Road Calendar for 2012

So a friend asked me for some photographs to make a 2012 calendar for her father’s company. The theme of roads was chosen (just like that). These are the photographs finally selected and printed.

I present a few here as an essay accompanied by lines by Walt Whitman.

Oman, April 2008

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road
Healthy, free, the world before me
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Vang Vieng, Laos PDR, March 2011

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.

Mahabaleshwar, January 2007

The earth expanding right hand and left hand,
The picture alive, every part in its best light,
The music falling in where it is wanted, and stopping where it is not wanted,
The cheerful voice of the public road, the gay fresh sentiment of the road.

Nanak Matta, Uttarakhand, November 2007

Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons,
It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.


Profiling Roads: The Mekong River

Right at the south of Laos, a few kilometres from Cambodia – this long tail boat is off to search for the Irrawady Dolphin.

Si Phon Don: Taking a long tail canoe down towards the Irrawady Dolphins area

Profiling Roads: Bhopal – Raisen, MP

The NH86 passes through Bhopal and moves north east towards Uttar Pradesh. A few kilometres out of Bhopal is the town of Raisen. Raisen is 23.33N while Bhopal is 23.25N

23.26N is the Tropic of Cancer. As you drive from Bhopal to Raisen, you will see this in your car windshield.

Tropic of Cancer in your car windshield

A closer look on the tarmac gives you this

Lines on the road surface indicating the Tropic of Cancer

The road itself winds through fields of soya, gram, wheat and sugarcane. It is a road a lot of history buffs are likely to take.

From Bhopal it links up with Raisen where a 900-year-old fort which has changed hands from one dynasty to another stands atop a hill.As one approaches Raisen, the fort looms over the dargah of Hazrat Peer Fatehullah Shah Baba. Not much is known about this Sufi saint (at least on the web) but the crowds at the shrine suggested the existence of a long standing legend. All drivers (cabbies, bus drivers, truckers, etc) halted, lit couple of incense sticks, stood for a couple of minutes and then continued their drive.

Onward from Raisen is Sanchi and Vidisha, both of which fall on the Buddhist traveler’s itinerary.

I crossed the ToC a couple of times during my work-cum-pleasure trip in Madhya Pradesh in September 2009. I wrote about it here. I wonder if similar lines have been put on other roads elsewhere – say in Gujarat

Profiling Roads: Fort Aguada

Living upto the name, I will attempt to start and maintain a series of profiles on different roads, routes, trails, etc.

Road To Aguada, Goa, November 2010

This is the road leading upto Fort Aguada in Goa. There is a T-junction with the road on the right going to the Taj resort that is there. Take the road on the left. It drives past a small estuary lined with fishing boats.

The road winds round the hill climbing up till it reaches another fork. Straight will take you to Aguada Jail which continues to operate (and photography is not allowed).

Road to Aguada Jail

But you can stop a few metres before and take a look at the panorama. There’s merchant shipping all over the Arabian Sea but the mouth of the Mandovi is right there as well with the river front property of Panjim clearly visible.

View from the Fort Aguada Road – the mouth of Mandovi and the Arabian Sea

Turn right and shortly you will reach the entrance to the Fort

There’s nothing much else here that you don’t see in other roads in Goa. There is of course the Kingfisher Villa, a hideous looking place. The two Taj resorts are on the northern side of fort and the road terminates there.