Rajasthan – Abandoned Village of Khaba, Jaisalmer

80 families, deserted an entire village over-night almost 200 years ago. No one knows why. Do I have your attention? I hope so.

This is the eerie story of the Paliwal Brahmin community, who lived in and around Kuldhara (the famous MAIN haunted abandoned village), who packed up and vanished one fine day in the face of a grave danger. Multiple stories claim that the Paliwal village chiefs of 84 villages wanted to protect the honor of their community when the local Mughal ruler wanted the hand of a Paliwal brahmin’s daughter in marriage.

I have seen abandoned houses, but villages? No. Overlooking the Khaba village is a fort (from where these pictures were taken) and surprisingly, one can find many peacocks surrounding the area.

Kabha is about 18Km from Jaisalmer, definitely a place I wouldn’t want to visit once the sun sets. What do you think?

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Rajasthan – Sunsets

Watching a sunset in Rajasthan’s many picturesque locations is something every traveler has to do. There is something extremely beautiful about these sunsets that I have never experienced anywhere else in my limited travels. Perhaps, it is the setting – large rustic forts, calm lakes, palaces, arid deserts or even the architecture of the cities in itself. The sunset just enhances the overall experience. (click on images to expand)

Sunset at Thar Desert, sand dunes near Jaisalmer:

Sunset at Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur:

Sunset at Lake Pichola, Udaipur:

Sigh.

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Rajasthan – Tigers of Ranthambore!

I just came back from a 8 day long vacation in Rajasthan. And what a vacation it was!! Our group traveled over 5000 KM across Jaipur, Ranthambore, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Udaipur. Doesn’t matter if your Indian or not – one just cannot leave Rajasthan without a sense of awe. I have thus decided to share some of the best pictures from the trip as part of a series of posts on Rajasthan. First of which is from the Ranthambore National Park. We were super lucky to spot a tiger in our very first safari ! I was even luckier to have a 75mm-300mm lens handy to take decent pictures from the canter.

Folks, I present to you – Krishna (T-19) Isn’t he a beauty? (Click to enlarge in full-screen)

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Ancient TamilNadu – Gingee Fort (Rajagiri)

Hello boys, I’m baaaccckkk ! I finally got to visit the extremely stunning and beautiful Gingee Fort, which is about 160Km from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. My my, where do i begin? – With a brief history ofcourse!

History indicates that Gingee (Senji) was originally under the rule of Pallavas (think Mahabalipuram) (600 AD – 900 AD) and then under the Cholas (900 AD – 1103 AD) and  later to the Pandyas and Hoysalas (1104 AD – 1190 AD).

The foundations of the Gingee Fort itself were laid by the Kon Dynasty in 1190 AD, with Ananda Koan (the Konar clan is an ancient shepherd community in Tamil Nadu present to this day) building the Anandagiri (now called Rajagiri). It was later developed by the Cholas and several structures were later added over the history of the several kingdoms ruling Gingee.

The Gingee Fort Complex has 3 hillocks – Rajagiri (which we visited), Krishagiri and Chandrayandurg (closed for the public). Each hillock has its own set of structures and self-contained citadels. The fort complex covers an area of 11 sq.km with the fort walls spanning 13Km in length. Rajagiri is built at a height of 800 feet (240 m). It took us about an hour to climb the hillock through the twisting, steep convoluted steps that go around the circumference of the hillock by itself (no wonder it is a tough fort to conquer, imagine the soldiers tiring out even before reaching the summit!). The summit is connected to the outside world by a small wooden draw bridge with a chasm that is 18 metres deep!

The Rajagiri fort complex is huge and has several interesting structures – granary, gymnasium, elephant tank, prison, courtyard, kalayana mahal to name a few. It took us 2 full hours to explore the length and breadth of the lower fort before even making the actual climb (!), which took another 45 minutes – 1 hour under the hot sun. But the 360* views at each precipe and outpost during the climb makes you wonder – with no modern tools or technology, how the hell did they build such a brilliantly positioned defense structure?! The enemy can be seen from miles away on all four sides (with smaller outpost structures on surrounding smaller hillocks). I can now understand why Chhatrapati Shivaji ranked this as the most impregnable fortress in India ! Overall it was a fantastic road trip – worth all the heat and burning quadriceps! See for yourself – Click on images to enlarge

Until next time!

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Diwali – A Visual Spectacle!

To all my followers and casual visitors, here’s wishing you a very happy and prosperous Diwali ! Once again for my non-Indian friends, Diwali is an Indian festival celebrated with extravagance every year where we buy new clothes, burst crackers all day long and eat tons of home-made sweets. But the real fun begins in the night when people start bursting their fancy fireworks for hours together (poor Ozone!) . And THAT is my favorite part of the day!

This time i decided to try my hand at long exposure with fireworks and the results were pretty interesting! See for yourself!

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