tower and the fencing around the Oval Maidan came to my rescue. Rajabai Clock Tower, for the uninitiated, is quite a famous landmark here. Located in the Mumbai University Campus. Its 260ft tall. The Gothic architechture is lovely. The clocks on all four sides are properly synchronised. One special feature of the tower is that it chimes a tune every 15minutes.

Yea so i tried to incorporate the idea of the Olympics Medals podium onto this photograph. Where the Gold medalist is on a comparitively higher podium as compared to the other 2 medals. In the photograph, the clock tower is defintely a Gold Medallist. A metal that India hasnt got as yet in the Games.

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PS : Abhinav Bindra won a GOLD medal in the Air Rifle shooting competition at the Beijing Olympics 2008! Yess! Finally India won a Gold at The Games. Lucky timing:D I had discussed about how India had yet to win a Gold a coupla days back and Abhinav helped achieve that for our country. Its indeed a proud moment for every Indian!

Towering!

I am a sucker for the British Gothic Architechture across the CST – Fountain strech. I have been there on countless occasions with my camera, trying to capture the beauty of the buildings all around. Needless to say, the appetite for that is insatiable.

This is the LIC building located just after the alley separating it from Siddharth College. The spot from which i took the photograph has many Vada Pav, Chai vendors, as its a major junction for college students as well as Office going janata. The Standard Chartered Bank is just behind this LIC building.

I had captured this building before as well ‘Old World Charm’. But at that time i had just concentrated on one aspect of the building. This time though i wanted to showcase the structure through a different perspective. I wanted to highlight the architechture, as seen from a person standing below the building. I love trying out various angles.

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Leaning Elphinstone?!

Kala Ghoda Art District is an art lovers paradise. I particularly love the whole arty feel to the place. With so many Art Galleries around and the street art gallery with artists in their element, is a sight to behold. With so much art happening around, one really gets the nitro boost as far as creativity is concerned. It was probably this boost of creativity that prompted me to see the Royal Elphinstone college, the architechtural marvel, from a different perspective.

Clicking the facade of the structure head on would be very cliche, i thought. Plus clicking so ordinary a shot would not really do justice to the creative, artistic vibes in the air. So while walking under the arch of the college thinking of ideas to capture a unique photograph, i came across the reflection of the massive structure on the rear glass of this parked car. The entire structure was visible, but not in high detail. Still i thought, this is a unique moment, and no one would capture another similiar kinda photograph as there is a slim chance of the car being parked in the similiar place with similiar light conditions and as clear a sky.

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