Several times I have traveled to Jamanagar. This was my 5th trip to the city of Jamnagar, once upon a time known to be the capital of the Princely State of Nawanagar. Each time I have made it a point to visit the Lakhota lake, my favorite place by the way. However every time I have missed going to the museum that is present at the center of the lake.
Finally this time I visited the museum and I must say I wasn’t disappointed! The museum housed in the Lakhota Palace is beautifully adorned with frescoes, sculpted jalis (window seen above), and carvings. In the lake surrounding it, you can spot gulls, pelicans, spot bill ducks, widgeons, terns, cormorants and many such birds. In the center of the lake,in the Palace, houses Pigeons and Rosy Starlings(Starlings only for the winters).
The afternoon sun was high-up in the sky and the commotion made by these pigeons cast shadows on the yellow walls of the Palace. This is when I got an idea, and positioned myself in front of a Jali. After several failed shots, finally got this shot. A frozen moment, depicting the current avian residents of the palace and its heritage in one frame
My second visit here and I really can’t get enough of it. It takes me a while to take in the elegant minarets and amazing workmanship. I visualize a pale intricate structure with a backdrop of a blanket full of stars. It’s already past 10PM and not visible light, except for the occasional vehicle lights from the road. Armed with a 50mm lens only, I try in vain to get the entire structure in one frame. Finally I have to put the camera on the railing across the road at an awkward angle to avoid the glare from the risen moon. A 15 sec exposure and I get this picture.
It’s been 66 years, we have journeyed far.
The world had watched once as at the stroke of midnight our nation was born. At the stroke of midnight history was made. A country, democratic, free and united after over 400 years of autocracy. Countless human beings had suffered and many had not survived to witness this birth.
Diverse religions, beliefs, languages and a countless gods in the helm, pleasing everybody was out of question. There was criticism from all directions the north, north-east, south and the west, all had their own say. The streak of socialism in the leaders of those times ironed out some differences. Most of these still pose a threat to this democracy. They are the necessary evil that a democracy needs to strengthen. Perhaps India was the toughest test for democracy!
Whatever be the case, democracy may have had its victims but it has still given a voice to them and the freedom to represent. Rather our freedom of thought speech and action has had sheltered another often tyrannous ally – the freedom to influence and be influenced. Power concentrated in few places have done what the British Raj had done then. Converting the rest of places into a market. Luxury has become necessity. Detachment from this has been virtually rendered impossible. Languages are being lost. Religions and cultures forgotten. Survival of the fittest is the rule of the world. Burning the land to build our empires of wood stone and concrete, oblivious to the cascading effects.
And yet we celebrate the 66th Independence day.
Once upon a time in a land far far away lived a King. The King was feared by all. Feared for his swift justice. Known for striking those who crossed his path. Though misunderstood and feared, he himself was fearful of the sun! He hid himself under rock and boulders, tucked into crevices in the day, hiding from the harsh sun that sucked him dry! In the dead of the night the Scorpion King crawled out to hunt. He also had another secret which very few knew. Flashing a U.V light would make him glow!
The Scorpion King was built for the kill. He shed his armour several times, as he grew out of it. To hunt its prey he used his pincers or claws with which he caught and often crushed its prey. The sting it saved for large creatures and difficult prey. The sting was venomous and injected a neurotoxin, immobilizing its prey. Unable to eat, the Scorpion releases its digestive juices into its prey and sucks the digested in liquid form.
The Polo Forest once part of the kingdom of Vijay wada lies in ruins now, but one creature still survives and rules the night. The Scorpion King lives…..
A special thanks to Bike N Hike and Vipul Ramanuj for the wonderful trip to Polo. These images were made during a Macro & Heritage Photography Workshop in Polo Forest. Thanks to Catherene for spotting and Abhishek Chaterjee for his handy tips on photography during the tour. Keep watching this space for more images from the workshop!