Rath Yatra Ahmedabad (2010)

The Ahmedabad rath yatra generally starts from the Jagannath temple , Jamalpur and goes for a 14 km journey in the city. The rathyatra passes through communally sensitive areas of the city like Kalupur, Prem Darwaja, Delhi Chakla, Dariyapur and Shahpur.

We saw tight security put in place across the route to maintain communal harmony. The route was really crowded and we struggled to find a place to watch the yatra. Luckily we were able to reach a terrace where there were some other TV crew members covering the event (thanks to the bank manager of a bank located in the building, who suggested the spot and also allowed us). Though we could get only a downward angle for the camera, we were at least able to view it at ease.
So here it goes..

1. Langars everywhere, distributing free water

2. Langar.. distributing free eatables (prasad)

3. People flock to get prasad as a truck passes by

4. A vehicle belonging to some local association distributing sweets. People as well as the policeman on duty asking for it

5. Jubilant crowd posing for the camera

6. Children dressed as Krishna..

7. Oh boy !! becoming Krishna is so difficult. Seems the kid dressed as Krishna not enjoying it at all 🙂

8. A child covers himself under his mother’s dupatta to hide himself from the strong sun

9. Acrobats performing in the procession

10. Many akharas participated in the yatra. I don’t know the relation between Lord Jagannath and akharas, but the display of muscles went on for almost half an hour. A small boy aspiring to be muscular and strong posing for the crowd

Edit: The akharas are related to Lord Balrama (Thanks Manisha for clarifying it). Balarama trained both Bhima and Duryodhana in club-fighting.

11. A man watches the instrument being used by a kirtan mandali

12. Flags indicating that its time for arrival of the three raths

13. The first rath, of Lord Jagannath arrives.. (A small video here)

14. The rath is pulled by hand using a rope by devotees

People watch as the devotees pulling the rath pass by amidst heavy police security

15. The second rath belonging to Lord Balrama and the third belonging to Lord Subhadra passes by

16. Heavy security measures were taken by the administration. Over 14,000 policemen and 4500 home guard jawans havebeen deployed across the city. Four Bomb Disposal Squads (BDS), nine Quick Response Teams, and 27 mobile police control room vans have also been deployed. A bomb disposal squad and an ambulance in the procession.

17. Rapid action police force personnels watch a group of people passing by

18. This is our spot from where we saw the event. This place also had CCTV and policemen as a part of security measure. And because of them we got free tea as well 😛

19. A media crew member watching the live feed on his laptop covering himself from the harsh sun under an umbrella

20. Jhatpat pan masala had a stall to distribute free pan masala satches. Observed that some children were also able to get it.

Now having seen how it is, next year I may try going inside and walk along the yatra route 🙂

Heritage of Ahmedabad Series – Crafts (part – 1)

A new series on the blog – Heritage of Ahmedabad dedicated to 600 years of existence of Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad has a rich heritage including the old temples, mosques and crafts.  I present here the first in the series of Heritage of Ahmedabad – The crafts of Ahmedabad – part 1.

1. Mata ni Pachedi – A rectangular piece of fabric offered to the goddess. Hand painted fabrics are now used for interior decoration and sold in the range of Rs 10 k to 30 k. The goddesses are satisfied with block printed ones as they are cheaper. (want to know more about it?)

A design at a very early stage of preparation. It takes almost a month for a design to be completed. Only 5 families are left with the know-how of this craft.

As this craft is preserved by the family system, it is necessary that each member of the family knows the craft well.

Including this small child of just 6 years. He is all focused on filling color to the design while his mother looks at his budding skill affectionately. It is generally expected that children will carry on the age old tradition of the craft as a livelihood.

Final product (hand made ones). Small sizes are also sold.

2. Applique Work – Its basically cloth wear design where a piece of cloth is stitched on the other making a design (know more).

An old lady old lady is making small quilt for babies.

A girl stitches cloth pieces making a design on a ladies dress

The place makhwana ni chali has a large number of women who know this work. Seen an old woman stitching a design on a hot afternoon outside her house.

3. Roghan Printing – This moghul art of printing papers/cloth with the help of a special paint called Roghan, prepared from castor oil and chalk powder (more here).

Seen here are different stencils used for printing kept on a printed paper


The workshop is situated on the top floor on a four storey building of a colony accessible through a very narrow and steep wooden staircase. Seen here a view of the colony outside the workshop.

The clips used to dry the cloth / paper after printing.

4. Chick making – Its a curtain / shade made from bamboo stripes. Its the simplest craft of India and very much in demand during the summer and rainy season (more).

A family in the business of chick making since the last 60 years. Seen below the work in progress on a roadside in Paldi.

An old lady of the family cutting the bamboo to shape for chick making.

With NID/NIFT located in Ahmedabad, craftpersons get more coverage and opportunity as compared to any other city. A picture in their album, where a tourist is seen learning the craft of chick making

More in the series of crafts may not come very soon. It will take time to shoot. Till then happy traveling 🙂

Like This!

ek wo katal ki raat

Uttarayan is celebrated with much pomp and gaiety in Gujarat. One of the rituals associated with Uttarayan is Kite Flying. And the biggest kite market in Ahmedabad is at Tankshal (near Manek Chowk), which goes wild on the eve of Uttarayan, the eve known as the ‘katal ki raat‘ (the ultimate night). Thanks volunteer ahmedabad to make me aware of such a place by organizing a photowalk.
I must say night photography was difficult for me in a place so crowded to even walk. But the mood of the place kept us going.  So let’s go to the kite market  🙂
1. As soon as we started, people became too friendly with us noticing the camera. This worker who was just packing things up after the day’s sale, requested me to take his photo.


2. A cart full of bangles passed by.


3. The narrow street of the market was fully packed.


4. What a way to wish the start of the new year. Isn’t it?


5. Kites on display. Whites and Colorful.



6. Big as well as small ones.

7.  Phirki’s.


8. Colorful threads.


9.  Accessories : Caps


10.  Accessories : Whistles


11. Accessories: Goggles


12. Accessories: Masks

13.  Long exposure shots of  a toy with lights on demonstration.

14.  We were asked by people kya aap TV9 se aaye ho ?, kaun se channel par aayega?, kal paper me chapega?. I generally replied – we are students doing a photowalk (eh.. too boring for them 🙂 ).  But sometimes I changed my answers as well 😛 e.g. when asked once kaun se channel par aayega?‘, I replied ‘channel par nahin, internet par aayega’. Achha … he thought for a moment.. and asked me again kaun se time par aayega?.
This shopkeeper below told me  ‘main amreeka rehta hun’. Though I could not relate to why it was mentioned, Achha.. I asked “amreeka me kahan rehte ho?” . Bhuj.. came the reply. 😛

15. People were filled with joy.  A few of them asking to take their photographs (mera photo phado :P)


16.  If you purchase Kites in this market, this is how you have to carry them in the crowd. Some pics of people carrying Kites.


17.  A kid reaching out to a Phirki.


18.  Happy with sooo many kites or shy? or both 🙂

19. Her name is Alvira.. I loved her smile. Her family sells kite related products. I noticed a large number of muslim shopkeepers’ and I wondered the role of business and festivals in religious integration.

20. aww…the only kid who feared the camera… her mother tried to help but … 🙂


21. Any market in Ahmedabad has to have many food stalls. Got a chance to click a few of them.

22.  The joy of photography

and the joy of sharing


23. On our way back we spotted people making manjha (not a part of that kite market)


24. It ended with a mid-night buffet at TGB…  had to be called the ‘katal ki raat’.

You may like to visit my earlier post on The International Kite Festival if this post has provoked your interest on kites even further. Explore. 🙂
Happy Uttarayan and best wishes for the coming year.

Sarkhej Roja: A heritage neglected

Distance: Around 10 Kilometeres from the IIM Campus. Find SG Highway and turn left.

Sarkhej is known for its architectural creation which comprises of Islamic stylistic influences from Persia with indigenous Hindu and Jain features to form a composite “Indo-Saracenic” architectural style.

1. A Masoleum and a Mosque was constructed in the honour of Shaikh Ahmed Khattu Ganj Baksh, a Sufi saint and a friend/advisor to Sultan Ahmed Shah (The founder of Ahmedabad). The sufi saint was believed to possess miraculous powers. Seen below is the tomb of the masoleum.

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2. The pillars of the mosque.

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3. Below is the mosque as seen from inside. Few mosques allow women to participate in offering prayers with men, but few like this allow women by giving them a separate section. (Notice the elevated portion on the left)

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4. Islamic architecture is famous for the stone jalis. Just before the sunset, light entering through the jali at another maseleom in the Sarkhej Roja compound. This masoleum was built for the family of Sultan Mahmud Begada.

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5. Another wall with  stone jali.

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6. Children playing in the Mosque compound. Numerous families come to visit Sarkhej Roja. The complex is generally poorly  maintained in terms of cleanliness.

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7. Sunlight falls on the walls of the Sarkhej Roja Masoleum and Mosque compound and reflected in the dirty water of the pond. People living around Sarkhej Roja use this water and the vicinity for their daily morning chores.Hence, this side of the complex remains dirty.

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8. A little zoom of the reflection on water.

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9. Sunset over the ruins of queens place and the entrance to the pond.

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10. Another masoleum which is a part of Sarkhej complex (HDR image)

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11. Beautiful sunset over this masoleum.

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I advise visiting this place during sunset.. the hues on the walls are amazing.

Happy travelling 🙂

Adalaj Step Well

Distance : 18 kilometers from IIM Campus, Ahmedabad. Find SG highway and turn right.

The step well is called vav in local language. It was built in 16th century and still standing strong.

It was built during the reign of Queen Rudabai, a muslim ruler. Though now dry, the well once provided water to weary travellers and pilgrims along the roads outside of Ahmedabad. The four-level well is dug directly into the water table, exposing fresh water that rose and fell according the seasons and the amount of rainfall. Its deep interior provided cool relief from the harsh Indian sun. (Source : www.orientalarchitecture.com)

If you want to visit for photography, avoid visiting tthe place in strong sunlight. I think lateral light is better for photography. So, let me take you to the stepwell now.

1. As we enter, we found many parrots enjoying playing with one another.

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2. The stepwell was inaugrated for general public in 1555 AD as mentioned in hindi on this stone. I have purposely enlarged only that specific portion.
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3. Several pillars making a corridoor like appearance. Adalaj is mainly based on these pillars.

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4. A worker collecting coins with the help of a magnet. People throw coins in the well for good luck.

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5. The wall facing the well as visible from the stairs as we walk down to the well. I like this pic for the contrast in lighting.

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6. Pointed iron sheets kept on some side walks to prevent people from walking on those planks.

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7. What I can say 😉 . P.S. I also took this route 😛 . The staff taught us how to put steps laterally and walk over those pointed rods 🙂

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8. A view from the top. This is the same wall alongside the well.

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9. Everyday prayers are offered by the staff in front of the god’s image craved on one of the wall.

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10. Notice the rich carvings here… all around the walls.

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11. A little zoomed…

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12. Another carving on the wall.

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13. Carvings on pillars.. It is present on all the pillars.

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14. Adalaj is a place of attraction for tourists. Many tourists are seen arriving in the backdrop of incense sticks offered to the god as a prayer ritual.

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15. The narrow stairs that takes to each of the floors of the well.

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16. Five Graves… it is said that these are graves of those masons who built this structure. They were killed so that they can not create another piece like it. Weird… but may be true for that time.

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Happy travelling… 🙂

Solar Eclipse Ahmedabad: The Washout

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Yes,  we were ready.  We had safety viewing glasses, tripod, x-ray films. We thought this rare even should not be missed by our camera…

IIM Ahmedabad Stargazers Club arranged for public viewing from 6 in the morning. However, we reached half an hour earlier to fix our equipments. The weather was pleasant and it looked absolutely refreshing.. we had no idea of the clouds as it was dark. The sunrise time was yet to be reached but as soon as we fixed our equipments, it started drizzling. We found there was a huge layer of clouds as soon as there was some light.  We wished that it will fade away, giving us just a glimpse of the eclipse, but it did not..

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But these clouds did not seem to go away..

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But still we hoped… everyone..

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And tried to look beyond clouds 😛

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But finally went away….
Very good day indeed. Once in a lifetime 🙂

———

Update:

Well… if you have also missed this total solar eclipse due to rains or any other reason… here is some good news. If you want to travel you can witness many solar eclipses in near future… Here are those few in near future..

  • July 11, 2010: Cruise to Tahiti or watch from Easter Island, Chile, or Argentina
  • November 13, 2012: Visible from north central Australia to the Great Barrier Reef
  • March 9, 2016: Crosses Indonesia—Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi, and Halmahera
  • August 21, 2017: Sweeps a 70-mile-wide path across the United States, moving across Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina

So.. mark your calendars.. and book a trip..  Good Luck next time 🙂

Here is a map taken from exploratorium.edu… for your visual satisfaction 😛

International Kite Festival – Ahmedabad (Kaipo chhe!!!)

Ahmedabad hosts the International Kite Festival each year at the time of Uttarayan. Kite flying is very famous with the people all over the Gujarat. Over 80 kite fliers from 30 countries participate in this festival, which gave me a visual delight of a large variety of kites in just 2 hours of time of my visit. Have a look.

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A cutout, signifying the heritage of kite flying that happens on the terraces..

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This boy seems deeply involved sitting on the shoulders for a view..

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One very looong kite..

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Some others..

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Look at that one…

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This particular one was truly awesone, I liked the color and shape too much. The beauty was that, when it turned into different angles  the shapes changed so dramatically..

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See a collage of its shapes..

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She is all game..

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Preparation to fly this one..

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This was another kite which also had intersting shape and was smaller than the one shown earlier..

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The festivals are a great hit with children.. She also saw something which interested her. But suddenly something else attracted her attention.. notice the direction of finger and her eyes.. 🙂

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Quite colorful, isn’t it?

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These kites requires the necessary momentum to be lifted in the air. A person pushes it into the air and at the same time it is pulled by another person who is in control of the thread. It lifts the kite up. See this person just released the kite in air..

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I liked in particular the dress this person is wearing.

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These kites are attention of all the mediapersons as well, see the next pic being covered by the media person on the video camera.

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I guess this one resembles lord Rama..

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And, this one Lord Ganesha.. Gods must be watching..

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Some other kites..

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A foreign participant preparing the kite..

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And at last, a group of people came with a suitcase. I saw them taking out a series of kites, each tied on a single thread and releasing them to form a long series of kites. I wonder the physics around them.

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If you are reading this before 14th January, 2009 and you are in Ahmedabad, don’t miss it.