सब कहाँ कुछ लाला-ओ-गुल में नुमायां हो गईं ख़ाक में क्या सूरतें होंगी कि पिन्हां हो गईं – मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब
A beautiful flower, sunrise over a mountain peak, colourful canvas in sky…we all are enamoured and inspired by Nature’s blessings. However, there is another world that lives delicately under Nature’s care…a world that is so near to us but remains ‘Pinhan (पिन्हां)’ or hidden from our eyes.
On a closer look, this world opened up! A growing leaf cuddled to find its shape, a flower bud basked in the glory of early colours, a tiny twinkling dew drop dazzled in dreamy patterns….and much more. In such a short life-span, even this unseen world leaves behind so much beauty and serenity.
Santorini, a Greek island in the Aegean sea, is like a dream! Architecture of the buildings and churches with white walls and blue domes is straight from a fairy tale! Take a walk through the lanes along the caldera from Fira to Imerovigli and just enjoy the view, market, houses…and more! Oia is another beautiful village. It is more colorful in the sense that many houses have walls painted with other pleasing colours apart from white…that gives a different look to the place and yes, it has more blue dome churches that Santorini is famous for. So…go and chill in Santorini!
The Sun Temple of Modhera was built in 11th century AD during the reign of Solanki ruler Bhimadeva-1. This temple is located in Bechraji taluka of Mehsana district of Gujarat, India. The main entrance of the temple faces East and is approached through a water tank which has a series of steps on all four sides. This step well has 108 small temples of various Hindu deities. The inner and outer walls of the temple structure is decorated with intricate stone sculptures of deities, dancing Apsaras, musicians, stories from Ramayan and Mahabharat. Nothing is better than a visit during sunrise when the Sun God blesses the temple with his first golden rays!
Rani Ki Vav was built in 11th century AD by Rani Udaymati, the Queen of Bhimadeva-1. It is located about 40 kms north of Modhera in Patan, Gujarat. This magnificent link to our history was buried for centuries and was excavated only in 1960. This is a treasure of beautiful carvings and step wells spread over a huge structure which is 64 mts long, 20 mts wide and 27 mts deep. In 2014, UNESCO declared it as a World Heritage Monument. It is indeed the Queen of step wells in India!
Gandikota is a village in Andhra Pradesh, India. It is situated on the banks of the Penna river that flows through the rocky terrain resulting in the formation of Gorge (‘Gandi’ in Telugu language), which gives a pleasant touch to the place specially during sunrise and sunset. Gandikota also has ruins of a fort with two ancient temples – Madhavaraya Swamy Temple and Raghunatha Swamy Temple and a mosque – Juma Masjid.
Belum caves and Lepakshi complement Gandikota with their own charm. Belum caves is a labyrinth with limestone and stalagmite structures formed due to water flowing underground over thousands of years. From the main entrance, it is about 50m deep and 3.3 Kms long, making it the second longest underground cave in the Indian subcontinent. Lepakshi is another village famous for Veerabhadra temple, an architectural marvel.
December 26, 2019 was marked on my calendar for a long time. Sun, Moon and Earth were scheduled to bring an end to 2019 with the majestic Annular Solar Eclipse. At the peak of the eclipse, the moon covers about 98% of the Sun disk with the outer Sun rim visible from Earth. This phenomenon appears like a ring and is known as the ‘Ring of Fire’.
I was in Kannur, Kerala in Southern India to witness this rare celestial event. A composite picture with key phases of the eclipse is presented here.
As the eclipse created its magic, my heart whispered to the Sun…
ए आफताब! हम तो कायल थे तेरे जोश-ए-नूर के लेकिन, हमने तुझे भी मोहब्बत-ए-महताब के आगोश में देखा है
Translation: Oh Sun! I was in awe of your power but, I can see even you in love with the Moon
Every year from January to May, some very special guests visit Mumbai….Flamingos! These are remarkable birds that flock around the bay area of the city. Mumbai is always-on-the-run busy city but it takes time-off to be charmed by their flamboyance. I had the pleasure to be with them at the Seawoods creek in Nerul. Click on any picture and enjoy the photo gallery !