I took this picture of a monkey in Shimla, India, minutes after it had made off with a visitor’s packet of sweets that he was to offer at a temple. The ‘thief’ ensured he was at a safe distance but still visible and appeared to cock a snook at the worshipers with a ‘catch me if you can’ look. The ‘spoils’ of the loot are still visible on his face!
This is perhaps one of the world’s loneliest trees.
Bahrain’s Tree of Life, reportedly around 500 years old, is also number 6 in a list of the world’s seven most amazing trees.
The mesquite tree sits at the highest point in the barren desert, miles from the another natural tree and is thought to have tap roots reaching hundreds of feet down to aquifers.
The site, also recently home to a major excavation project, is a well-known tourist attraction, particularly in the winter, and a venue during the night of musical and dance concerts featuring some of the world’s best-known ensembles and theater groups.
I took some pictures of kite-flying enthusiasts playing with what they now call kites.
Made of plastic and fibre, with fibre strings as well, these ‘birds’ just fly in the wind, with no skill involved and no sense of adventure.
Compare this with the days when we indulged in this sport (yes, it was SPORT then) when kites were made of bamboo sticks and thin paper and the string used was a fine cotton thread laced with a fine mixture of colour, glass powder and glue!
During the kite season, the streets of almost every Indian city (except in Southern India), were ‘littered’ with kite sellers, men and women, as well as roadside kite string ‘factories’.
There were competitions, there were teams of kite flyers, and most of all, everyone indulged in the activity – young and old, men and women, boys and girls. The spirit was infectious.
The spirit still exists but the kites of yesteryear are rarely to be found. The die-hard enthusiasts are still there but one has to look for them because they are the ones who still stick to tradition in the real sense.
Most kites are now machine-manufactured though in some parts of India, traditionally the strongholds of kite-flying like Ahmedabad and Amritsar, there are still a lot of bamboo and paper kites.
But here in Bahrain, I have never seen those. There are festivals to mark occasions, in keeping with the Indian traditions, but only plastic “China-made” kites are used.
This is the modern sport anyway. Things change with time and like many others, kite-flying has also turned the corner.
Clearly, this is not the way.
But who would know? And who cares?
Also take a look at this brilliant blog:
I love these rather ghostly and surreal images of the Christ Church, Shimla.
I remember back in the day, when these pictures were taken on a foggy evening, I did not have a proper camera, no tripod, no proper lighting and no real knowledge of how to take a good night shot. But I went ahead, nevertheless, in the best way I could, using my daughter Asveen’s shoulder as the tripod and asking her to stand as still as she possibly could.
She was quite irritated by the end of it all, even thought I took all of five minutes in taking the shots. Thanks to digital camera technology, I was able to see the results instantly but never realised the ‘intensity’ of the pictures until I saw them on the computer!
Shimla, once the Summer Capital of the British Empire, is now the state capital of Himachal, in Northern India, and a favourite hill station for hundreds of thousands of tourists who come there in the summer and winter to enjoy the cool weather and the snowfall, respectively!
The church has featured in countless Bollywood and some Hollywood movies and is one of the most well-known tourist landmarks in the entire country.
It is the second oldest church in North India after the St. John’s Church in Meerut. It is a parish in the Diocese of Amritsar in the Church of North India.
Built in the neo-Gothic style in 1857 to serve the largely Anglican British community in what was formerly called Simla, Christ Church is one of the prominent landmarks of Shimla. The silhouette of Christ Church is visible for miles around Shimla city. Christ Church remains one of the enduring legacies of the British Raj.
It was designed by Colonel J. T. Boileau in 1844, and consecrated after 1857 while the clock was donated by Colonel Dumbleton in 1860. The porch was added in 1873.
Christ Church has survived Partition of India and the later political upheavals on the Indian subcontinent and continues to be very well maintained and remains in good condition. The clock, however, no longer functions.
It is designed in the typical Elizabethan style and consists of a great collection of books and ancient scriptures. The church looks absolutely magical at night when lights placed at strategic corners illuminate this beautiful building, which glows with all its beauty and grandeur and is an amazing sight to look at.
The church has fine stained glass windows representing the Christian virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Patience and Humility. The Pipe-Organ of Christ Church is the biggest in the Indian subcontinent and was erected in September 1899.
One of the most ‘period’ places I have seen is the small little town of Kasauli, tucked away in the hills of Solan District in India’s Himachal Pradesh state.
And, in Kasauli, there is no more quainter a place than the old Christ Church, established in 1844.
Nearly 200 years old, this place of worship still stands tall and strong, majestically overseeing all the modernisation around and as buildings nowhere near the age of this stone and stained glass structure bite the dust!
Christ Church was earlier an Anglican church, and has, since 1970, been under the auspices of the Church of North India in the diocese of Amritsar. The church has Spanish and Italian imported stained glass windows depicting Christ, Mary, Saint Barnabas, and Saint Francis.