Sunday, February 28, 2010

Holi - Festival of Colors - The "Eve".......Preparing for the fun!

Its springtime in India......and time once again for the masses to prepare for the annual event known as Holi.........the "Festival of Colors".

Holi Colors - Preston's Ammunition

Preston has been looking forward to this for sometime........well, perhaps since his inaugural participation last year.....

Holi Colors by the Kilogram

This year he has "experience"...which means he is no longer an amateur.....he gets to show some of his new friends how to celebrate.....but he was also busy in preparing for the event.........unlike last year.

Color Vendor

The first year is always the most memorable........met with the anxiety of not knowing what to expect.....and the anticipation.....

Buying more Ammo

The second year is met with more strategy.....planning.....and of course the confidence of "knowing the ropes".

Sampling the Wares

But Holi has a way of sneaking up on you.....


Take a look at what happened to Preston......while preparing for Holi 2010...his second "Festival of Colors"!

Color my World

Tomorrow........just wait and see......

Preview of how he will look at the end of tomorrow

Some "new" Faces of India

It has been quite some time since I have made an entry in the blog.....

Not due to a lack of material......India is never at a lack for the amazing or magnificent.

I can attribute part of it to being extremely does that to you at times......I am sure that everyone can relate.

Perhaps it can be attributed to a small amount of "writer's block".....yes, I started an entry ......I wrote the entry three times......only to abandon it.....perhaps never to be published......

So what inspired me to post something today.....perhaps it was the full moon......maybe the springtime feel in the air........perhaps the visit to the Mughal Gardens, which opens only one time each year......why only once per year......because it is on the grounds of the President's Palace(the equivalent of the White House in Washington, D.C.).....and it was absolutely beautiful.

To gain entry, you have to surrender camera's, no cell phones, no purses, nothing electronic (not even keys with remote entry)......very tight security.

Because I was unable to take pictures, I started looking at some I had recently taken and realized that I had not shared them.......

So, enjoy some of the recent "Faces"......taken in the old city of Jaipur.

Akbar's Tomb......Bihishtabad (The Heavenly Abode)

The Main Gate to the Tomb

Akbar was the son of Humayan..........and the grandson of Babar, the first of the Mughal rulers to occupy India.

Akbar,who is considered by many to be the greatest of the Mughal emperors in India, took the throne at the age of 13, just after the untimely death of his father, Humayan.

Inlaid Marble of the Main Gate

Thirteen years old and ruler of an empire! In addition, Akbar was also illiterate.....he could not read or write.

Despite his age and illiteracy, Akbar, was a "unifier" of his empire....unlike many other Mughal rulers, he was the most tolerant of the diverse religions that exist in India......he did not attempt to convert his subjects to interested was he in learning about the various religions, he surrounded himself with the most learned in the subjects.......he later founded his own religion.....based on a mixture of all of them.....

Close up of a Marble Inlay

He also used marriage as a tool to gain favor in those who would naturally oppose his addition to a Muslim wife, he also had a Hindu wife, and a Christian wife all, he was quite a ladies man.......his harem is believed to have been 5000 in number.

The Tomb

He also was a lover of art.........and during his reign, many artists were brought from Persia to create masterpieces in the many buildings and palaces he constructed.

The Ceiling just inside the Main door to the Tomb

One such is the palace of Fatehpur Sikri, on the outskirts of Agra. He designed it to be the capital of his empire, but it was soon abandoned due to the poor water supply. He also had a hand in building the Red Fort at Agra.

The Lamp gifted by Lord Curzon during British Rule

By 1605, Akbar's health was poor, so he began construction of his final resting place outside the city of Agra; a very beautiful garden setting along the Yamuna River. His son Jahangir, completed the tomb in 1612 in the city now known as Sikandar.


I learned about Akbar's life while visiting his tomb....and it is truly the "heavenly abode" that he intended it to be. I strongly suggest that while visiting Agra, you make a stop to visit his final resting place......his tomb is less pretentious than his father's (Humayan) in Delhi.......nevertheless, it is an architecturally magnificent structure.

More Celing

Regarding Jahangir........he is later to be known as Shahjahan, who constructed another tomb, more well known than his father's.........the Taj Mahal, along the same river.

Close up of the ceiling in an Alcove

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Iron Man

At first glance of reading the title of this blog, some of you may have thought that one of us in our family may have been training for the annual “IRON MAN” competition.
For those of you who know us personally, you know that physically it would only be possible for Preston or Parker to have a shot at competing………not possible for the remainder of us here in India.
For those of you who are reading this blog……….let’s just say that the only thing “Iron” that Linda or I could be associated with would be an Iron Skillet that she might want to knock me in the head with!

However, Linda and I took time out one day to visit the “HANDICRAFTS MUSEUM in DELHI”……not difficult to find………located just across from Purana Quila……..the Old Fort. I have a blog entry about Purana Quila if any of you are interested in it.
The Handicraft Museum has some very cool stuff……..things that you would normally find in a Museum…..items that date back in history from regions all across India. The artistry and talent is simply astounding and to easily see the variations from area to area was extremely interesting to us.

One of the other unique aspects of the museum is the “LIVING MUSEUM”……..yes, on any given day, the museum hosts actual artisans “pan India” to stay at the museum grounds and work and sell their arts and crafts.
If you are like me, I would much prefer to purchase something directly from the artist. It makes whatever the item is seem so much more special………the interaction with them, watching them practice their craft in front of you and maybe even having something made especially for you…….it can happen.
While you might be able to find the same thing on the shelves of numerous tourist gift shops…..this is so much more special…….and memorable.
So………the IRON MAN that I was referring to in the title of this blog entry are little “handmade” iron men that were on display at one of the little booths.

The artisan’s were working just across from their display……..heating up scraps of iron with a very crude coal fire with a foot operated “blower thing “……that was making the coals glow with heat……get the picture? I didn’t take one……silly me! Anyway, then they were hammering, bending, twisting, cutting, etc. and transforming raw material into pieces of art…….similar to some pieces we already have in our home.
If you have a chance to visit the Handicrafts Museum……..don’t miss it……..adventure and treasures abound!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Somebody's Watching Me

On India's Republic Day Holiday, I found myself on business in Jaipur. After working for part of the day, I was able to make it to the "Old City" of do some exploring and picture taking.

All throughout the old city, the facades of the buildings lead to courtyards or narrow lanes....Some of the courtyards are surrounded by residential homes/apartments.......many lead to business that are tucked away......some house temples that pay homage to one of the many god's that are worshiped in India.

All of them are full of two are for someone with an adventuresome bone in their body, they provide just the right mix of excitement and intrigue......for one never know what he will find.

Such was the case in the second such courtyard I entered into. While taking pictures of the architecture of the buildings, and the old wooden doors that grace many of the thresholds, I had the strange feeling that someone was watching me. I am sure that you have felt that way at one time or another.

I had made it to the rear center of the courtyard, just having taken a picture of a very interesting old door I turned to take a picture of the building facade under which I entered. After taking that shot, I saw two more interesting doors to shoot and began walking towards them.

That’s when I heard a voice calling out to me from above. Sure enough, my feeling of being watched was confirmed by the voice of a young boy who was peering at me from a small square window of an area that must have formed a terrace or hallway.

The opening was so small that he could hardly fit his head inside..........however, the chipped paint and hand stained walls surrounding the opening was evidence that my little friend had certainly been keeping watch in the past.

I managed to take some very interesting photographs of him peering through the little window before he scurried downstairs to meet me.

With the little bit of Hindi I know, I was able to ask him his name and he told me that his name was meet my little friend Ram......whose eyes were keeping watch on me from his hidden play spot.

Until I returned home and began working my way through my photographs, I didn't realize that I had captured him that picture I took of the entrance to the courtyard.....I simply was not paying attention, more worried about centering the picture in the viewfinder than concentrating on the small details of what was being captured. Look closely and you can see his head deep in the shadows.